Fort Tilden

Fort Tilden

Fort Tilden
Queens, New York
Type Army Reserves Post
Site information
Controlled by U.S. Army
Site history
In use 1917-1995
Garrison information
Garrison 5/5th Field Artillery, 187th Infantry Brigade
Fort Tilden Historic District
16" gun Casemate
Fort Tilden is located in New York City
Fort Tilden
Location Rockaway Beach Blvd., New York, New York
Built 1917
Architect U. S. Army
Architectural style No Style Listed
Governing body National Park Service
NRHP Reference # 84002917
Added to NRHP April 20, 1984[1]

Fort Tilden, also known as Fort Tilden Historic District, is a former United States Army installation on the coast in the New York City borough of Queens. Fort Tilden now forms part of the Gateway National Recreation Area, and is administered by the National Park Service.

Fort Tilden Historic District is located on the Rockaway Peninsula, between Jacob Riis Park to the east and Breezy Point Tip to the west. All three of these sites are operated by the National Park Service.[2]

Fort Tilden in 2014 has largely become a natural area of beach, dunes and maritime forest. Most of the old military installations are abandoned, and buildings which formerly hosted artillery (magazines) are overrun with graffiti. A few buildings have been renovated and are used by local arts groups, and some large open areas are used as sports grounds. Atop one of the old batteries, Battery Harris East, a viewing platform has 360-degree views which include the city, New York Harbor, and the Atlantic Ocean. The wilder parts of Fort Tilden are popular with bird-watchers and other nature-lovers, and the beach areas are frequently used for fishing.[3]

A view of the beach at Fort Tilden

Military history

Following a number of temporary military installations on or near the location dating as far back as the War of 1812, and ending with Naval Air Station Rockaway (the departure point of the first transatlantic flight), the fort was established about the time of American involvement in World War I in 1917. It is named after Samuel J. Tilden, one-term governor of New York State and Democratic Presidential candidate in 1876.

The fort first served as a coastal artillery installation and ended its service as a Nike Hercules and Nike Ajax missile site. Fort Tilden remained an Army installation until 1974 when it was decommissioned and turned over to the National Park Service, and made part of the Gateway National Recreation Area. A number of structures are included in an historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including the cement casemates for the largest cannon (16" bore) ever employed on land up to that time.

From the late 60's until at least 1978 it was an Army Reserve Post housing a signal corp unit, the 411th Engineers, and an Army Reserve self-propelled 8" Howitzer battalion, originally the 5/51st FA and renamed in the early 70's the 7/9th FA. From the late 60's until the 1980s it served as a United States Army Reserve post, with the 187th Infantry Brigade's 5/5th Field Artillery; a towed-105mm howitzer battalion stationed there until the 187th was deactivated in 1995. It was also the location of the 411th Engineer Brigade, which was headquartered there from 1968 to 1978.


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ New York Harbor Map National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy. Accessed November 18, 2008
  3. ^ Kilgannon, Corey. To the Battlements, and Take Sunscreen: The Joys of Fort Tilden. July 21, 2006. New York Times. Accessed November 18, 2008.

External links

  • Fort Tilden Visitor information