Castle Clinton National Monument
OVERVIEW: About this audio-described brochure
Quick Over view
This is the audio-only described version for the Castle Clinton National Monument park brochure. It contains historic black and white and photographs, hand colored lithographs and maps, 2 color oil paintings and text that present the history of the park and how to plan your visit. Side one focuses on Castle Clinton’s as a witness to changing history. Side two focuses on a how Castle Clinton changed over the years.
The top of the brochures shows a hand colored lithograph and the bottom shows a hand colored map of Manhattan. They are described below. The rest of the content and descriptions are described under their own sections.
OVERVIEW: Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument, located in New York, is part of the National Park Service, within the Department of the Interior. The historic building is situated in Manhattan. The monument was established in 1946. Each year, about 3 million visitors come to enjoy the historic fort. A small museum explains the history of the building. The history is available in braille. For those seeking to learn more about the park during their visit, ask a ranger for information.
OVERVIEW: Front side of brochure
Dark black band across the tops of the brochure with Castle Clinton in white letters. Just below the black band is a hand colored lithograph. Under the lithograph is text sectioned entitled Witness to a Changing America to the left is a section on Planning Your Visit. At the bottom is a hand colored map of Manhattan.
IMAGE: Castle Garden from the Battery
Round building of Castle Garden is in center background. The Building is three stories tall and and is surrounded by water on three sides. Several people are walking along dirt paths that are flanked by trees on either side. Several sailing ships are in the water around Castle Garden.
Castle Garden from The Battery, 1848 lithograph by Nathaniel Currier
Library of Congress
TEXT: Witness to a changing America
The American Revolution painfully taught New Yorkers that their city needed better protection against enemy fleets. By the War of 1812 a stout circular sandstone battery was erected just off Manhattan Island’s southern tip. First called South-west Battery, and off shore then, it never fired a shot except for target practice. Nonetheless it was integral, with four other new forts, to a young nation’s New York Harbor defense.
A maturing nation’s thoughts turned to entertainment, and Castle Clinton—renamed in 1817 for former mayor and future governor DeWitt Clinton—became Castle Garden in 1824. It hosted public events like band concerts and fireworks and, adding a roof in the 1840s, opera and theater. By the early 1850s Castle Garden was joined to the mainland by landfill, which created Battery Park. To serve new immigrants, the State of New York turned Castle Garden into an immigrant station—processing eight million from 1855 to 1890. One in six Americans today is descended from a person entering here.
A growing national passion for science saw Castle Garden converted into the New York City Aquarium in 1896. It first housed only nearby species but soon ship captains were collecting exotic fishes for it from around the world.
Much of Castle Garden was demolished in construction for a tunnel project in the 1940s, but Castle Clinton’s basic structure stood. It became a national monument in 1946. In the 1970s it was restored. The National Park Service now cares for this grand witness of our heritage, and we invite you to join us in preserving it.
TEXT: Planning your visit
Castle Clinton is in Battery Park at Manhattan's southern tip. It is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except December 25. View the museum exhibits near the entrance. Visit the bookstore on the parade ground.
Ticket sales for the ferry out to Liberty and Ellis islands are housed at the other kiosk nearby.
Please be careful and have a safe and enjoyable visit.
IMAGE: Nearly Circular Castle Clinton
1850 hand colored lithograph of Manhattan by Theodore Muller. Birds eye view of Manhattan Island looking north showing the shore line and buildings from 1850. The round Castle Garden is at the bottom off shore and connected to Manhattan by a bridge. In the waters surrounding Manhattan and Castle Garden are sailing vessels and steam ships.
Nearly circular Castle Clinton – here Castle Garden, ca. 1850 – adapted many times to a changing national life.
CREDIT: Library of Congress
OVERVIEW: Back side of brochure
Side two is broken into five sections vertically dealing with the history of Castle Clinton. It contains both pictures and text. At the top of the brochure in a black band with white letters it reads Quiet Cannons, Opera Divas, Fish and more.
There are 3 Black and white historic photos, 2 oil on canvas portraits and 3 hand drawn lithographs
TEXT: Quiet Cannons, Opera Divas, Fish, and More
IMAGE and TEXT: Defensive Fort, 1811–1822
sepia toned lithograph map. Birds eye view of lower Manhattan looking north. Shows three islands containing forts around the harbor. Lower left corner is Fort Wood. Middle is Castle Clinton and right corner shows Fort jay and Castle William. Upper section of the map shows lower Manhattan and to the right is Brooklyn.
New York Public Library
Defensive Fort: From 1807–1811 Castle Clinton (South-west Battery then) and four other forts were built to defend New York Harbor as the War of 1812 brewed. (Not shown is Fort Gibson on Ellis Island.) It stood off Manhattan Island where the Hudson and East rivers join. The Dutch had built a fort nearby on Manhattan Island in 1625. Changes in naval guns and in relations with European powers soon made forts like this obsolete.
IMAGES and TEXT: Cultural Emporium, 1824–1854
DESCRIPTION of IMAGE 1: Marquis de Lafayette
oil on canvas by Ary Sheffer of the Marquis de Lafayette. This full length portrait shows Lafayette standing in a dark suit with a lighter brown long over coat. In his right hand is a cane and hat. In the background is a rock. The sky is cloudy with a hint of blue showing in the top left corner.
Library of Congress
DESCRIPTION of IMAGE 2: Landscape
Black and white engraving by Samuel Hollyer of Castle Garden. The round Castle Garden is in the middle with and American flag flying high above the roof. The foreground shows people walking on a path. In the lower left corner is a tree.
Art Resource, NY
DESCRIPTION of IMAGE 3: Jenny Lind
oil on canvas by Eduard Mangus of Jenny Lind. Jenny is sitting with her hands in her lap in a pale cream period dress. Her brown hair is up off her shoulders and has a crown of flowers. She is looking right.
Photographed by Eduard Mangus
Cultural Emporium: As New York City developed into a world metropolis, the city needed a public venue for cultural events. In 1824 Castle Clinton became the open-air Castle Garden. Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette of France launched his triumphal return visit to America here later that year. Presidents and other dignitaries would be honored here. Samuel F.B. Morse displayed his telegraph invention. A roof added in the 1840s made even grander events possible. Promoted by P.T. Barnum of later circus fame, the wildly popular Swedish opera diva Jenny Lind (far right) made her American debut here in 1850, enthralling her audience of 6,000.
IMAGE and TEXT: immigration center, 1855–1890
Black and white lithograph of a dock. Left shows the entrance of Castle Garden, the right a ship. In the middle is a mass of immigrants waiting in lines. Lower left corner shows a pile of boxes, crates and luggage. The right corner shows people walking down the gangplank of a ship with more boxes.
Immigration Center: New York State leased Castle Garden, now joined to the mainland, to protect newly arrived immigrants from predatory con artists. Two of every three U.S. immigrants from 1855 to April 1890 came in here, receiving lodging and travel information, medical attention, and honest currency exchange. In 1892 the immigration station, now a federal operation, moved to Ellis Island.
IMAGES and TEXT: Aquarium, 1896–1941
DESCRIPTION of IMAGE 1: Navy Recruiting Station
Black and white photo of the entrance to the Aquarium. A man stands in the doorway. He looks small compared to the height of the building which rises above him 4 stories. To the left of the door is a sign that reads Navy Recruiting station.
DESCRIPTION of IMAGE 2: Interior Photo
Black and white photo of the interior of the Aquarium. The center of the photo shows a round area with 8 arches in a circle. In the middle of this area is a circle wrought iron fence. In the far left corner there is a small section of one of the tanks with its wrought iron fence. The right corner shows another of the tanks.
Aquarium: It's opening day in December 1896 saw 30,000 people pour into the New York City Aquarium to marvel at creatures from the nearby waters. Soon it featured species from around the world. Its West India harbor seal became a city character. When the aquarium closed in 1941, its sea creatures went to the Bronx Zoo and later to Coney Island.
IMAGE and TEXT: National Monument, 1946–Present
black and white photo of Castle Clinton circa 1950. Circular building in center of photo shows the outer walls of Castle Clinton after the destruction of the Aquarium. Surrounding the walls is a park with trees and paths.
1946 - Present National Monument: Concerned citizens saved the fort from the wrecking ball and saw it authorized as a national monument in 1946. Preservationists saw its restoration get under way in 1970. Now Castle Clinton is a historic site interpreted in its own right and also hosts ticket sales for the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island ferry.
IMAGE: Castle Garden sign
sepia toned background with black lettering that reads Castle Garden
Library of Congress
OVERVIEW: AccessibilityPark rangers are available to answer questions. The fort is wheelchair accessible. A braille guide is available upon request
OVERVIEW: More information
Castle Clinton is one of more than 390 parks in the National Park System. The National Park Service cares for these special places saved by the American people so that all may enjoy our heritage. To learn more about parks and park programs please visit w w w dot n p s dot gov
National Park Service Manhattan Sites
26 Wall Street
New York, NY 10005
WEBSITE:w w w dot n p s dot gov, forward slash c a c l