Landforms: A History of Central Park’s Fort Landscape

At the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, learn how natural features in Central Park's north end played an important role in shaping the history of our City—and our nation.

At the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, learn how natural features in Central Park's north end played an important role in shaping the history of our City—and our nation.

This exhibit reveals fascinating finds from a recent archaeological and historical investigation during the Central Park Conservancy's restoration of the Fort Landscape.

Exhibition Highlights

  • Geological Foundations

    The topography of the present-day Fort Landscape was formed by a glacier that scraped Manhattan schist bedrock out of the earth millions of years ago. Try your hand at moving a glacier across Manhattan!
  • Military History

    The Fort Landscape's high ground and expansive views made it an important strategic outlook while its rocky, swampy terrain made it difficult to infiltrate. The area was fortified by the British during the Revolutionary War and reused by the Americans during the War of 1812.
  • Establishing the Park and Restoring Its Beauty

    Central Park's designers recognized the scenic value of the area's geography, as well as the cultural importance of the historical events that took place there. They wanted to integrate and preserve both in their design of Central Park. Carrying on their tradition, the Conservancy has worked to recreate historic features in the Fort Landscape. Learn more about how we restore the Park and uphold its original purpose.