dark wall with writing at Georges Island

Fort Warren is a location with a very storied history, one that can be easily misinterpreted. It presents itself as an extensive military base, but it actually served many different purposes over its existence.

Legacy of Fort Warren explores many points throughout the spatial and chronological expanses Fort Warren exists in.

Anti Aircraft

Visitors to Georges Island are immediately greeted by two anti-aircraft guns, which are believed to have actually come from Fort Revere. It took a 10 person crew to operate one of these guns. Notably, a shot was never fired on Fort Warren out of anger, nor was Fort Warren ever attacked. Guns and cannons were only ever fired for training and saluting purposes.


This door provided a way to enter and exit the fort without opening the main gate. Not pictured in this photo are the slits in the wall through which guns could be fired. In case of invasion, would-be attackers could attempt to enter through the door only to  be shot at from the right and left walls.


The original design for the bridge over the ditch was supposed to be a drawbridge. The current bridge design dates to approximately WWII.


The hospital was used from the Civil War to 1906. It was converted and served as an ordinance office, library, and Post Exchange during WWI and WWII.


Graffiti was carved into the walls after the fort was decommissioned in 1946. It no longer served any military purpose, and was no longer maintained. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1958 due to its historical significance and recreational value. Graffiti is still a concern in parks today.

Dark Arch

The Dark Arch has served numerous purposes over its lifetime. Originally an open courtyard until it was arched over in the 1870s, it was later used as a drill hall, powder magazine, and gun shed. During WWII, it operated as a recreation hall, movie theater, and a two-lane bowling alley. Today, park rangers use it as a place to tell the story of the Lady in Black, a fictional story written by Edward Rowe Snow to generate interest in the island, which was at the time decommissioned.

Rodman Guns

On the second level, foundations for Rodman guns can be found lining the wall. The maximum number of Rodman guns on Georges Island was 187 in 1867. One gun required a crew of 11-14 men.


The demi-lune was intended to be a place from which to fire at intruders with small firearms. During the Civil War, it housed federal prisoners, such as bounty jumpers or deserters.

Picnic Table

Georges Island now has many public amenities such as fields for recreation, water fountains, and a play structure. Picnic tables allow visitors to take in the view of Boston from the island.

Cold Room

The only natural light in the Cold Room is from the chimney at the top. It was originally designed to hold gunpowder, but was too damp to serve this purpose. 

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