Tag Archives: Fort Washington

Old New York In Photos #24 – Fort Tryon

Fort Tryon Hill As Seen From Fort George Hill

Fort Tryon Hill

The northern area of Manhattan: Washington Heights, Inwood and Fort Tryon were among the last areas of the island to be developed. Much of the area remained somewhat rural until the early 20th century as evidenced in this undated photograph.

The area of Fort George Hill was at the time of the Revolution called Laurel Hill. Upon it the British constructed an extensive fortification called Fort George. The Fort was located at what would today be 192nd Street and Audubon Avenue. The neighborhood that sprung up around this area was given the name of Fort George Hill.

Fort Tryon Hill was one of the last portions of Manhattan to pass from Indian ownership to the possession of the Dutch. The aboriginal owners were the Wickquaskeek corrupted to Wickers Creek Indians.

Fort Tryon Map Showing Land Ownership and Parcels

Fort Tryon Map Showing Land Ownership and Parcels

Fort Tryon was named by the British for Major General William Tryon (1729–1788), the last British governor of colonial New York. Fort Tryon was part of a series of posts running along the Hudson River during the revolutionary war.

Between 1901 and 1904 Cornelius Kingsley Garrison Billings acquired several property lots from many different owners around Fort Tryon Hill. Billings had begun assembling an estate that culminated in a stately mansion being built which was completed in 1907. The mansion can be seen on the right hand side of the photograph. Billings sold the mansion in 1916 to John D. Rockefeller. In 1917 Rockefeller donated the Billings estate and surrounding properties which he had acquired to New York City and the area was turned into Fort Tryon Park. The mansion was destroyed by fire in 1926.