October 4, 2008

Posts, Batterys, and Defences

Marin Headlands: We were standing on the cliffs below Battery Mendel looking toward Bonita Lighthouse. 2008.Next Copyright G and M, 2008.

Himself: No specifics about the new stuff at work yet, so he dug in to miscellaneous details and had fun. Heat down a bit from 105 to 77 at his work and 91 to 71 in our driveway.

Herself: Swam, worked at Cancer Society beginning Christmas sorting, home to Linguini with garlic sauce and a nice giant artichoke all cooking while I read 2. Barns. I will have several entries upcoming on barns.

Food: Peas for breakfast, a bread and butter lunch, mayo with the artichoke. Heaven and not at all thinning. Using a new fiber for my IBS.

Vacation Day 4: I’m still writing day 4. Then again, I can inch my way through the days since this is my blog I’m writing. Slept in Dan’s sister’s new and very clean double wide, said good bye and headed for the big city by a different windey road. Stopped to photograph the bridge from the Marin County side and discovered the forts and lighthouse.
Barns have been magic things for me this trip. Often I would almost leap out of my seat belt to get a shot of a barn in any condition. “Look, a barn,” was often the Georgette call of the wild on this trip. Frankly, most of the good barns were on G’s side of the car. When we reached the Golden Gate, I was still feeling as if I missed all the good shots.

Battery Spencer looking down and inland.

We were only going to stop a moment, mind you. Him the Army officer, and I the unrepentant Historical Site enthusiast discovered Fort Barry, Fort Cronkhite, and Fort Baker. This time I was often on foot, and I didn’t miss a shot.

Left: Path to Bunker Spencer and Golden Gate Bridge top. Right: Golden Gate Bridge approach.

Fortifications were begun there by the Spanish in 1776, and Early American defenses were designed to lay a barrage down on top of interlopers from three positions. By the Civil War, these “Third System” forts were expanded into massive forts as part of a “permanent” system of defending the country.

Left: Bunker Spencer, and Golden Gate Bridge top. Right: Golden Gate Bridge approach. Right: Main cannon emplacement for Bunker Spencer.

There was a post Civil War drive to improve the Golden Gate defences, but most were not finished. By the late 1800’s there was a revolution in artillery design, the costal defences were modernized using base stations, such as Battery Spencer, tied to a central station. Thirty five batteries were built during this period, and many survive today.

G standing in Officer’s housing. Right: Fireplace in tiny Officer of the Day’s room.

By 1917, the new battleships made the old coastal defenses obsolete. And by the 1930’s, the old open batteries were considered sitting targets. The new casement batteries were defended by ten feet of reinforced concrete and twenty feet of packed earth. Costal batteries were supplemented by mine fields, anti-submarine nets, and anti-motor torpedo boat batteries.

Battery Wallace still looking outward to the sea.

Machine gun emplacements below battery Wallace.

The Cold War brought us Nike missile emplacements. This museum is only open Monday’s.

We traveled through the old Fort Berry core. The Chapel is now the Visitor Center, enlisted housing and officer housing are used as a Hostel, and officer housing is rented out also. The Commandant of Fort Berry would be scandalized by the weeds and grass, but I was so pleased to see this sampling of American History still a useful part of 21st century life.

Excellent reuse of an old Army base, Fort Berry, high on the Marin Headlands.

Under the mountains by tunnel, you come out near the parade grounds of Fort Baker.

The old barracks that ring the Fort Berry Parade Grounds.

Barracks off the Parade Grounds, and Battery Yates on the bay….built in 1905.

The Golden Gate Bridge photographed from the Mine Depot below the bridge.


NPS: Coastal defenses: includes links to all eras of defense

Golden Gate National Park: for answers to your questions

1 comment:

  1. Your photos are wonderful, especially the Marin headlands and looking up into the wonderful trees several days ago. I'm always awed when we manage to capture the light in a way that adds meaning. Thank you.


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Peter in front of a wall sculpture. We were invited up to Peter Knego’s home to see the latest installation.   Abstract flat ...