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Fort Nathan Hale
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
The reconstructed Black Rock Fort at the Fort Nathan Hale historic site
Location: New Haven, Connecticut
Coordinates: 41°16′14″N 72°54′15″W / 41.27056°N 72.90417°W / 41.27056; -72.90417Coordinates: 41°16′14″N 72°54′15″W / 41.27056°N 72.90417°W / 41.27056; -72.90417
Built/Founded: 1776
Governing body: City of New Haven
Added to NRHP: October 28, 1970 [1]
NRHP Reference#: 70000711
Nathan Hale statue by Bela Lyon Pratt at Fort Nathan Hale.

Fort Nathan Hale is a 20-acre (81,000 m2) City Park located on the east shore of New Haven Harbor in New Haven, Connecticut. The Revolutionary War-era fort was named after Nathan Hale, Connecticut's official hero. Since 1921, the site has been owned by the City of New Haven and maintained as a historical site. Educational programs are given throughout the year to students attending local schools. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.



In early 1776, the colony of Connecticut commissioned the construction of a fort on a point of rock that stretched out into the harbor to protect the port of New Haven from the British. This was the location of an earlier unnamed fort from circa 1657, and on this site was erected Black Rock Fort. Unfortunately for the colonists, in 1779 in the Battle of New Haven, the British captured Black Rock Fort along with its nineteen defenders, but only after they had run out of ammunition. The British burned the barracks as they left. In 1807, the abandoned fort was reconstructed as Fort Nathan Hale, and it served to defend the port from the British once again during the War of 1812. In 1863, Fort Nathan Hale II was built alongside the original fort, out of concern that Southern raiders might strike the city during the Civil War, but the fort saw no battle action. This fort contained deep, earthen, bomb-proof bunkers.[2]

The fort as a historical recreation area

The site has been known as a historic site since 1921, when Congress deeded the fort to the State, which turned it over to the City to maintain. The site was turned into a popular bathing and picnic area but pollution and the hurricane of 1938 brought such recreation to an end. The site, neglected, became overgrown and the fort fell into decay. In 1967, the Fort Nathan Hale Restoration Project was founded by a group of concerned citizens interested in the restoration and preservation of Fort Nathan Hale. Brought back to life in time for the Nation's Bicentennial, Fort Nathan Hale was rededicated on July 5, 1976. Both Fort Nathan Hale and Black Rock Fort have been reconstructed and include a newly restored drawbridge, moat, ramparts, powder magazines and "bombproof" bunker. Through the efforts of FNHRP, funds are raised annually to maintain, staff and promote the facility. Each year over 7,000 visitors from countries around the world tour the historic site. .[3]


Several people have reported sightings of ghostly soldiers and glowing green orbs in the bunkers of the fort. Some accounts attribute the soldier apparitions to a battle that took place at the fort, but the bunkers were constructed as part of Fort Nathan Hale II, which never saw battle. [4]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-01-01.  
  2. ^ Cheri Revai Haunted Connecticut. Stackpole Books, 2006
  3. ^ FNHRP. About Fort Nathan Hale. December 31, 2005.
  4. ^ Cheri Revai Haunted Connecticut. Stackpole Books, 2006

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