NPS to Celebrate Castle Clinton's Bicentennial

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Date: November 10, 2011
Contact: Tom O'Connell, 212-668-3336

Castle Clinton was built between 1808 and 1811 and served as a defense of New York Harbor during the War of 1812. Originally known as the Southwest Battery, it was dedicated on Nov. 25, 1811. 

The National Park Service (NPS) is holding a special daylong celebration on Nov. 25, 2011 to honor Castle Clinton's 200th anniversary. 

"Castle Clinton has served New York City in varying capacities over the past two centuries: fort, performance venue, immigration station, aquarium and national park," said Superintendent Shirley McKinney. "We're excited to celebrate its bicentennial with this program that showcases its beginnings as an essential part of the city's harbor defense system - a system that was so effective and intimidating, that this 'Castle' never had to fire on a British warship." 

The day's festivities begin with a cannon firing and flag raising at 10 a.m. George Washington takes the stage at 11 a.m. to talk about how unfinished business from the Revolutionary War contributed to the War of 1812. At noon, visitors can learn about the privateers - not all of whom were men, who sailed from New York to harass and capture British ships during this second conflict between America and England. New York Harbor's special defense system, made up of fortifications on Governors, Liberty and Ellis islands as well as the Verrazano Narrows and Sandy Hook in New Jersey, will be explored at 1 p.m. 

Throughout the day there will also be opportunities to hear period music, take tours of Castle Clinton National Monument and to talk with costumed re-enactors about what life was like for an American soldier manning what was then the Southwest Battery and what a Red Coat soldier thought about the defenses that New York built to keep the British from ever invading the city again. Children can earn a Junior Ranger Badge by learning what it took to be a soldier and then taking part in a practice drill. 

All events are free and open to the public. A complete schedule appears below.What: Bicentennial of Castle Clinton 

Where: Castle Clinton National Monument, Located in Battery Park in lower Manhattan 

When: Friday, November 25, 2011

10:00am Flag Raising ceremony - Canon firing in front of Castle Clinton

10:30am Drill - Junior Ranger Program  

11:00am  George Washington - From the Revolutionary War to War of 1812          

NOON   Castle Clinton during War of 1812 and the Privateers

1:00pm   New York City Harbor Defenses during the War of 1812

2:00pm   Drill - Junior Ranger Program          

Schedule is subject to change  

Cost: Free 


Twitter:       @CastleClinton

About Castle Clinton National Monument
The Southwest Battery was constructed on the rocks off the tip of Manhattan Island between 1808 and 1811. In 1817, the fort was renamed Castle Clinton in honor of DeWitt Clinton, Mayor and later Governor of New York. After the army vacated the fort in 1821 the structure underwent a number of incarnations as a restaurant, theater and immigration station - even an aquarium. Saved from demolition in 1946, the Castle was restored to its original look as a fortification. Now the fort built to keep out the British serves to welcome visitors to America.    

How to Get There: Castle Clinton is located in historic Battery Park and all public transportation options are located outside the park. Take #1 trains to South Ferry, #4/#5 trains to Bowling Green, or R/ W trains to Whitehall Street and walk to the Battery. Other options include the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park and the M1, M6, or M15 bus to Battery Park.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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