LeRoy Pennysaver & News - page 11

FortWoodand theElevenPoint Star
As work begins on the new
landscaping for theLeRoyStatue
of Libertyon the creekbank, sev-
eral people have asked about the
cement star that is in the ground.
Thiswaspartof theoriginal instal-
lation in1950 andwas pouredon
sitewhen the plinthwas cast. Al-
though theplinthhasnot survived
very well and is being replaced,
the star is ingreat condition.
The new landscaping and re-
taining wall that is being done
byBubbas,will expose the street
side of the star, which has never
been seen before. The only way
youcouldsee thestarwas tostand
by thecreekand lookat theback-
sideof theStatueofLiberty.But
whydoes it have elevenpoints?
The eleven point star is based
on thebaseof theStatueofLiber-
ty in theNewYorkHarbor. That
statuewas built within thewalls
of anold fort.
The fort was built onBedloe’s
Island by the Army Corps of
Engineers andwas completed in
1811.The fortwasoneofaseries
offortificationsbuilt todefend the
were built onGovernor’s Island,
and Ellis Island as well as the
round battery at the tip of Man-
hattan, known as Castle Clinton
(which is where you buy tickets
to take the boat to the Statue of
Liberty today).
FortWoodwas knownonly as
the “works onBedloe’s Island,”
but on November 9, 1814, the
governorofNewYorknamed the
fort after Eleazer D.Wood, who
had died a hero in the Battle of
Lake Erie at the end of theWar
of 1814.
Eleazor Wood was born in
1783 in NewYork City and he
was educated at West Point and
wascommissionedasecond lieu-
tenant in theArmyCorps of En-
gineers in1806.Hewas involved
with the construction of Castle
Williams onGovernor’s Island.
During theWarof1812,hewas
part of theheroicdefenseofFort
Meigs on in Ohio and was the
artillerycommander in theBattle
of the Thames. He was trans-
ferred to theforceson theNiagara
frontier and was involved with
thecaptureofFortErie, forwhich
he was commended for bravery
andpromoted to lieutenant colo-
nel. Hewas killed by theBritish
while leading a sortie from Fort
thirty heavy cannons capable of
firing24poundcannonballs. The
fort also had a stone magazine
that held200barrelsof gunpow-
der.By1818, therewere306men
living at FortWood. It remained
In 1844, the War Department
Landscapingbegun todaybyBubbasLandscaping.
PleaseNote ...
Change ofDate
Statue of Liberty
moved from
Saturday, July 16 to
Sunday, July 17
at 3:00pm
rebuilt the old fort with heavy,
rusticated blocks of granite and
in1848, theNewYorkCommis-
a convalescent hospital on Bed-
loe’sIslandfor immigrantsrecov-
ering from contagious diseases.
During theCivilWar the fortwas
usedasanarmy recruitingstation
andwas used for ordinance stor-
age. The hospital also remained
In 1877, General William T.
Sherman, at the request of Presi-
dent Rutherford Hayes, selected
the fort as the site for the new
Statue of Liberty,whichwas be-
ing constructed in France. After
theStatueofLibertywas erected
in1886, a lighthousekeeperwas
posted on the island to oversee
theStatueofLiberty as abeacon
in the harbor. The old Fort was
open to tourists. In 1907, new
repairswere begun, and in1930,
the old granitewas replaced and
workwasdoneon theparapetand
the rampart walls. In the 1950s
plans were underway to install
a museum of immigration, but
it wouldn’t be until1972 that the
museumwouldbe opened.
From 1904 until 1923, the
Army Signal Corps replaced the
regular armyat the fort.TheSig-
nal Corps were replaced by the
Military Police, which remained
until1937,when theSecretaryof
War turnedBedloe’s Island over
to the National Park Service, as
partof theU.S.Departmentof the
Interior. The island’s name was
changed fromBedloe’s Island to
Liberty Island by a joint resolu-
tion of Congress andwas signed
into lawbyPresidentEisenhower,
onAugust 3, 1956.
StatueofLibertywithin thewallsofFortWood,Liberty Island.
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