Goroskop Maia 2012
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Buildings
Fort Slocum: Village on an Island

New arrivals and casual visitors to Fort Slocum in its last decades often felt they were on a college campus rather than a military post. The landscape was neat and manicured, and many of the relatively modest brick and wood-frame buildings were clad in ivy. Long Island Sound surrounded the post, and while military etiquette and ceremony were ever-present, there were few weapons for fighting wars in evidence.

 

Terra cotta engaged dwarf column with foliate capital.Building number and construction date above main entrance in center tower, Barracks (Building 55)Officers' Quarters (Building 5; built 1886)Ruins of Building 58, one of the barracks built in the 1930s

 

When Fort Slocum closed in 1965, it contained around 80 buildings. There were other facilities as well: two piers, a seawall, a system of roads and paths, utility enclosures, a monument, a parade ground, an athletic field, tennis courts, wading pools, playgrounds, trailer park and two abandoned fortifications.

 

Sketch map of Fort Slocum in the early 1960s, with building numbers as used during demolition project.

The buildings had been constructed over a span of about 80 years, beginning in 1878 and extending to around 1955. They reflected the post’s varied military missions during this period and also expressed developments in American architecture and culture, as interpreted by Army officers, engineers and architects.

Socially, Fort Slocum could be as intimate as a small village. “Everybody knew everybody,” recalled Pete Fuller, who lived with his parents at Fort Slocum as a teenager in the early 1960s.  The existence and prosperity of this village revolved around a single large multinational employer, the U.S. Army, whose rules and intentions were usually formulated at a distant headquarters, but always lay in the forefront of daily interaction and planning for the future.

This section of the Web site describes Fort Slocum’s buildings, structures and landscape, particularly in the early 1960s, shortly before the post closed and began to go to ruin. The built environment of Fort Slocum sheltered its personnel, dependents and visitors and provided places for them to work and live while at the post.

 

 

 

… it was something about it being out in… [Long Island] Sound. You’d get that mist; you’d get that fog, the foghorn. You could hear the water. It didn’t matter where you were on the island, you could hear the waves. And if it was stormy, you could hear that. And it was magical—because it’s so small, and you’re out in the middle of this water.”
 

—Carla Cain, daughter of Col. Frank Castagneto, Fort Slocum’s commanding officer, 1961-1964

(interviewed 2007)