Governors Island, Fort Columbus, New York Harbor, New York, New York County, NY
Significance: Constructed on the site of an earlier defense work in the years 1806-1809, Fort Columbus, renamed Fort Jay in 1904, was one of the largest fortifications in the defense system that effectively defended New York City and its harbor during the War of 1812. This four-bastioned fort, which differed somewhat from the earlier work, was modeled on precedents with their roots in Europe. Alterations in its design may have been the work of Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathon Williams, the Army's Chief Engineer and first superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, who directed the fortification of New York Harbor. Its construction of massive masonry walls was typical of American fortifications erected in the years just prior to the War of 1812 under what came to be known as the Second American System of fortifications. Today, the structure remains as one of the country's best preserved fortifications of its type.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: FN-33, FN-34, FN-35
Survey number: HABS NY-4-6
Building/structure dates: ca. 1797 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1832 Subsequent Work
National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 85002435