At the western end of Napatree Point in Watch Hill are the ruins of Fort Mansfield. This was a fort constructed during the Spanish American War to defend the northeast entrance to Long Island Sound. It consisted of three gun batteries that could fire upon enemy ships in the narrow Watch Hill Passage that separates Fishers Island from Napatree Point. First manned in 1901, Fort Mansfield was found to have serious flaws and vulnerabilities. With all of its guns and cannons aimed to the south and west, a ship could approach from the east and fire upon the fort's blind spot. Rather than correct the flaws, the U.S. Government closed the fort in 1917, upon entrance into World War I.
In the summer of 2001, I walked out here, but never got too close. The overgrown brush and vines made the paths difficult to follow, and I was worried about ticks. During a recent winter visit the ruins were much more accessible, but dangerous nonetheless. Much of the concrete remains were covered with a thin film of ice, so I made sure not to walk to close to the edge. I avoided the tunnels and shafts as well.
Hurricanes and time have taken their toll on the old fort, leaving not much left to see. Unfortunately, what does remain of the structure has been heavily vandalized. Broken glass was everywhere, and nearly every wall contained grafitti telling me that Kevin is a #%@*! (I already knew that), and Susan %#@*'s.
There is something about ruins that makes people want to ruin them even more.
Ghost Town: Fort Mansfield
Ghost Towners: Code Of Ethics
Wikipedia: Fort Mansfield
SOUNDBOUNDER: Napatree Point
SOUNDBOUNDER: Harbor Seal At Napatree