San Francisco Bay Area

Camp Alcatraz | Fort Alcatraz | Post at Alcatraz Island | Camp Alert | Camp Allen
Anza Expedition Camp | Camp Barrett | Berkeley Ground School | Black Point Battery
Black Point Fort | Fort Blanco | Camp Downey | Fontana Barracks | Fort Funston
Post at Goat Island | Fort Gunnybags | Half Moon Bay Battery | Half Moon Bay Radar Station
Laguna Merced Res. | Camp Lyon (1) | Fort Mason | Camp Merchant | Camp Merriam (1)
Camp Merritt (1) | Camp Merritt (2) | Milagra Ridge Res. | Fort Miley | Camp Miller (4)
Camp Miramar | Camp Montara | Fort Montgomery | Fort Point | Point Lobos Res.
Point Montara Radar Station | Fort Point San Josť | Post at Point San Josť | San Francisco Post
Presidio of San Francisco | San Francisco Quartermaster Depot | Castillo de San Joaquin
Battery San Josť | Fort Winfield Scott | Camp Sumner | Tennessee Camp | Fort Vigilance
Camp Wright (1) | Battery at Yerba Buena | Camp Yerba Buena Island
Post on Yerba Buena Island | Presidio de Yerba Buena

San Francisco's Cold War AAA Defenses
(NOT INDEXED)

Northern California - page 1 | Central California - page 2
Sonoma-Marin Headlands - page 4 | Southern California I - page 5
Southern California II - page 6

CALIFORNIA STATE MILITARY MUSEUM
THE CALIFORNIA MISSIONS TRAIL
CALIFORNIA MISSION STUDIES ASSOCIATION

Last Update: 05/JUNE/2010
Compiled by Phil and Pete Payette - ©2010 American Forts Network

Berkeley Army Ground School
(1917 - 1919), Berkeley
An Army Ground School at the University of California campus.

Camp Downey
(1861), Emeryville
Training camp for the California Volunteer Infantry, who then went east into Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, preventing the Confederate Army of the West from conquering the western territories. Site overlooked Lake Merritt on Seventh Ave., on a tract now occupied by the town's City Hall and Pixar Studios.

In 1863 another camp located nearby in East Oakland was Camp Merchant (originally Camp Merritt (1)), which served the same purpose for the CA Volunteer Cavalry. Site located near the present-day junction of I-880 and 17th Ave..

Camp Allen
(1860's), Oakland
A Civil War training camp. Undetermined location.

Camp Barrett
(1898), Oakland
A Spanish-American War training camp, located in Fruitvale southeast of Merrill Ave., near the Sather rail station (at High Street and San Leandro Street). State troops transferred to Vancouver Barracks, WA to allow Army Regulars there to be deployed overseas.

San Francisco Post
(1841 - 1846), San Francisco
The British Hudson's Bay Co. operated a trading post at Montgomery Street and Sacramento Street. No remains.

Fort Montgomery
(1846 - 1847), San Francisco
Built by U.S. Marines from the U.S.S. Portsmouth at Clark's Point (Punta Embarcadero), located between present-day Battery, Green, Vallejo, and Front Streets. A blockhouse was built overlooking the fort from the rear. No remains. At nearby Portsmouth Square Park at Washington and Kearny Streets, the American flag was first raised in July 1846.

Fort Gunnybags
(1856), San Francisco
A civilian warehouse, headquarters of the "Committee of Vigilance". It was fortified with sandbags and two cannon. Known officially as Fort Vigilance. Located on Sacramento Street, between Davis and Front Streets. No remains. State marker

Camp Wright (1)
(1861), near San Francisco
A Civil War training and muster camp.

Camp Alert
(1862 - 1865), San Francisco
A CA Cavalry training camp located at the Pioneer Racetrack, between 24th, 25th, Mission, and Folsom Streets, near Bernal Heights.

Camp Lyon (1)
(1861 - 1865), San Francisco
A Civil War training camp located near Hunter's Point.

Camp Merritt (2)
(1898), San Francisco
A Spanish-American War assembly camp and staging center located at an old racetrack (the "Concourse"), between Balboa and Fulton Streets and 1st and 6th Avenues, just south of the Arguello Blvd. gate of the Presidio. This was the primary Port of Embarkation camp for the Philippines Campaign.

Fontana Barracks
(1898), San Francisco
A former packing plant four-story brick warehouse temporarily used for troop barracks. Located at Van Ness Ave. and North Point Street, just south of Aquatic Park. Used as a military warehouse into the 1960's. Original structures demolished, now site of Fontana Apartments.

San Francisco Quartermaster Depot
(1847 - 1964), San Francisco
The Army Quartermaster Depot, once the oldest continuous Federal post in the state, was located in several locations since its inception. Originally located at the former Mexican customs house at Portsmouth Square on Montgomery Street, it was moved in 1849 to Benicia. It was returned to San Francisco in 1852, again in several temporary locations. The QM Depot headquarters was located at 36 New Montgomery Street from 1881 - 1906, then to the Fontana Building at Van Ness Avenue and North Point Street (see above). In 1915 the depot relocated all offices and warehouses to Fort Mason. Between 1962 and 1964, prior to the closing of Fort Mason, all remaining QM functions were transferred to the Oakland Army Base (1941 - 1999).


§ HARBOR DEFENSES of SAN FRANCISCO (partial - see also page 4)
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NPS)
San Francisco Defense Guns in WWII by Brian Chin || Gun Batteries of San Francisco by Chuck Wofford
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco || Harbor Mine Defenses from CA State Military Museum
San Francisco Bay Seacoast Defenses 1776 - 1974 from NPS
Harbor Defense of San Francisco - FORT WIKI

§ Fortress Alcatraz (National Park)
(1853 - 1907/1933), Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz (aka The Rock) is more famous as a prison, but it first served as a fort before the Civil War. It was first known as Camp Alcatraz, Fort Alcatraz (1859), then Post at Alcatraz Island. During the Civil War it was the most heavily fortified post on the west coast, with 85 guns and a garrison of 130 men. The island was ringed with batteries, two caponiers, and a defensible Citadel. Named batteries were (east to west): Battery Prime, Battery McClellan, Battery McPherson, Battery Tower, Battery Stevens, Battery Mansfield, Battery Halleck, and Battery Rosecrans. The bombproof barracks was built in 1864, the lower level of present-day Building 64. Most of the guns were removed after the war. There was only one unnamed harbor defense battery here from 1900 to 1906. A mine storage casemate was built here in 1884. The present lighthouse was built in 1909. The fortress first housed military prisoners in 1868, and later, troublesome Indian leaders. It became Pacific Branch, U.S. Disciplinary Barracks (aka Alcatraz Prison) in 1907. The Cellhouse was completed in 1912 on the foundation of the Citadel. The U.S. Justice Dept. took over the island prison in 1933, and it closed in 1964. The island was taken over by militant Indian activists for 19 months in 1970 - 1971, and several structures were destroyed before the protesters were removed. Fee for ferry access.
See also Fortress Alcatraz by John Martini

§ Camp Yerba Buena Island
(1868 - 1880), Treasure Island
Intended for coastal artillery batteries, but instead used as an Army Engineer Depot and training facility. Also known as Post at Goat Island or Post on Yerba Buena Island. In 1880 it became a Naval Training Facility. The island later became a part of the former Treasure Island Naval Base.

§ Fort Mason (National Park)
(Fort Mason Center)
(1853 - 1946/1966), San Francisco
The Spanish Battery San Josť or Battery at Yerba Buena (five guns) was originally here from 1797 - 1805. The American post was originally named Post at Point San Josť, Fort Point San Josť, or Black Point Fort, until 1882. The Post Commander's House is from 1853. Black Point Battery (1864), a Civil War 12-gun battery was located on the site of the Spanish battery. It was demolished in 1911. The western portion of the battery was restored by the NPS in 1982. Endicott-era batteries here are Battery Burnham (1900 - 1909) built on, and Spanish War Battery (1898 - 1910). A Mine Casemate was built in 1890. Became headquarters of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation through the two world wars. The post was closed beginning in 1962. Became NPS property in 1972, and is now the administrative headquarters for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and for the adjacent San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.

§ Presidio of San Francisco (National Park)
(1776 - 1995), San Francisco
Originally Presidio de Yerba Buena, a 200-yard square adobe-walled post, it was built to protect Mission San Francisco de Asis (aka Mission Dolores) (1776) three miles south (state marker). This was the northernmost Spanish presidio on the West Coast. Damaged in the 1812 earthquake. Rebuilt, but largely in ruins again by 1833, when the Mexicans (since 1822) transferred the main post to Sonoma. A Mexican stone powder magazine (1845) is located at Sheridan Ave. and Anza Street. The Americans took over the mostly abandoned presidio in 1846. The post was again abandoned between 1847 and 1851, but has been continuously occupied since then. The entire military reservation was once called Fort Winfield Scott after 1912 (see below), but since 1938 the eastern portion of the original reservation is now simply called The Presidio. Endicott-era batteries located here are Battery Slaughter (1899 - 1917) mostly buried, Battery Sherwood (1900 - 1917, two guns to Fort Funston), Battery Baldwin (1901 - 1920) partially buried, and Battery Blaney (1907 - 1920). The Officers' Club was built on the adobe ruins of the Spanish Commandant's House, part of the original presidio complex. Supposedly the oldest building in the city, it was "restored" in 1933. Letterman Army General Hospital was built in 1899, named in 1911. Troops from the Presidio helped restore law and order after the 1906 earthquake. Crissy Army Air Field (1919 - 1935, named in 1921) is the most intact early Army airfield west of the Mississippi River. The post was the headquarters of the Western Defense Command in WWII, and later headquarters of the Sixth Army. San Francisco National Cemetery was established in 1884, which incorporated the old post cemetery.

Camp Sumner (1861 - 1865) was located just outside the old Presidio complex to monitor secessionist activities. Spanish-American War (1898) assembly camps include: Camp Miller (4) (aka Tennessee Camp) inside the Presidio complex in Tennessee Hollow, and Camp Merriam (1) (originally the eastern half of Camp Miller (4)), on the hill north of the Lombard Gate (later site of Letterman Hospital parking lot, now Letterman Digital Arts Center). A marker is located at Lincoln and Ruger Streets. Due to overcrowding, most of the troops at Camp Merriam (1) were transferred to Camp Merritt (2). Immediately after the 1906 earthquake, 30 civilian refugee tent camps were established by the military, four of them on post. Refugee Camp One was located on the parade ground of Letterman Hospital. Camp Two was located in Tennessee Hollow at the former Camp Miller (4). Camp Three for Chinese was located on the future grounds of Fort Winfield Scott. Camp Four was located on the post golf course.

§ Fort Point
(Fort Point National Historic Site)
(1853 - 1886/1906, 1942 - 1946), San Francisco
This is the old fort on Fort Point at the Presidio complex, built on the site of the Spanish Castillo de San Joaquin (1793 - 1836), also called Fort Blanco, a horseshoe-shaped 13-gun redoubt with 10-foot thick palisades. Five of the original eight Spanish bronze cannons are on display at the Presidio, and one here. The Spanish fort was razed in 1853. Fort Point was the only American Third System casemated fort built on the West Coast. First garrisoned in 1861, it was called Fort Point until it was renamed Fort Winfield Scott in 1882. Moderately damaged in the 1906 earthquake. After being abandoned, and then used mostly for storage, it was garrisoned again during World War II. AMTB Battery Point (1944 - 1945) and AMTB Battery Gate (1942 - 1945) (all guns from Fort Baker (2)) were located on the parapet (mounts still remain). The name Fort Winfield Scott was later used to refer to the entire military reservation at the Presidio complex (see below) after 1912. The old fort is now again referred to simply as Fort Point. The fort is under a span of the Golden Gate Bridge, built in 1937.

§ Fort Winfield Scott
(1912 - 1950/1995), San Francisco
This was formerly the western portion of the Presidio complex, including Fort Point. Became the Headquarters of the Harbor Defenses of San Francisco in WWII. Earthwork batteries East Battery (five guns) (1876, 1897 - 1915) (still exists) and West Battery (12 guns) (1873) (ruins) are located here. Endicott-era batteries include Dynamite Battery (1894 - 1904), which was converted to the Harbor Entrance Control Post / Harbor Defense Command Post (HECP/HDCP) in 1943, Battery Lancaster (1899 - 1918) mostly buried for the Golden Gate Bridge approach, Battery Godfrey (1895 - 1943), Battery Saffold (1898 - 1943), combined Battery Howe and Battery Wagner (1895 - 1920) mostly buried, combined Battery Stotsenburg and Battery McKinnon (1900 - 1943, four guns to Fort Funston in 1917), Battery Cranston (1897 - 1943) built on, Battery Miller (1899 - 1920), Battery Crosby (1902 - 1943), Battery Chamberlin (1904 - 1918, rearmed with two guns 1920 - 1949) on Baker Beach, Battery Boutelle (1898 - 1918), AMTB Batttery Baker (1943 - 1946) buried, and AMTB Battery Scott (1943 - 1945). A Mine Depot was built in 1910 near East Battery. Mine casemates from 1912 and 1943 were built near Battery Chamberlin. The Coast Artillery School was located here 1946 - 1949. A NIKE missile launch site (SF-89 L) (aka Battery Caulfield) was located here in 1955 - 1963 (missile control site on Mount Sutro).

§ Fort Miley
(1898 - 1948), San Francisco
Located at Lands End and Point Lobos. Known as Point Lobos Military Reservation until 1900. Batteries here are the combined Battery Livingston and Battery Springer (1902 - 1943), Battery Chester (1901 - 1943, one gun removed 1918, replaced by one gun from Fort Baker (2)), Battery 243 (1948 - 1949), Battery Call (1915 - 1921, guns from Fort McDowell) destroyed, AA Battery No. 4 (1925) destroyed, and AMTB Battery Lands End (1943 - 1948) and AMTB Battery Buck (1943 - 1945). Three 40mm AA guns were also here in WWII. The post garrison area of the original fort became a VA Hospital in 1934, still in use. Only one original garrison building still survives (Ordnance Storehouse, 1902), now located near Battery Livingston-Springer in use today as the NPS South District Ranger Office. The two battery areas (East Fort and West Fort) are owned by NPS (Golden Gate NRA). A few fire-control stations still remain. Nearby at Sutro Heights are several more existing fire-control stations, along with AMTB Battery Lobos (1943 - 1945) at Point Lobos.

§ Fort Funston (National Park Service)
(1898 - 1948/1963), San Francisco
Previously known as Laguna Merced Military Reservation until 1917. Batteries here were the prototype 16-inch Battery Davis (1940 - 1948), Battery Howe (1919 - 1945, guns from Fort Winfield Scott) destroyed, Battery Bruff (1919, guns from the Presidio) destroyed, AA Battery No. 5 (1925), a four-gun 155mm battery (1937 - 1942) on 180-degree Panama mounts (destroyed by erosion), and another four-gun 155mm battery on Panama mounts Battery Bluff (1942 - 1945) buried. Four 40mm AA gun batteries were once located throughout the post. Most of the fire-control stations have been removed, but a few still remain. Four 90mm AA guns were located here 1953 - 1957. A NIKE missile launch site (SF-59 L) was here from 1956 to 1963 (now a parking lot) (the control and radar site was located on San Bruno Mountain in San Mateo County). Became part of the Golden Gate NRA in 1975.

§ Milagra Ridge Military Reservation (National Park Service)
(1940's - 1974), Pacifica
Located here is Battery 244 (1946 - 1950). Battery 130 was never built. Two 40mm AA guns were also here. Two fire-control stations still remain. An SCR-296 radar tower was once here. Another fire-control station was located three miles north at Mussel Rock. A NIKE missile launch site (SF-51 L) was located here from 1956 - 1974 (the control and radar site was located on Sweeney Ridge). Site became part of the Golden Gate NRA in 1984.

§ ALSO: additional World War II fire-control stations were once located on Southeast Farallon Island; Pillar Point near Princeton (gone) (later became a USAF satellite receiving station); Little Devil's Slide (still remains); and at Devil's Slide (still remains).
Also under the command umbrella of the San Francisco Harbor Defenses were two two-gun 155mm batteries (1942 - 1945) located at Half Moon Bay (Half Moon Bay State Beach) and Morro Bay (see page 2). A detached 40mm AA battery was located at St. Francis Park in San Francisco. Camp Miramar (1943 - 1944) was an Infantry defense post located at the Palace Miramar Hotel in Miramar.


Cold War AAA Defenses of San Francisco
(1951 - 1959), San Francisco area
Several permanent sites were established for the Army's Anti-Aircraft Artillery (AAA) Gun Site Program, the precursor to the NIKE missile defense program. Four 90mm AA guns and/or four 120mm AA guns were positioned at each site, with troop barracks and other support buildings. Known sites include:
Fort Barry (1953 - 1954) 120mm guns, (1953 - 1957 ?) 90mm guns: on post (SF-88).
Fort Baker (1952 - 1957 ?) 90mm guns: on post (SF-81).
The Presidio (1951 - 1954) 120mm gun battery headquarters only: on post (SF-78 ?).
Fort Winfield Scott (1951 - 1954) 120mm guns: on post (SF-89).
Fort Funston (1953 - 1957 ?) 90mm guns: on post (SF-59 or SF-61).
San Francisco (1956 - 1959) 90mm guns: undetermined.
Alameda (1952 - 1954) 120mm guns, (1952 - 1957 ?) 90mm guns: undetermined.
Berkeley (1953 - 1957 ?) 90mm guns: at Grizzly Peak.

NIKE missile defense sites (1954 - 1974) are beyond the scope of this website.

See also NIKE Missile Sites of the San Francisco Bay Area by Jef Poskanzer


Anza Expedition Camp
(1776), San Mateo
A temporary Spanish campsite on the banks of San Mateo Creek during the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition that founded San Francisco (Yerba Buena).

Point Montara Radar Station
(1943 - 1947), near Montara
A WWII early warning anti-aircraft radar station (SCR-588), one of 65 stations built along the Pacific Coast. Also known as Station J-80. Camp Montara was the barracks area. Located four miles south of town.

Half Moon Bay Radar Station
(1942 - 1951), near Half Moon Bay
A WWII early warning anti-aircraft radar station (SCR-588), one of 65 stations built along the Pacific Coast, and also a VHF Direction Finder station. Also known as Station L-82. In late 1944 or early 1945 a AN/CPS-1 radar was emplaced for air-sea rescue operations. In 1950 a AN/CPS-6 radar was installed (LASHUP Site L-38).
*PHOTOS* from SanMateo.org


Special thanks to Dan Sebby, for information from the California State Military Museum website.

Northern California - page 1 | Central California - page 2 | Sonoma-Marin Headlands - page 4
Southern California I - page 5 | Southern California II - page 6

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