A War of 1812 fort in Central Park

The Revolutionary War left a deep mark on New York City. But the War of 1812? This skirmish with the British hasn’t had a lasting impact here, save for a tiny stone structure tucked away in the northwest corner of Central Park called Blockhouse #1.

BlockhousecentralparkThe Blockhouse was built in 1814, one of many constructed in Upper Manhattan to protect the area from the British should they invade the city from the north.

It’s in a part of Central Park that is still rugged, high, and hard to reach—the perfect place for some canons.

Luckily the British never attacked, and the war was over in 1815. The Blockhouse was later used to store ammunition as well as a place to celebrate patriotic holidays.

When Central Park was expanded in the 1860s to include the undeveloped, rocky land between 106th and 110th Street, the Blockhouse came with it. The old structure was considered a romantic, picturesque reminder of another era. 

It’s now empty, serene, and mostly lifeless, except for a tall American flag soaring into the sky from the flagpole in the center of the fort. 

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9 Responses to “A War of 1812 fort in Central Park”

  1. petey Says:

    a very interesting topic. there was a line of fortifications from here to the mill rock and hallet’s point, in case the british should come down through LI sound. afaik, this is the only remnant of any of those forts.

  2. An Adirondack forest hiding in mid-Manhattan | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] It really does feel like a slice of the Adirondacks just yards from the subway. And hidden in the thick forest is one of the city’s oldest structures: a blockhouse from the War of 1812. […]

  3. Sherry Says:

    I grew up on 110th St a/k/a Central Park North, and we played all over this fort. It was a hike from our home, and we always pretended to be soldiers, or sometimes cowboys and Indians. I thought it was a revolutionary war fort, so it’s little bog post was informative. Thanks.

  4. Daily What?! Central Park’s Blockhouse is a War of 1812 Fort Predating the Park | Untapped Cities Says:

    […] Blockhouse was promptly abandoned. For a while it was used to store ammunition, and functioned as a celebration venue for patriotic holidays in the early 1900′s before it fell into disuse again, a reminder of […]

  5. 8 uses for Central Park’s second-oldest building | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] in Central Park constructed when the park was just a gleam in city officials’ eyes (the other is this stone fort), the Arsenal opened in 1851 as a state-run storage place for […]

  6. The two vintage cannons on a Central Park bluff | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] cannons are not far from another remnant of the War of 1812: the stone Blockhouse Number One, also in the northern section of the […]

  7. A Bank Street building once held prisoners of war | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] city prepared for combat by putting up fortifications like Castle Clinton at the Battery and blockhouses in what became Central Park. Luckily, the British never […]

  8. Saluting the last survivor of the War of 1812 | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] himself didn’t seem to have any connection to New York City. But the city has its War of 1812 remnants, some of which still exist today (even though New York was never […]

  9. The West Side school perched on top of a massive rock pile | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] schist like this was tough to deal with. For most of the 19th century, the pile was the site of blockhouse number 4–one of several small stone forts built to hold munitions if needed to defend Gotham during the War of 1812, per Harlem + […]

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