Technical Assistance

Castle Williams Restoration Project is a Success

Castle Williams Restoration Project is a Success
Castle Williams Restoration Project is a Success
Castle Williams

June 12, 2012

Director of Technical Services, Alex Herrera, attended the re-opening of Castle Williams on Governors Island. The historic fort has undergone a two-year restoration project that included repairs to the massive masonry walls, roofs and central courtyard. It also included the installation of display panels and kiosks that interpret the history of the building and the site. The Conservancy was a consulting party to the National Park Service (NPS) during the process of designing and placing the interpretive exhibits. New banners, signage and 3D models help provide a more in-depth historical and architectural understanding of the fort.

Tours led by NPS will allow the public to see the massive vaults of the three-tiered fort, originally designed as cannon chambers and later adapted to prison cells (during the Civil War) as well as to climb the narrow spiral stone stairs to the roof with spectacular views of Lower Manhattan.

Built in 1811, this massive bastion with walls eight feet thick was originally built to protect New York harbor in conjunction with other forts on neighboring islands including Liberty (Fort Wood) and Ellis Island (Fort Gibson). Capable of holding over one hundred cannons, the defense was so formidable that no invasion was ever attempted. The Chief Engineer of the Army Corps of Engineers, Colonel Jonathan Williams, for whom the fort is named, designed the fort; he was the grandnephew of Benjamin Franklin and his design set the new standard used for casemates up and down the Eastern Seaboard. Williamsburg(h) Brooklyn was also named in his honor.

See our Tourist in Your Own Town video from last fall, and then go visit Governors Island.

See more photos here.