Fort Tilden
12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Unknown, 1917

Fort Tilden was established in 1917 as a U.S. Army Coast Artillery Post. Named after Samuel Tilden, who served as Governor of New York from 1875 to 1876, it protected the entrance to New York Harbor from naval attack during World War I and II along with Forts Hancock and Wadsworth. During the Cold War Fort Tilden protected the New York City area with Nike Missiles. The building and fortification construction began 1917. The emergency fortifications being built for World War I included electric lights and motorized ammunition hoists, searchlights and telephone communications. From the end of World War I through the 1930s, Fort Tilden was occupied only by a caretaker detachment. A building construction period began in mid-1930s with the Works Progress Administration (WPA) completing many buildings. World War II began in Europe in 1939 and troops arrived at Fort Tilden in 1941.

After the end of World War II, the Coast Artillery Corps was abolished and the fate of coastal forts throughout the country was unclear. Anti-aircraft guns were soon no longer sufficient defenses against jet airplanes. A new weapon system, the Nike Missile, a surface-to-air missile (SAM) was developed. By the mid-1950s Nike Ajax Missiles were at Fort Tilden. The Nike Ajax was replaced in 1959, by the Nike Hercules which defended New York until 1974. The Army transferred Fort Tilden to the National Park Service. Fort Tilden is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Sunday Tour Info: Walking tours of the fort with National Park Service rangers and historians will take place at 12, 2, and 3pm.

Access Notes: Wear comfortable shoes and dress for the weather. This site’s tours will be canceled in the event of inclement weather.


Image credit: katie chao and ben muessig via Flickr