“built to keep people out, now welcoming millions in”
Located at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, Castle Clinton stands where New York City began, and represents not only the city’s growth, but the growth of a nation. Initially intended to prevent a British invasion in 1812, the fortification has transformed over the years to welcome theatergoers, immigrants, sightseers, and now, millions of visitors to New York Harbor. Originally built to be a fort for the War of 1812 Castle Clinton has seen many changes over the years. After it was a fort it became an opera house from 1840-1855 and renamed Castle Garden. An immigration station operated here between 1855-1890. After Ellis Island opened in 1892 the building was transformed into the New York City Aquarium from 1896-1941. Castle Clinton National Monument has seen many changes in the growth and culture of New York City. The structure was one of the New York Harbor forts built just before the War of 1812. Later it became a great entertainment complex, then an important immigrant processing station, and then an aquarium. There is no better example of historic adaptive reuse then Castle Clinton National Monument. Saved from complete destruction, the National Park Service carried out a restoration campaign, completed in 1975, that restored the structure to its original fortress configuration. Saved from demolition in 1946, the Castle was restored to its original design by the National Park Service. The site reopened in 1975 as Castle Clinton National Monument. Today the site houses the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty. Castle Clinton receives an annual visitation over 3 million making it one of the most visited National Park Service sites in the country.
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