7. The Base of the Statue of Liberty Is An Old Fort

Constructed between 1807 and 1811, Fort Wood on Liberty Island (then Bedloe’s Island) was in the shape of an eleven-sided star. The pedestal of the Statue of Liberty was constructed within the old fort. The fort itself, along with brick houses next to it, was home to Army families from 1811 to the 1930s. Unlike Governors Island, also an Army base, there weren’t any stores on the island and no cars were allowed but there was a “recreation center with two bowling alleys,” reports The New York Times.

In a more dour part of the history, Bedloe’s Island was also the site of federal executions for several years, with the last taking place in 1860 according to the book, Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build The Statue of Liberty, at which the “infamous pirate, Albert Hicks, was hanged for murdering a captain and two boys on an oyster sloop. Boats crammed against the shore to get a glimpse.” Discover more about the forts of New York City.