At Dyckman Street The IRT emerges from, and enters, a tunnel under High Bridge Park inscribed with the title “Fort George” and the dates 1776 and 1905. Fort George, originally Fort Clinton, was built by US patriots at about where George Washington High School stands at Audubon Avenue and West 192nd Street. Though the British eventually captured the fort, Colonel William Baxter and his Bucks County Pennsylvania militia were able to hold off British general William Howe’s troops long enough for Washington’s troops to escape to New Jersey (much of the Revolutionary War in 1776 in the NYC area consisted of Washington escaping to fight again).
In 1895, entrepreneur Joseph Schenck and his partner, Marcus Loew (later founder of a movie theater chain) opened the Fort George Amusement Park at the end of the old 3rd Avenue trolley line on the old fort site:
During its heyday this Gotham wonderland would boast two Ferris wheels, three roller coasters, nine saloons, a pony track, several hotels, a casino, five shooting galleries, a tunnel boat ride, two music halls called the Star and the Trocadero, fortune tellers and more frankfurters, peanuts and pretzels than you can imagine. My Inwood, which features plenty of photos and postcards of the park
However, as “civilization” crept north to Inwood, the park’s noise became increasingly distasteful and the park came under attack from arsonists, who unsuccessfully tried to burn down the park in 1911, but succeeded two years later. By then Schenck and Loew had sold their interests and went on to the motion picture industry. The site then became part of High Bridge Park.
The “1905″ date on the tunnel wall simply refers to the date of construction: the NYC subway, that had begun construction in 1900, arrived in Inwood that year. (Compare the extended length of time it’s taking to extend the #7 Flushing Line one stop and the BMT 3 stops on 2nd Avenue.) The Dyckman Street station opened March 16, 1906.
Much more in Inwood on this FNY page.