The new military post on Rockaway Beach was originally to be named "Fort Funston" after General Frederick Funston (1865-1917). However, at the time of Funston's death in 1917, it was already planned to use the name Fort Funston for the military base at Lake Merced, California.
On February 19, 1917, a garrison of four Officers and 130 men was established at Rockaway Point and the new post was called "Camp Rockaway". Four M1900 6-inch rapid-fire guns and four M1896 12-inch mortars were installed. Plans were made to install two (or four) newly designed 16-inch guns on disappearing carriages which would make the fort one of the most powerful fortifications in the world.
On August 1, 1917, by order of General Order #100 of the War Department, the name of the post was officially changed to Fort Tilden in honor of Samuel Jones Tilden, a former Governor of New York, and the 1876 Democratic nominee for the Presidency of the United States.
The marshy land was filled-in with sand and drifting sands were a major problem in the maintenance of the newly constructed buildings and gun emplacements. There was scarce vegetation and no grass until the Army planted trees and grass in the early 1940s.
Recent information has recently become available concerning the original structures of Fort Tilden. Research at the National Archives in Washington D.C. has produced numerous documents and early maps showing the original structures built at Fort Tilden.
This list of buildings corresponds to the map of the post as it existed in 1918. Many burned down or were demolished. These building numbers do not correspond to the existing system of numbering and are not to be confused with any existing building today. Notice that there are two buildings designated #2 , #3, and #6.
Building Number - Building Description1- Officers Quarters (typical)
Photo: Typical Officers Quarters - 1918
2- Officers Quarters (typical) 2- Quarter Master Store House (CAC)
3- Officers Quarters (typical) 3- Quarter Master Store House (ENG)
4- Officers Quarters (typical) 5- Officers Quarters (typical)
6- Officers Quarters (typical)
6- Quarter Master Headquarters and Store House
7- Officers Quarters (typical) 8- Officers Quarters (typical)
9- Officers Quarters (typical)
10- Hospital Annex
Photo: Hospital - 1918
11- Barracks (typical)
Photo: Typical Barracks - 1918
12- Barracks (typical)
13- Officers Quarters G
Photo: Bldg 13, Officers Quarters G - 1918
14- Officers Quarters H
Photo: Bldg 14, Officers Quarters H -1918
16- Mess Hall (typical)
Photo: Typical Mess Hall - 1918
17- Latrine (typical)
Photo: Typical Latrine
18- Guard House
Photo: Bldg 18, Guard House
19- Quarter Master Store House
20- Old Fire House
21- Barracks (typical)
22- Mess Hall (typical)
24- Mess Hall (typical)
25- Barracks (typical)
26- NCO Quarters
27- NCO Quarters
28- NCO Quarters
29- NCO Quarters
30- NCO Quarters
31- Wagon Shed (near bay)
32- Stable (near bay)
33- ? (small shed near bay)
34- Fire House #2
Photo: Fire House #2 - 1918
35- Barracks (near East Battery)
36- Barracks (near West Battery)
37- Target Store House (near East Battery)
38- Oil Store House (near East Battery)
39- ? (near East Battery)
40- 25 KW Power Plant (near East Battery)
41- West Battery (Twin M1900 6" Gun) Magazine
42- West Battery Power Plant
44- Ordnance Office
59- Torpedo Store House (Magazine for 12" Mortar Battery)
Photo: Bldg 59, Magazine for Mortar Battery - 1918
60- NCO Quarters
Photo: Bldg 60, NCO Quarters - 1918
YMCA Building What's left today?
None of these original structures survive today due to the large amount of construction (82 buildings) done from November 1940 to December 1941, which eliminated any trace of these original structures.
More photos and a map of the original Fort Tilden will be added later. Please check this page again.