Viewing page 22 of 72

[[Image: two-tone image as a background to the following text, the image of (line drawing of?) a piece of land seen from the air, showing buildings, street, vegetation]]

Just as Governors Island played an important part in the early history of our country so did it enter into the early growth of aviation.

Originally known as Nutten Island by the Dutch, its present name came into being when, under English rule, an edict was published setting the Island aside "for the benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's Governors for the time being."

During the Revolutionary War, Yankee artillery on Governors Island prevented the English from trapping Washington's Army by covering the movement of American reinforcements past the British fleet. The reputation of the powerful artillery mounted on the Island before the War of 1812 so impressed the English during the War that they made no attempt to capture New York City.

Too far North to engage in active combat in the War between the States, Governors Island served as an Army recruiting agency, an assembly point for out-of-state Militia organizations on their way South and a major prison camp for captured Confederate soldiers.

Upon our entry in World War I, Governors Island became an embarkation point for troops and a supply base. In 1938 it was designated as headquarters for the First Army.

During World War II a vast Army administrative organization and an induction center were set up on the Island. The latter took the place of numerous smaller units which has been scattered throughout New York.

At present, Governors Island continues as headquarters for the First Army.

The aviation history of Governors Island may be said to stem from an activity begun in 1902. At that time a reclamation program was started which added 103 acres of new land. It was from this extension that Wilbur Wright made the first flight from the Island around the Statue of Liberty on September 29, 1909. On May 29, 1910, Glenn Curtiss landed on the Island to complete his flight from Albany, New York, and win a $10,000 prize
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact