Goroskop Maia 2012
Docks and Boats

Fort Slocum’s principal piers were located in the Quartermaster Area. The two piers, the Passenger Dock and the Freight Pier (also called the Coal Dock) were about 400 feet apart on the southwestern shoreline of Davids Island. Together they served as the principal entrance to the post from around 1880 until it closed in 1965.

Even before the Army arrived on Davids Island during the Civil War, there was a pier large enough to handle the sidewheel steamers that brought excursionists up from New York and Brooklyn. This pier was the direct predecessor of Fort Slocum’s Passenger Dock, and it stood about where that later dock was located.


Docks and Boats

01-Aerial 1950s CrssBrwn_1966 docks-crop

Aerial view of the Freight Pier (upper) and Passenger Dock (lower) on the shore of Fort Slocum's Quartermaster Area, looking north, late 1950s.

02-Fort Slocum Ferry Dock circa 1963

Arriving at the Freight Pier, as seen from one of Fort Slocum's ferries, looking northeast, ca. 1963.

03-Pass_Dock c1893 NA-RG92

Passenger Dock with boathouse (left) and baggage room (right), which were removed in 1938. The Hamilton, an Army tugboat, is moored to the pier. View southeast, ca. 1893.

04-Pass_Dock Col Barnett 1930s postcard

Passenger Dock in the mid-1930s, looking northeast. The Col. Barnett, a passenger-freight steamer, is tied up at the end of the pier.

05-Coal_Dock NA-RG92-F-19-15

From 1893 until 1932, a wood trestle for unloading coal barges dominated the Freight Pier, also called the Coal Dock. View to northeast, ca. 1893.

06-Freight_Dock CoalConvey 1932 NA-RG77

Freight Pier after replacement of coal trestle with enclosed conveyor belt, looking southwest, August 1932. Two coal barges are moored at the end of the pier.

07-Tug Hamilton 1890s

The Quartermaster Corps operated many different vessels to and from Davids Island over the century it was an Army post. The tugboat Hamilton was one. It was active fom 1878 until ca. 1900 (collection of the New York Historical Society, Stonebridge Photo Collection, PR 066 282).

08-Steamer General Barry c1910

The Gen. Barry, a passenger-freight steamer, active at Fort Slocum in the early 20th century.

09-PC-FS-6 Stmr Gen DS Stanley c1910cm

The Gen. D.S. Stanley, a passenger-freight steamer, active at Fort Slocum in the early 20th century.

10-Pass_Dock GGBain LC Recruits Boarding c1918

Recruits on the Passenger Dock crossing the Gen. D.S. Stanley to board a larger unidentified steamer, ca. 1918 (Library of Congress, Prints & Photos Div, GG Bain digital collection).

11-Stearmer Col Barnett 1930s

The passenger-freight steamer Col. Barnett, active at Fort Slocum in the 1930s.

12-PC-FS-77 Launch Q_11 c 1940

The launch Q-11, active at Fort Slocum primarily as a night ferry in ca. 1938-1941.

13-Lighter Maj Normoyle c1944

The steam lighter Maj. James E. Normoyle (active in New York Harbor 1920s-1940s), ca. 1944.

14-Lighter MGen HL_Rogers c1940

The Maj. Gen. H.L. Rogers, a powered lighter, loaded with soldiers outbound from Fort Slocum, ca. 1940.

15-Launch J_132 c1941

The motor launch J 132, active at Fort Slocum in 1941.

16-Ferry BSP_1776 c1960

BSP 1773, a self-propelled barge, active at Fort Slocum from the 1940s to the 1960s.

17-Ferry FB_900 c 1960

The ferryboat FB 900 in about 1960, soon after it was put into service at the post.

18-Freight Pier-Crane 4

Ruins of the Freight Pier (demolished 2007), looking north, September 2005.

19-Freight Pier-Crane 5

Ruins of the Freight Pier, looking west, September 2005.


Remains of the coal hoist at the end of the Freight Pier, looking south, September 2005.

21-Passenger Pier 1

Ruins of the Passenger Dock (demolished 2007), looking southeast, September 2005.

22-Passenger Pier 4

Ruins of the Passenger Dock (demolished 2007), looking southwest, September 2005.

The Army maintained regular ferry services to connect Fort Slocum with New Rochelle and the greater New York City area. A ferry ran frequently between Davids Island and Neptune Dock on the New Rochelle mainland. The ferry route was about two-thirds of a mile in length, and the trip took around 10 minutes.

During some periods of the post’s history, there was also a regular, several-times-weekly freight and passenger steamer service from an Army pier in Lower Manhattan. This was a trip of around 23 miles that typically lasted two to four hours, depending on the vessel and tide.

Aside from freight and personnel brought to the island by the regular ferries and steamers, bulk deliveries of cargo like coal and building materials often came by barge, and special runs of large and small passenger boats moved troops, dependents, and special visitors as circumstances demanded.

Although Fort Slocum’s main docks were located in the Quartermaster Area, at some periods, there were piers along the shorelines of some of the other functional areas. These supported specific construction projects or were used for recreation, and were not in service as long as the docks of the Quartermaster Area. None was still extant by the time architectural historians began documenting Fort Slocum.