The Coastal Forts of Eastern Long Island Sound: Abandonment, Ruination and Repurposing

The 2020 exhibition examines the current state of the fort properties that stretch across the Sound from Napatree Point, R.I., to Gardiners Point Island, N.Y.

Looking beyond the visually compelling crumbling facades of gun pits, the striking through-line of this exhibition is the active repurposing of large sections of these former military reservations by scientists, naturalists and conservationists into nature sanctuaries and preserves.

While tracing the fascinating histories of each of these forts, this exhibition acknowledges and celebrates all who are working to keep these ex fort properties as habitat for the full range of our region’s diverse flora and fauna, with humans included at some sites.

As you will discover, the story of the current state of these five coastal forts is a complex one with a mixture of sad, happy and unknown endings. In each and every case, I hope that you enjoy our 2020 Virtual Exhibition!

Pierce Rafferty, Director, HLFM

Fort Mansfield, Napatree Point, R.I

Fort H.G. Wright, Fishers Island, N.Y.

Fort Michie, Great Gull Island, N.Y.

Fort Terry, Plum Island, N.Y.

Fort Tyler, Gardiners Island Point: “The Ruins”

Aerial of structures adjacent to Silver Eel Cove, June 16, 2020.

The five former Fort Wright buildings that have been or are being converted near Silver Eel Cove are on display in this one image. Moving counter clockwise: In left foreground: Building 100, the Ordnance (Creative Work Space); Right center: Building 98 (F.I. Community Center); Center: Building 57, (Private Living/Work Space); Center left: Building 209, 1st floor (Ferry Freight), 2nd Floor (Conversion to Apartments for Year-Round Residents); Left background: Building 1 (with cupola), Lighthouse Works Annex (Artist Studios/Public Space). Note the 3-inch gun emplacement for Battery Hoffman in center foreground, a prime candidate for preservation. Photo courtesy of Matthew Burnham.

Annual Exhibition 2020 Videos

Annual exhibition sponsored by: