Monday, September 19, 2011

Fort Stirling and Fort Half Moon- The Forts of Brooklyn Heights

This has been a long over do project. It has all the scenic elements that amateur photographers could want. Iconic vistas, recognizable skylines, a promenade, tourists from all over the world take photos from this location. I came here with the goal of seeing the view in reference to the fortifications that occupied these heights in the 18th century. Today there are scant references to the past. However there is a small fenced in area with a sign marking the location of Fort Stirling Park, at Clark Street and Columbia Heights. A black iron fence encloses the small, wooded plot. It is not open to the public. As with most “Battle of Long Island” sites, some imagination is required to view the sites. Here is more information about the history of the parks development. 
Intersection of Columbia Heights and Clark Street. Buildings frame the small fenced in park.
Holga 120N. The fence.
Because I live nearby, I can easily walk to the location. The photographs were taken over two different visits this summer. The last visit coincided with the Great East Coast Earthquake of 2011. Unfortunately,  I was walking to the heights and didn’t feel it. It would have been neat if I was making an long pinhole exposure when the earthquake struck. For cameras, I took along my 4x5 pinhole, my Holga 120N and the wide angle Holga pinhole cameras. I wanted to document the present day park, as well as the commanding view the forts had over the harbor and East River.
A Holga 120N Photo-shopped panorama depicting the field of view from the Forts of Brooklyn Heights.
View looking up the heights to the location of Fort Sterling Park in the center of the image. A 4x5 Pinhole capture.
4X5 Pinhole capture.
 Further History of the area. 
Fort Sterling: March 1776, Kings County, Brooklyn. The first American fort built in Brooklyn; it was located on a bluff at the very edge of the Brooklyn Heights. The site today is Columbia Street between Clark and Orange Streets. Also known as Fort Half-Moon because of its open back. The fort was designed to command the East River. Taken by the British in August 1776 it was continuously garrisoned until their evacuation in 1783. This site was not used again. Another fort referred to as a grand citadel to be called The Congress was to have been constructed to the rear on higher ground at Henry and Pierrepont Streets but was not started, but was where the British later built Fort Brooklyn.
Taken from New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History web site.
And the later Fort Brooklyn
View of the harbor from the "fort." A pinhole capture.

A view of the park taken from the Brooklyn Historical Society. Circa 1934.

I found this drawing of Brooklyn Heights. I think this must be the area around Montague Street.

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