The History of Fort Tilden, NY - 1917 to 1974 - Last Updated: February 11, 2007
Add your name to the "Fort Tilden - Directory of Veterans".

New Photo Section

11/23/63 - Nike Hercules missiles on alert status the day after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. (From the Harry Bello Collection)

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Soldier in front of Battery Harris just after WWII and Park Ranger in front of same location in 1985

Historic Fort Tilden is located on the Rockaway Peninsula in the Borough of Queens in New York City. The 317 acre plot of land is currently owned by the National Park Service and is part of Gateway National Recreation Area (GNRA). Fort Tilden and Naval Air Station (NAS) Rockaway were both established in April 1917 and this web site will highlight the history and some interesting facts concerning these important military bases and the surrounding area.

This non-profit web site is a volunteer research project. The web site will be updated often and we need to hear from the veterans who were stationed here, as well as other history buffs like us. Coastal Artillery, Anti-Aircraft Battery, and Nike missile personnel, as well as local Rockaway, Roxbury, and Breezy Point residents are encouraged to send us digital photos, recollections, and anecdotes. Help preserve the military history of Rockaway!

We are anxious to hear your story! Click here to contact us via e-mail at:, or Sign Guestbook View Guestbook
News and Updates
News about Fort Tilden.

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History tours and presentations at Fort Tilden.

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Can you help us research the history of Fort Tilden? Send us an e-mail, or send us your comments on a reply form

Links to other Coast Artillery forts and Nike missile sites on the Internet. Updated often.

Early History of Rockaway Point

Start your virtual tour here: 1) Blockhouse Decatur
The War of 1812 fortification at Rockaway Point.

2) USLSS Station Rockaway Point
The rescues and history of this US Life Saving Service Station.

3) NAS Rockaway
Chronology of an original Naval Air Station.

4) Aircraft of NAS Rockaway
Seaplanes, flying boats, blimps, and kite balloons.

5) Blimp Hangar
The U.S. Army Blimp Hangar at Fort Tilden.

6) The Establishment of Fort Tilden
The Original 1917 U.S. Army post.

Coast Artillery Period (1917-1949) History

7) Mortar Battery
Four M1890 12-inch Mortars (WW-1).

8) Battery Fergusson
Twin M1900 6-inch Rapid Fire Guns (WW-1 and WW-2).

9) Battery Kessler
Twin M1900 6-inch Rapid Fire Guns (WW-1 and WW-2).

10) 6-inch Gun Technical Data
Learn the "Nuts and Bolts" of these weapons.

11) Battery Harris (1921-1949)
Fort Tilden's twin M1919 16-inch gun battery.

12) 16-inch Gun Technical Data
Learn the "Nuts and Bolts" of these weapons.

13) Battery 220
The twin 6-inch Rapid Fire Gun battery that was never completed. (WW-2)

14) 155mm Guns at Fort Tilden
Mobile M1918 guns.

15) Mine Casemate (1920s - 1949)
The history of submarine minefields in the New York Harbor.

16) HECP (WW-2)
Fort Tilden's Harbor Entrance Command Post.

17) Searchlight Batteries
Searchlights for harbor and anti-aircraft defense.

18) Railroad
Used to transport ammunition to the gun batteries.

19) Post Area
The cantonment area - Coming Soon!.

20) Early Harbor Defense Radar
SCR-296 and SCR-582 radar set information.

21) Anti-Aircraft Guns
WW-1, WW-2, and Cold War.

22) The AMTB Battery at Rockaway Point
The WW-2 twin 90mm Anti Motor Torpedo Boat gun emplacement at the tip of Breezy Point.

23) Battery 20 at Rockaway Point NEW!
The WW-2 twin 3-inch gun emplacement with CRF structure at the tip of Breezy Point.

24) The "Lighthouse" Fire Control Tower
Learn about this Breezy Point landmark.

25) War Diary of the Eastern Sea Frontier
Selected excerpts pertaining to New York Harbor, Dec 1941 - Sept 1943.

Cold War Period History (1949-1974)

26) Nike Missiles (1954-1974)
Supersonic air defense missiles.

Nike Ajax Missile Wanted!
NPS at Fort Hancock seeks missile for display.

Recent History at Fort Tilden
27) Gateway NRA (1974)

28) The "Golden Venture"

Appendix A: Stories and Articles
- Chronology of Artillery Firing at Ft Tilden
- 1918, Hugh Adams NAS Rockaway Aviator.
- 1919, The Commander of NAS Rockaway.
- 1920, The Boudreau photo collection.
- 1940, Practice Firing the 16-inch Guns.
- 1941, Practice Firing the 16-inch Guns.
- 1942, U-Boats Attack New York Shipping!
- 1942, Practice Firing the 16-inch Guns.
- 1943, U-Boat Shoots Down Navy PV-1 from FBF!
- 1950, Memories of 69th AAA Gun Battalion (90mm).
- 1953, Jay Sullivan and the 505th AA Missile Battalion.
- 1955-1957, Memories of the 505th AA Missile Battalion.
- 1973, Those ugly highrises.
- 1980s, Memories of Park Rangers.
Coming soon!

Newspaper Article Archive

Appendix B: Units Stationed at Fort Tilden
Military units from all time periods.
Contact old friends!

Appendix C: Historic Maps
Maps of Fort Tilden and the surrounding area dating back to 1685.

Appendix D: Directory of Veterans
View our list of Fort Tilden veterans and add your name!

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