Blockhouse (Central Park)

Blockhouse (Central Park)

The Blockhouse is a small fort in the northern part of Central Park, in New York City, New York, and is the oldest structure standing in the park. The fort was hastily constructed by New Yorkers during the War of 1812 in anticipation of a British invasion. Finished in 1814, the fort was part of a series of fortifications in northern Manhattan, which originally also included three fortifications in Harlem Heights (now known as Morningside Heights). It is located on an overlook of Manhattan schist, with a clear line of fire into the flat surrounding areas north of Central Park. Officially known as Blockhouse #1, the fort is the last remaining fortification from these defenses.

The fort consists of tall stone walls surrounding a small area, inside which a wooden platform would originally have stood. On this platform would have stood a cannon, and the sides hold small gunports. This structure was likely connected to the ground by a small staircase.

The British did not attack New York City, and as such the Blockhouse never saw combat. It was subsequently used for ammunition storage (the top two feet of stonework were likely added at a later date as part of this role). The current entrance and staircase were also likely added at a later date, as was the tall flagpole in the center of the fort.

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