The British army first constructed a fort here in 1776, as part of a buildup of defenses during the Revolutionary War. A few decades later, New Yorkers built another fortification in this same location during the War of 1812 to defend a British attack from the north. During the War of 1812, Nutter’s Battery was connected to a larger fortification system that included two other forts: Fort Clinton to the east and Fort Fish to the southwest.
This fort was named after local landowner Valentine Nutter. The forts were connected by low earthen walls and linked to a gatehouse at McGowan’s Pass that controlled access to a local road. The defensive line was completed with a series of blockhouses to the west, one of which still exists in the North Woods, the only one remaining from this system. The attack never materialized, and the forts never saw battle; they were left to fall into ruin or were dismantled.
When the Park was built, there were no paths accessing the historic fort site. In 1945, the Parks Department built new paths and constructed a low stone wall to mark the spot where the fortification once stood. The Central Park Conservancy rebuilt Nutter's Battery in 2014, rebuilding the stone wall and adding new paving and plantings.
Things you can do here
Step into history and see how this area near the Harlem Meer played a key role during the American Revolution and War of 1812.
Also in the area
Get to know this area’s rich past, which includes appearances from General George Washington and several military fortifications—one of which can still be visited today.
What do glaciers, cow manure, and the Revolutionary War all have in common? They were all crucial in shaping the area that later became Central Park! Learn more about the pre-Park’s history with these 10 fun facts, drawn from Conservancy Historian Emerita Sara Cedar Miller’s new book.