Archive of Newspaper Articles about Fort Tilden

Page 1 of 3: 1910 - 1949
Updated: December 3, 2000
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$12,000,000 Rockaway Beach Case Settled

Date: Aug 11, 1910
Newspaper: NY World

U.S. Secures Land Valued at $100,000 and Withdraws Its Court Action

After months of litigation the question of the title of property at Rockaway Beach valued at $12,000,000 was yesterday settled by an agreement entered into by the Federal authorities with the Neponsit Realty Company of Brooklyn, the West Rockaway Land Company and Andrew K. Van Deventer, who were defendants in a suit for the property brought by the Government.

Judge Thomas I. Chatfield in the United States Circuit Court in Brooklyn signed an order validating the agreement between the Government and the defendants. By its terms the Federal authorities receive fifteen acres fronting upon the Atlantic Ocean and Jamaica Bay, valued at $100,000, located at the westerly end of the property of the Neponsit Realty Company. The remainder of the land goes to the defendants according to the portions each claimed, with with the right to develop it along whatsoever lines they choose. The Government will use its land as a life saving station.

The property was purchased about a year and a half ago by the Neponsit Realty Company. The site had already been accepted by the city as a park, and because of this the title of the purchasers was attacked.

The investigation of the Title Guarantee and Trust Company showed that the property had been purchased prior to the War of 1812 by the State of New York and turned over to the Government for garrison purposes. After the war the troops were withdrawn. From that time the Government could not maintain its claim to the property except by virtue of possession of a small strip of ground, upon which a few soldiers camped from time to time.

At the office of the Title Guarantee and Trust Company one of the officials said that no such settlement would have been agreed upon had it been possible to sue the Government, but they accepted the compromise because if the defendants refused, the Government could send down soldiers and seize the land.



Ships Warned to Avoid Gun Fire of Fort Tilden

Date: July 2, 1935
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Major Aaron Bradshaw Jr. U.S.N., (*) yesterday announced that anti-aircraft and machine guns will be fired at Fort Tilde, near Rockaway Beach, on July 11, 12 and 13, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. each day, and he warned all shipping to avoid the area. Major Bradshaw said that it will be dangerous for boats to approach or enter the water area included in the angle between the line from Scotland Lights to Rockaway Point Coast Guard station cupola, a line drawn thirty degrees to the left of Ambrose Lightship through Rockaway Point Coast Guard station cupola, and a line parallel to and 13,000 yards out from the shore line.

* Editors Note, Jan 2000
Major Bradshaw was probably U.S. Army, not Navy, as the Navy does not use the rank of Major and the Army normally made such announcements.
Residents Balk, Ft. Tilden Won't Fire Big Guns Today

Date: July 23, 1935
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Damage to Ears, Windows Feared if 16-in. Piece Lets Go.

Official announcement was made last night that the test firing of the sixteen-inch gun (*) at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Beach, scheduled for today, has been postponed indefinitely. No reason was given, but it was intimated residents had protested , through their Congressmen, that the concussion would cause much annoyance and possibly damage to windows and crockery.

This gun, obtained from the Navy (*), was test fired in 1920 (*), when it was received, and has not been fired since. The firing scheduled for today was to try out a new fire-control device. The gun fires a 2,100-pound projectile 50,000 yards. It and one or two thers of its type, are the largest land guns in the world.

* Editors Note, Jan 2000
Fort Tilden had two 16-inch guns Model M1919, not Navy type guns, installed in 1924.
Soldiers Quit Fort Tilden

Date: July 24, 1935
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

2-Week Preparation to Fire Big Guns Goes for Naught

Fifty-four enlisted men and four officers departed yesterday from Fort Tilden at Rockaway Beach, Queens, where they had been stationed for the last two weeks to prepare for the firing of a 16-inch gun (*) and returned to their posts at Fort Hancock, Sandy Hook, N.J.

Orders that the firing be postponed indefinitely were received from the War Department after residents of the Rockaways had protested that they were considerably discomfitted (sic) when the heavy piece was last fired fifteen years ago.

* Editors Note, Jan 2000
Fort Tilden had two 16-inch guns, not one, installed in 1924.
Officers Training At Fort Tilden

Date: June 1938
Newspaper:Rockaway Review, Published by the Chamber of Commerce of The Rockaways , Pg 101

The firing of 16 inch guns (the largest guns in the world) at Fort Tilden, which has always resulted in a number of complaints from residents of the West End section of the Rockaways will not take place this year according to an announcement by Army officials. In former years, the 62nd Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft Regiment, from Fort Totten, visited the Rockaways were target practice with the two 16-inch guns took place. This year the training will be held in Virginia.

The annual target practice of the 910th Coast Artillery Reserve Officers, started on June 20th under the tutelage of officers and men attached to the 62nd Coast Artillery Anti-Aircraft Regiment from Fort Totten. Twenty-four Reserve officers from New York City and vicinity are attending the training course for proper use of the most recent types of anti-aircraft weapons.

On the first day, 13,000 rounds of machine gun ammunition were fired at targets towed through the air by one of the new types of army bombers from Mitchell Field. The plane flew at various altitudes and sent sprays of lead at the cigar shaped target drifting along a cable several hundred feet from the planes tail.

The course starts on Monday and ends on Friday and a new group of officers begin training each week.

A new departure has been put into affect this year in connection with the target practice. Hereforeto, the entire course of instruction has been given at Fort Tilden but this year a field course is first given to Reserve officers at Camp Upton after which they are given further training at Fort Tilden.

Photo caption:16-Inch Gun at Fort Tilden

Fort Tilden Will Test Its Anti-Aircraft Guns

Date: July 2, 1938
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Anti-aircraft target practice which will be conducted by troops of the 62nd Coast Artillery from the beach at Fort Tilden , near Rockaway Point, Queens, from July 6 through July 9, will make it dangerous for any shipping to approach within 8,000 yards of the shore line at this point, the United States Army Headquarters at Fort Totten warned yesterday. Heavy caliber anti-aircraft cannon and machine guns will be fired from 4 to 6:30 p.m. daily during that period, and air traffic was also warned to stay clear of the field of fire, and of the planes towing the targets.


Gunners Await Aerial Targets at Fort Tilden

Date: Feb 18, 1940
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

62nd Coast Artillery Sets Up Anti-Aircraft Weapons for Five-Week Practice

In ankle deep slush and snow, 300 officers and enlisted men of the 62nd Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) Regiment set up their three-inch guns and searchlights yesterday at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Point, Queens, and rushed last-minute preparations for their first winter target practice near New York City in many years.

After finishing their duties, the men of the regiment, which is based at Fort Totten, Whitestone, Queens, huddled around wood-burning stoves in pyramid tents and unheated barracks at their new station. More than 80 percent of the enlisted men are recruits who will receive their first taste of firing at moving targets towed 10,000 feet above their heads early this week if the weather permits. Yesterday there were unanimous expressions of hope for clear skies, despite weather reports of more snow.

The special winter training is an outgrowth of the governments policy of strengthening American national defense. After the outbreak of the European War more than 400 of the men of the 62nd Regiment were sent to Panama. At that time the official strength of the anti-aircraft unit was 841 men, but now this has been increased to 1,400. After the recruits have been broken in at Fort Tilden, the regiment will go south to Fort Benning, Ga., in April to take part in large-scale Army maneuvers.

Most of the men appeared to be enjoying their winter encampment in the face of the hardships it made necessary. To avoid a repitition of events occuring during last week's storm - when the guard tent collapsed five times - special precautions were being taken. Tents located in particularly sandy spots were "anshored" by peices of railroad track which the men found near-by.

Eight anti-aircraft guns have been brought to Fort Tilden by the 62nd Regiment, and Battery D, a new department, is expected to bring four more. Battery A brought four of it's powerful searchlights, which in war time would scan the skies for enemy bombers in order to illuminate a night target practice planned by the officers.

It was said that although most of the target practice to be undertaken by the 62nd Regiment during the next five weeks at Fort Tilden would be with targets towed at less than 15,000 feet, the guns used were effective against enemy aircraft at twice that height. Batteries are set up so that their fire overlaps and makes it difficult for raiders to fly through a barrage.

A fire-control system supplies each battery with necessary information about enemy aircraft. In a day or two, when planes from Mitchel Field, L.I., two sleeve targets over, height indicators will reveal their altitude, and a director will give direction and speed.
Anti-Aircraft Practice Balked by High Winds

Date: Feb 22, 1940
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Targets Torn From Planes Over Fort Tilden

Members of the 62nd Coast Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) Regiment , who have been waiting since Saturday for favorable weather to begin winter target practice at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Point, Queens, were disappointed yesterday when high winds tore three sleeve targets from planes towing them and forced postponement of firing until tomorrow.

Eight three-inch guns of the regiment, set up at the fort, were unlimbered at 3 p.m. and their crews prepared to go into action. A "settling" shot was fired from each of four guns to insure that the guns were firmly established on their bases, but no shots were aimed at the targets, which were towed at between 11,000 and 13,000 feet. The special target practice, the first which the regiment has had in winter near New York City in many years, is for the purpose of training several hundred recruits. The regiment is based at Fort Totten, Whitestone, Queens.

Big Guns to Fire from Fort Tilden
16-Inch weapons to Be Tested May 27 for the First Time in Five Years.
Sand Shells to be Used.
75-mm Field Pieces Will Get Trials Also - Date of Golf Tournament Changed

Date: May 19, 1940
Newspaper: The New York Times - Brooklyn Edition

Heavy guns at Fort Tilden on the Rockaway peninsula will be fired one week from tomorrow for the first time since 1935, it was learned yesterday. Battery "B" - Seventh Coast Artillery Regiment, is preparing to fire fourteen round with it's two 16-inch weapons.

Projectiles filled with sand instead of explosives will be hurled about 28,000 yards offshore into the Atlantic at a target area cleared of shipping by the Coast Guard. These guns correspond to the heaviest carried by battleships. Officers of the battery hope to complete the practice in twenty minutes.

Preceding the big gun trials there will be several days work with 75mm field pieces. They will fire thirty to forty rounds daily at ranges up to four miles, using the sand-filled shells. Captain Paul A. Jaccard is the battery commander.

Former Representative William F. Brunner, who led the fight of local residents against the firing of large caliber guns within the city, remarked yesterday that, "I feel the people should not waste their time objecting, considering what is happening abroad. I think they can stand a few broken dishes to gain the assurance that this coast is safe from invasion."
16-Inch Guns at Fort Tilden Will Fire Today if It's Sunny

Date: May 26, 1940
Newspaper: The NY Herald Tribune

The Army's sixteen-inch guns at Fort Tilden, Rockaway, Queens, are to be fired today for the first time since 1935, provided the day is bright. If the skies are overcast the firing will be postponed to the first clear day. The shooting is to start at 9 a.m. and fourteen rounds are to be fired.

Army officials warned that the area bounded on the north by the general shore line from Rockaway Point to Fire Island and on the south by a line from Rockaway Point to Cholera Bank seaward to a distance of 30,000 yards (about 17 miles) would be unsafe for shipping during firing. Coast Guard boats will be on duty to keep shipping out of the area during the firing period.

The extent to which concussions from the guns will be felt in the neighborhood depends largely on atmospheric conditions, Army officials said. They advised that persons living near the fort leave their windows open and place fragile objects on tables of sturdy construction - also, that pictures be removed from walls, dishes be moved away from the walls and that rooms with shaky ceilings be vacated during the firing period.
Weather Delays Gun Tests

Date: May 27, 1940
Newspaper: The NY Herald Tribune

Because the sky was overcast and visibility was poor, the Fort Tilden Army post in Rockaway, Queens, postponed yesterday its scheduled test firing of a battery of sixteen-inch guns, which had not been used since 1935. The guns will be fired on the first sunny day, a spokesman at Fort Tilden said.
Gun Tests Deferred Again

Date: May 28, 1940
Newspaper: The NY Herald Tribune

Firing of the sixteen-inch guns at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Point, Queens, which has been delayed for several days because of bad weather was postponed again yesterday because of poor visibility. Capt. Paul A. Jaccard, commanding the fort, said that a firing will take place on the first clear day.
Unused Since 1935, Fort Tilden Guns Hit Target 15 Miles Away
14 One-Ton 16-Inch Shells, at Cost of $3,000 Each Are Fired at "Battleship"

Date: May 30, 1940
Newspaper: The NY Herald Tribune

The two sixteen-inch guns at Fort Tilden on Rockaway Point, Queens, the biggest weapons in the Coast Artillery, were fired yesterday for the first time since 1935 and, although the complete results had not been computed last night, officers in charge believed they had sunk the moving target, an imaginary battleship fifteen to seventeen miles out at sea.

Airplanes observing the effectiveness of the gunners reported that the ninth of the fourteen one-ton shells, costing $3,000 each, scored a direct hit on the theoretical hostile battleship. The physical target was of wood, eighteen feet square and painted bright red, towed on 950 feet of line by an Army tug. A shell dropping up to half a length of a battleship on either side of the target constituted a hit. Observers reported several of these, in addition to the direct hit.

The big guns have fifty-foot barrels and a maximum range of more than thirty miles. Each was manned by a crew of thirty-six, an another fifty men worked in the plotting ... (Conclusion of article missing)
Fort Tilden's Big Guns To Be Fired This Week

Date: April 28, 1941
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday Set for Practice

Heavy coast defense guns at Fort Tilden, Rockaway, Queens, part of the harbor defenses of Sandy Hook, will be fired next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, with sub-caliber firing at shorter range today and tommorow, it was announced yesterday by Liuet. (sic) Col. Harold P. Hennessey, commanding officer.

The firing on all days will be from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and the danger areas for shipping on the days of firing were announced as follows: today and tommorow - right boundary, a line from the Fort Tilden tower through Ambrose Light extending seaward for 6,000 yards; left boundary, a line due east from the Fort Tilden tower extending 6,000 yards along the Rockaway peninsula shore line; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, right and left boundaries the same, with the danger area along the right extending seaward 20,000 yards and along the left 18,000 yards.

Firing on the last three days of the week will be by batteries of six-inch guns.

Practice at Fort Tilden

Date: May 13, 1941
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

Battery I of the 245th Coast Artillery, at Fort Tilden on Rockaway Point, had target practice yesterday afternoon which was scheduled originally for April 21. Since that date visibility has been so poor that target practice was impossible. Twelve rounds were fired yesterday by each of the two six-inch guns. It was the first time they had been fired in several years.

Fort Tilden Guns Fired

Date: June 12, 1941
Newspaper: NY Herald Tribune

16-Inch Rifles Shoot at Target for First Time In a Year

For the first time in a year two sixteen-inch guns at Fort Tilden, Rockaway Point, Queens, were fired yesterday, seven shells being discharged from each gun from 5:15 to 5:45 p.m.

The target was a pyramid with an eighteen-foot base, under tow of a tug 25,000 yards offshore. According to Maj. Thomas E. Donelan, commander of the 3d Battalion of the 245th Coast Artillery, it will take about a week to compute the effectiveness of the fire.

Battery G, under Capt. Alfred H. Reinbothe and Battery H, under Capt. Frank C. Coleman, were in charge of the big guns, under command of Maj. Donelan.

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