1873 NYC Artificial Islands: Hoffman and Swinburne

artificial islands-NYC.jpg
Both artificial islands were allegedly created in 1873. Hoffman and Swinburne islands are currently managed by the National Park Service as part of the Staten Island Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area.

Hoffman Island
Hoffman Island is an 11-acre (4.5 ha) artificial island in the Lower New York Bay, off the South Beach of Staten Island, New York City. Created in 1873 upon the Orchard Shoal by the addition of landfill, the island is named for former New York City mayor (1866–1868) and New York Governor (1869–1871) John Thompson Hoffman.


Hoffman Island - Wikipedia

Swinburne Island
Swinburne Island is a 4-acre (1.6 ha) artificial island in the Lower New York Bay, off the South Beach of Staten Island, New York City. It was used for quarantine of immigrants. Swinburne Island is the smaller of two islands near South Beach, the other being Hoffman Island.


Swinburne Island - Wikipedia

Compare to: Fort Sumter Island
Fort Sumter is a sea fort in Charleston, South Carolina. Construction began in 1829, and the structure was still unfinished in 1861, when the Civil War began. Seventy thousand tons of granite were transported from New England to build up a sand bar in the entrance to Charleston Harbor.

It was built on an artificial island made of large blocks of stone: Building Fort Sumter was a long process

Oh, and check this thing out... Ellis island is about 8 miles away from Hoffman and Swinburne.

Ellis Island, NY & NJ
The present-day Ellis Island was created by retreating glaciers at the end of the Wisconsin glaciation about 15,000 years ago. While most of the island is in Jersey City, New Jersey, a small section is an exclave of New York City.
  • The island has a land area of 27.5 acres (11.1 ha), much of which is from land reclamation.
  • The 2.74-acre (1.11 ha) natural island and contiguous areas comprise 3.3 acres (1.3 ha) within New York, and are located on the northern portion of the present-day island.
  • The artificial land is part of New Jersey.
  • The island has been owned and administered by the federal government of the United States since 1808 and operated by the National Park Service since 1965.
    • KD: So, how much of it is artificial, and when was it built?
  • Take a look at the Main Building.
The reason I added Ellis island to our Hoffman and Swinburne ones is this image below. They included it, so did I. Looks like they got Hoffman and Swinburne backwards though.


KD: Well, I could not find anything pertaining to the construction of Hoffman and Swinburne islands. May be you can (docs,photographs, etc...). What do you think, could they create two artifical islands of this size within 1 year back in 1873?

P.S. Should have probably included these two as well. Them 19th century NY people were busy building islands, or so it seems. I doubt there is anything natural in this New York Bay.


Apr 17, 2021
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Almost looks like they were covering up star forts but that's not my expertise.
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  • Right Arm

    Jan 8, 2021
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    I am well suspicious of the area as a whole, lots of forts, Man-hatten Island Holds it's own secrets, I have an older pic of Liberty Island undergoing some construction/renovation and there is more under there( it is in my unnamed screenshot collection which is as vast as it is stupid for me not cataloguing them).

    Quite a lot of stars for a all gathered together here.
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-30-06.jpg

    Find these strain line on the sea bed to be of interest and pointing towards Hoffman Island

    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-27-39.jpg

    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-27-09.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-26-45.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-26-15.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-25-37.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-25-19.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-24-49.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-24-35.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-24-15.jpg
    Screenshot from 2022-04-25 18-23-53.jpg

    Wonder if there are some LIDAR of the sea bed in the area.

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