Salisbury Beach Base-End Station and 155mm Gun Battery - Location 137 B

B4/2 S4/2 Fort Dearborn

Close-up from the photo below.

circa 1948 photo courtesy of the Abdulla Family of Salisbury Beach

A two and one-half story wooden cottage and three story concrete tower was completed in October 1943 on a leased 0.65 acre site (Site 1A) as a Base-End Station for Fort Dearborn (B4 S4 for Battery 103/Seaman, AAIS OP 3, and a Fire-Control Switchboard room). It was located north of the present-day state park, on a now vanished grassy dune ridge running alongside and in front of the residential strip, between Lots #44 - #50, with the right-of-way going through Lot #44 (as per 1945 map). The design was identical to the stations at Bald Head Cliff and Moody Point, Maine, with a glass-enclosed cupula on the roof apex. After the war, the station was used by the Massachusetts State Police as a local barracks and base for beach patrols. It was destroyed by a coastal storm in April 1958.

GPS for Base-End Station (MY5225) - N 42 50' 44.58383" W 070 48' 59.55653" (NAD 83)
GPS for Sand 1943 Benchmark (MY0181) - N 42 50.737 W 070 48.991 (NAD 83)
(about 100 yards east of the paved street center-line, and 15 feet southeast of the fire-control station site)

Located east of 64 Central Avenue in Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

April 2, 1958 newspaper scans courtesy of Ronald Guilmette

1946 photo courtesy of the Massachusetts State Police Museum and Learning Center

A temporary battery of four 155mm guns, Model 1918M1, serials 818, 953, 220, 1069 (Minneapolis Steel and Machine Co.), on tractor-drawn carriages, Model 1918M1, serials 474, 412, 729, 79 (Minneapolis Steel and Machine Co.), was emplaced on concrete "Panama mounts" at Salisbury Beach State Reservation (Site 1B), completed in May 1942. This battery was under the umbrella of the Boston Harbor Defense Command, and was manned by Battery B, 241st Coast Artillery Regiment (Harbor Defense), Massachusetts National Guard beginning in September 1941. There was no record of the guns here ever being manned by any troops under the Portsmouth Harbor Defense Command. Two of the guns (serials 953, 1069) were removed in September 1943. A barracks, mess hall, HQ building, and latrine were built behind the gun position, located near the present-day bathhouse. A small wooden tower Battery Commander's Station was also built. Two portable searchlight towers were also part of the battery. Other than the Panama mounts, there are no visible remains today of any military structures. There is an admission fee to the state park.

Distinctive Unit Insignia of the 241st Coast Artillery Regiment.

photo courtesy of Gerald Butler, Coast Defense Study Group
A 155mm gun on a "Panama mount" at Salisbury Beach, circa 1944.
The crew is watering down the sand prior to test-firing the gun, to minimize creating a sand dust cloud.

The central hub of one of the two remaining "Panama mounts" (either #1 or #4) at Salisbury Beach.
The other remaining mount could not be located during the 2001 site visit, although it was reported visible in prior years. Mounts #2 and #3 were built about 35 feet from the then-shoreline, forming a convex arc between mounts #1 and #4, and are now probably buried deep beneath the sand near the surf line.

GPS for 155mm Gun Battery - (not determined)

Located at Salisbury Beach State Reservation, Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

Salisbury Beach State Reservation