Skip to main content

Fort Totten, Queens


Fort Totten Park is a former United States Army installation in Bayside, Queens on the north shore of Long Island. Decommissioned as a military base in the 1970s, Fort Totten is located at the head of Little Neck Bay where the East River widens to become the Long Island Sound. Although the United States Army Reserve maintains a presence since 1974, the property is currently owned by the City of New York.
Fort Totten Flag Bearers
New York Public Library

Construction began in 1862 after the United States government purchased the land from the Willet family.  The former federal military base was composed of 93 acres.  Plans for the Civil War-era project were initially prepared by Captain Robert E. Lee in 1857.  Construction was undertaken five years later to protect the eastern approach of New York Harbor from the Confederate States, along with Fort Schuyler across the East River in the Bronx.

The fort was named for General Joseph Gilbert Totten (1788-1864), Chief Engineer of the United States Army, regent of the Smithsonian Institution, and co-founder of the National Academy of Sciences.

The Willet's farmhouse, built in 1829, is located within the complex but predates the military installation.  Also notable within the site is the historic fort itself, a 19th century artillery battery.

Fort Totten
New York Public Library
The fort's defensive facilities quickly became obsolete and was repurposed in 1864 for casualty care.  The Fort Totten Army Hospital has been vacant since 1965 and was first known as the Post Hospital and later renamed for Dr. Walter Reed.

In 1987 the United States Department of Defense transferred 10 acres of land at Fort Totten to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation as a gift for Bayside area parkland.

Men Marching Fort Totten
New York Public Library
In 2001, the majority of the Fort came under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation - nearly 61 acres.  The remainder is operated by the New York Fire Department and New York Police Department as a training center.  St. John's University and the Bayside Historical Society also use facilities on-site such as Fort Totten's former Officer's Club.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Stuyvesant Square Park, Manhattan

Stuyvesant Square (1930) New York Public Library Stuyvesant Square Park is a park spanning from East 15th Street north to East 17th Street and from Rutherford Place east to Nathan D. Perlman Place. The square is commonly thought to be named for  Peter Stuyvesant, the last of the Dutch Director-General of the colony of New Netherlands until it was ceded to English  control in 1664. It is actually named for Peter Gerard Stuyvesant. Stuyvesant Square (1905) Museum of the City of New York The park lies within what was the Stuyvesant family farm. The farm once stretched from the Bowery to the East River and from 3rd Street to 14th Street. The park itself is in the approximate location of the original Stuyvesant family mansion. Randel Farm Map 1818-1820 In 1836, Peter Gerard Stuyvesant and his wife Hellen Rutherford reserved four acres of the family farm and sold it to the City of New York for $5 as a public park, with the proviso that the City of New York build a fen

Holland Tunnel, Manhattan

 South Tunnel of the Holland Tunnel December 6, 1923 New York Public Library  The first automobile tunnel built under the Hudson River was the Holland Tunnel, opened to vehicular traffic on November 13, 1927.  The Holland Tunnel was formerly named the Hudson River Vehicular Tunnel or the Canal Street Tunnel.  Today it is named for it's chief engineer Clifford Milburn Holland (1883-1924). Beginning in 1906, a joint commission of New York and New Jersey explored the possibility of construction of a roadway crossing to connect the states.  After design proposals from various engineers including George Goethals, and the firm of Jacobs and Davies, the design of two separate tubes by Clifford Holland was chosen.  In 1919, Holland was named Chief Engineer of the project. North Tunnel of the Holland Tunnel July 20, 1925 New York Public Library On February 1, 1920 funds were appropriated for construction by the New Jersey Interstate Bridge and Tunnel Commission a

Ferry Point Park, The Bronx

Ferry Point Park is a park located in the Throggs Neck section of the Bronx along the East River and Westchester Creek.  The park spans 413.8 acres. The neighborhood " Throggs Neck " takes its name from John Throgmorton who obtained a license on October 6, 1642 from Niew Amsterdam's Governor to settle in the area.  The area served primarily as farm land for families for the next two centuries. In 1850 the land that will become Ferry Point Park is purchased by Augustus diZerega and Jacob Lorillard, a shipping tycoon and a tobacco manufacturer, respectively. In 1916, the land is sold to the Catholic House of the Good Shepherd. The east side of Ferry Point Park prior to land-filling New York Public Library 1905 The original parcel of Ferry Point Park totaled 171 acres and came under the jurisdiction of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation in 1937.  It was purchased by New York City from the Roman Catholic House of the Good Shepherd during the a