The history of Castle Island

Castle Island History

Castle Island is the oldest continuously fortified site in British North America.

    The island got its name from the fact that every fort located here was always informally known as "The Castle."

    Quickly appreciated for its strategic location for the protection of Boston from sea attack, the first fortification on Castle Island was an earthwork and three cannon ordered in 1634 by Governor Dudley of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

    After the evacuating British destroyed the islandās fortifications 1776, the fort was repaired by troops under the command of Lt. Paul Revere.

    The present five pointed granite structure is the eighth fort to occupy this site and contains over 172,687 linear feet of hammered stone and was constructed under the direction of Colonel Sylvanus Thayer between 1834 and 1851. and.

    Many people erroneously believe Fort Independence to be constructed with granite from nearby Quincy; however, with local stone being more costly, the project was instead carried out at considerable savings to taxpayers with granite hauled by boat from quarries on distant Cape Ann.

    Using the name Perry, the nineteenth century American author Edgar Allan Poe served on Castle Island for five months in 1827 and is said to have based the story "The Cask of Amontillado" on an early Castle Island legend.

    In 1818 Boston residents were thrown into a considerable panic by the reported sightings off Castle Island of large sea serpents.

    After it was no longer needed for coastal defense, Castle Island was purchased by the MDC from the federal government in 1962 .

    On October 15, 1970, Castle Island and Fort Independence were placed on the Register of National Historic Places.

  Vintage photograph, Civil War garrison. Eight inch mortar.   View across Bastion A, looking north.   Fifteen inch Rodman gun.

There are trail maps available to plan out a healthy heart walking tour. Two versions are available. To save on printer paper view map on screen here or for PDF version click here.

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