Castle Island is the most mis-named of the place on the list of 1,000 Great Places in Massachusetts. It’s neither a “castle” nor an “island”.
We should forgive the “island” label since it once was an island. Boston has a long historic of filling in the harbor and its rivers to create new livable land areas. That occurred here as South Boston grew bigger and bigger and finally reached the old fort. As far back as 1892 it was were connected to the mainland by a wooden footbridge. This was replaced by an earthen causeway in 1925 and an automobile road in 1932.
In 1634, Governor Dudley selected the spot for the sea defense of Boston Harbor. The first fortification were built in 1644 and consisted of a pine log fort, some earthworks, and three cannons. It eventually earned the nickname of “The Castle”. Since then, it has been rebuilt seven times. The current structure was built in 1851 with granite from the quarries in Rockport, Massachusetts.
In 1798 Massachusetts gave the fort to the United States Government. President John Adams dedicated it as “Fort Independence” in 1799. It was given back in 1962.
The park offers a great view of Boston, Logan Airport, and the harbor islands. If you visit on a summer weekend, you can take a tour of the fort from noon until 3:30.