Battery Weed is a substantial three-tiered 19th century fortification guarding the Narrows, the main approach from the Atlantic Ocean to New York City. Located on the Staten Island waterfront on the west shore of the Narrows directly across from Fort Hamilton and the now-destroyed Fort Lafayette on Long Island, the fort was intended to protect New York from attack by sea.
Originally named Fort Richmond, the trapezoidal structure was designed by General Joseph G. Totten, the U.S. Army's Chief of Engineers, and was built between 1845 and 1861. It was renamed for fallen Civil War General Stephen Weed in 1863. Fort Tompkins was built on the bluff above Battery Weed to protect its landward face. Together, these fortifications later collectively became called Fort Wadsworth.
In 1903, a small lighthouse was built atop Battery Weed. Its light was visible for 14 nautical miles (26 km). When the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1965 the lighthouse became obsolete. Dark for many years, it was restored and converted to solar power by volunteers in 2005.
Fort Wadsworth was an active military base until 1994, operated by the U.S. Navy for its final few years. In 1995, Battery Weed, along with the rest of Fort Wadsworth, was transferred to the care of the National Park Service as part of Gateway National Recreation Area. Battery Weed's interior is open to the public on park ranger escorted tours only, although its exterior can be viewed at all times.
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