Sonoma - Marin Headlands

Post at Angel Island | Angel Island Res. | Fort Baker (2) | Fort Barry | Camp Bartlett
Blunt Point Camp | Fort Cronkhite | Drake's Fort | Drake's Bay Battery | Camp Hydle
Jenner Radar Station | Fort at Lime Point | Lime Point Res. | Fort McDowell
Molate Island Res. | Camp Murphy's Ranch | Mt. Tamalpais Radar Station
Olema Radar Station | Camp Orton | Red Rock Island Res. | Camp Reynolds | Fort Ross
Fort Rossiya | San Rafael Camp | Camp at Santa Rosa | Santa Rosa Post | Camp Schofield
Camp Sebastopol | Sonoma Barracks | Camp Sonoma | Post of Sonoma
Presidio of Sonoma | Tennessee Point Res. | Two Rock Ranch Station

Northern California - page 1 | Central California - page 2
San Francisco Bay Area - page 3 | Southern California I - page 5
Southern California II - page 6



Last Update: 21/OCTOBER/2019
Compiled by Phil and Pete Payette - 2019 American Forts Network

Fort Ross (State Historic Park)
(Fort Ross Interpretive Association)
(1812 - 1841), near Jenner
Originally called Fort Rossiya (Russia). The Russian-American Company claimed the entire northern coast of California (aka New Albion), and hoped to use this base for producing farmstuffs for RAC posts in Alaska. The post was laid out in a rectangle (276 feet by 312 feet) enclosed by a 14-foot high redwood log stockade, and guarded by two two-story blockhouses at opposite corners (a 7-sided one and an 8-sided one). There were 59 buildings. By 1840 with the sea otter trade almost dead, and with increasing pressure from Mexico and the United States, and to a lesser extant Great Britain, the Russians were forced to sell out. In 1841 John Sutter purchased from the Russians almost everything for $30,000 in gold and produce. By 1844 he had dismantled most of the buildings, and took all the animals, weapons, and equipment left behind for his new fort at Sacramento (see Sutter's Fort on page 2). The area became part of a large ranch operation after 1845. Several of the remaining buildings were damaged in the 1906 earthquake, including the original chapel (1828). Rebuilt in 1917, but extensively restored in 1955-57, including the blockhouses and stockade. Admission fee. State marker || CA State Military Museum entry
See also History of Russian Settlement at Fort Ross from Sonoma County Parks and Recreation
See also Fort Ross Archaeological Project from UC-Berkeley

Jenner Radar Station
(1942 - 1944), near Jenner
A WWII early warning anti-aircraft radar station (SCR-516/SCR-270/SCR-271), one of 65 stations built along the Pacific Coast. Also known as Station J-76. It was no longer in operation after July 1944.

Camp Bartlett
(1887), Healdsburg
A CA National Guard summer camp.

Camp Sebastopol
(1942 - 1944), near Sebastopol
A coastal defense shore patrol base camp, garrisoned by Troop F, 107th Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized), located at a former C.C.C. camp on the Bodega Highway (CA 12) at the eastern foot of O'Farrell Hill, about 11 miles west of town.

Camp at Santa Rosa
(1884, 1886), Santa Rosa
A CA National Guard summer camp.

Camp Orton was the CA National Guard summer camp in 1889.

Santa Rosa Post
(1942 - 1944), Santa Rosa
A coastal defense shore patrol base camp, garrisoned by HQ and HQ Train, and Service Train, 107th Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized). Also located in the city was Headquarters, San Francisco Sub-Sector, Northern California Sector, Western Defense Command, at the old Elks Building.

Two Rock Ranch Station
(1942 - 1944/1971/present), Two Rock Ranch
A coastal defense shore patrol base camp, garrisoned by HQ and HQ Troop 2nd Squadron, Troop C (less three platoons) and Troop E, 107th Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized). Outpost camps were located at Bolinas (one platoon Troop C), Point Reyes (Camp Hydle) (one platoon Troop C), and Dillon Beach (one platoon Troop C). An Army Signal Corps radio intercept/monitoring station was also located here (1942 - 1971), which became Coast Guard Training Center, Petaluma (1971 - present).

Presidio of Sonoma
(Sonoma State Historic Park)
(1836 - 1852), Sonoma
The Mission San Francisco Solano (1823) was the last one established by the Franciscans in Alta California (state marker). The Mexican Army took control of the mission in 1836 and fortified the compound in an effort to thwart Russian and American traders from the northern coast. This was the northernmost limit of Mexican control. The compound was captured by independent Californians in June 1846, the start of the "Bear Flag Revolt". The U.S. Army gained control in July 1846. It was renamed Sonoma Barracks in 1847. Used by the U.S. Army until 1852. Located at Spain Street East and 1st Street East. State marker
See also The Bear Flag Monument

Camp Sonoma was established by the U.S. Army nearby within town (1847 - 1851, intermittent), followed by Post of Sonoma (1852 - 1858). U.S. Army of the Pacific headquarters was located for a time at the Leese-Fritch House at 490 1st Street West. The Ray House (aka Adler Adobe) at 209 Spain Street East was also used as Officer housing, notably by then Lt. William T. Sherman.

Drake's Fort
(Point Reyes National Seashore)
(1579), Point Reyes
English privateer Francis Drake landed at Drake's Estero in order to make repairs to his ship, the Golden Hind. A short-lived (five weeks) crude fortification was built where he laid claim to the land for England (Nova Albion - New England).
Although a few historians claim other locations for Drake's landing (including one site in Oregon), most agree on this spot, although no particular site has been proven archaeologically.

Camp Hydle
(Point Reyes National Seashore)
(1941 - 1945), near Olema
A two-gun mobile 155mm battery (1941 - 1945) (in sand-bag revetments), manned by Battery A, 56th Coast Artillery Regiment under the command of the Harbor Defenses of San Francisco, was located one-half mile east of Limantour Beach at Drake's Bay. Originally named Camp Murphy's Ranch when established in December 1941. Also posted here or nearby was a detachment of Battery C, 74th Field Artillery Battalion, and a platoon of Troop C, 107th Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized).

Olema Radar Station
(Point Reyes National Seashore)
(1942 - 1947), near Olema
A WWII early warning anti-aircraft radar station (SCR-516/SCR-588), one of 65 stations built along the Pacific Coast. Also known as Station J-77. No remains (?). Site on the western slope of Mount Wittenburg (el. 1407 feet).

Camp Schofield
(1883), Fairfax
A temporary Federal cavalry encampment (August-October).

San Rafael Camp
(1942 - 1944), San Rafael
A coastal defense shore patrol base camp, garrisoned by the 74th Field Artillery Battalion (less Battery A), and possibly by elements of the 107th Cavalry Regiment (Mechanized). Located two miles east of town at the Marin Country Club golf course. Outpost camps were located at Dillon Beach (one detachment Battery B, 74th FA), and Point Reyes (one detachment Battery C, 74th FA).

Mt. Tamalpais Radar Station
(Mt. Tamalpais State Park)
(1942 - 1947), near Mill Valley
A WWII early warning anti-aircraft radar station (SCR-270), one of 65 stations built along the Pacific Coast. Also known as Station B-78.

Site later became part of Mill Valley Air Force Station (1950 - 1981), the location of several air defense radar systems (SF-90 DC), and currently an FAA radar facility.

HARBOR DEFENSES of SAN FRANCISCO (partial - see also page 3)
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

Fort Cronkhite (National Park Service)
(1937 - 1948/1975), near Sausalito
Located at Tennessee Point, north of Rodeo Cove. Originally called Tennessee Point Military Reservation. Batteries were Battery Townsley (1940 - 1948) on Wolf Ridge, an unnamed training battery (1940's), AA Battery No. 1 (1940), and a 1930's 155mm gun battery. Several fire-control stations still remain, including Elk Valley and Wolf Ridge. The Commando Combat School was established here in 1944. A NIKE missile launch site (SF-87) was located here from 1955 to 1971. The control and radar site for SF-88 (Fort Barry) (see below) was located here on Wolf Ridge (SF-88 C). Several organizations are now located here, including the California Marine Mammal Center, the Headlands Institute, and the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory, among others.

Fort Barry (National Park Service)
(1904 - 1948/1975), near Sausalito
Located at Point Bonita. Originally the western portion of Fort Baker (2) (see below), named in 1905. Batteries here are Battery 129 (1944, never completed) on Hawk Hill, Battery Alexander (1903 - 1943), Battery Mendell (1901 - 1943), Battery Wallace (1921 - 1948, casemated 1943), combined Battery Guthrie and Battery Smith (1904 - 1946), combined Battery Rathbone and Battery McIndoe (1905 - 1946), Battery O'Rorke (1904 - 1945), AA Battery No. 2 (1920), AMTB Battery Point Bonita (1940's), and AMTB Battery Point Diablo (1940's). A Mine casemate was built here in 1908, bombproofed in 1941. Several fire-control stations still remain. A Balloon Hangar (1921) still exists. Also located here is the fully restored NIKE missile launch site (SF-88 L) (1955 - 1974). A four-gun 120mm AA battery was located here in 1953 - 1954, and a four-gun 90mm AA battery was also located here in 1953 - 1957. The Marin Headlands Visitor Center is located in the old Fort Barry Chapel. The tunnel connecting Forts Barry and Baker was originally built in 1917, enlarged in 1937. Located here is the Headlands Center for the Arts.
See also Kite Aerial Photography of Marin Headlands by Charles Benton

Fort Baker (2) (National Park Service)
(1850/1866 - 1948/2002), Sausalito
Located at Lime Point. Part of NPS Golden Gate NRA. Originally called Lime Point Military Reservation until 1897. Fort at Lime Point was a Third System work planned but never built, as the government never obtained clear title to the land for 16 years. In 1872-73 earthworks Battery Cliff (two guns, never armed) (no remains), Battery Ridge (four guns, armed only 1893 - 1909) (still exists), Battery Cavallo (17 guns, armed only with three guns 1900 - 1910) (still exists), and Battery Gravelly Beach (12 guns, armed only with one gun 1873 - 1898) were built. In 1904 the original reservation was split, the western portion becoming Fort Barry (see above). Most of the post garrison buildings were built between 1902 and 1907. Coast defense batteries here are Battery Spencer (1897 - 1943, one gun to Fort Miley in 1918) (built over old Battery Cliff), Battery Kirby (1900 - 1941, one gun removed 1920's) (built over old Battery Gravelly Beach), Battery Duncan (1899 - 1918), Battery Wagner (1901 - 1917), Battery Yates (1904 - 1942, two guns to Fort Point, two guns to Battery Kirby Beach), and AMTB Battery Kirby Beach (1942, both guns to Fort Point) which was converted into AMTB Battery Gravelly (1943 - 1946). Several AA guns were here in WWII. Several fire-control stations still remain here, along with the WWII mine complex and wharf. The Golden Gate Bridge and approach roads were built in 1937. The post became HQ 6th Region ARADCOM from 1951 - 1974, and was headquarters for several NIKE missile battalions (SF-81). A 90mm AA battery may have been located here in 1952 - 1957. Much of the reservation was transferred to the NPS in 1986, the last parcel (main post) in 2002. Located here is the Bay Area Discovery Museum (since 1991), and the Travis Sailing Center, a military recreation center. The Golden Gate Coast Guard Station moved here at Horseshoe Cove in 1991 from Fort Winfield Scott.

Fort McDowell
(Angel Island State Park)
(Angle Island Association)
(1850/1863 - 1946, 1954 - 1962), Angel Island
The Angel Island Military Reservation was originally reserved by the U.S. Army in 1850. Camp Reynolds was the first post built, located on the western side of Angel Island from 1863 - 1866. Blunt Point Camp (1863 - 1865) was established on the southern side, and four earthwork batteries were constructed in 1863-64: Point Stuart Battery (three guns), Point Knox Battery (ten guns), Point Blunt Battery (five guns, never emplaced), and a Water Battery (five guns intended for Point Blunt) at the main post. These batteries were abandoned about 1869. No remains. The garrison was officially designated Post at Angel Island in 1866. Between 1898 - 1902 three new Endicott batteries were constructed on the west side of the island: Battery Drew (1898 - 1918), Battery Ledyard (1900 - 1916, guns to Fort Miley), and Battery Wallace (1900 - 1917). A Mine casemate was built on Mortar Hill in 1891. A Detention Camp and a Discharge Camp for soldiers returning from the Philippine Insurrection were constructed on the east side of the island in 1900, and the entire island then became known as Fort McDowell. The Army constructed a new and larger post on the east side of the island in 1910-12, which became known as the East Garrison. The former Camp Reynolds area then became known as the West Garrison. The Marine Hospital Service erected a Quarantine Station (1891 - 1946) on the north end of the island, and the U.S. Immigration Service built an Immigration Station (1910 - 1940, sometimes known as the "Ellis Island of the West", on the northeast side. Fort McDowell was used as a Recruit Depot during World War I. Following the departure of the Immigration Service in 1940, the former Immigration Station became the North Garrison of Fort McDowell. It was a Processing Center for Japanese and German POW's during WWII. During the war Fort McDowell functioned as a staging area and Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot, part of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, with over 300,000 troops passing through on their way to the Pacific. Three AMTB batteries were planned (but deferred) for the island in 1942: Battery Blunt (90mm) on Point Blunt, Battery Knox (40mm) on Point Knox west of Battery Ledyard, and Battery Cove (40mm) on Point Ione just west of Hospital (Ayala) Cove. After the war Fort McDowell was a major point of return for American soldiers coming back from the Pacific. The Army abandoned Fort McDowell in 1946. In 1954 part of Angel Island became a state park, and part (near Point Blunt) became a NIKE missile launch site (SF-91) (1955 - 1961). The Army left again in 1962, and in 1963 this area was razed before becoming part of the state park. The entire island is open to the public, and tours are provided. At one time Angel Island had three lighthouses. The first lighthouse was built in 1886 at Point Knox (razed in 1963). A second light was built in 1915 at Point Stuart. The third light was built in 1960 at Point Blunt, which is today the only remaining Coast Guard property, located at the south end of the island. There are many unrestored buildings at the East and West Garrisons and at the Immigration Station. Two Civil War-era buildings have been restored for public tours: Officers' Quarters #11, originally built on Yerba Buena Island in 1869 and barged to Angel Island in 1881; and an Army Bake House built in 1863. Both were restored in 1984.
(Special thanks to John Soennichsen, Historian, Angel Island Association, for providing information.)

Molate Island Military Reservation
(1858 - 1923), Red Rock Island
A small 5.8-acre rocky island located at the intersection of San Francisco, Marin, and Contra Costa Counties, about one-half mile south of the midpoint of the Richmond - San Rafael Bridge (I-580) between San Quentin and Richmond. Also known as Red Rock Island Military Reservation. A coastal defense battery was planned but never built. A light station was built on the southern end of the island in 1917.

ALSO: additional WWII fire-control stations for the northern San Francisco coastal defenses were located at Frank Valley Military Reservation at Muir Beach Overlook (some dismantled by NPS); Hill 640 Military Reservation near Stinson State Beach (still remains); Bolinas Military Reservation near Bolinas Point (three still remain); and at Wildcat Military Reservation (Point Reyes National Seashore) about six miles southwest of Olema (gone). An SCR-682 radar station was located at the Point Reyes Lighthouse Station. A detached 40mm AA battery was located at Sausalito Point in Sausalito.

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

Northern California - page 1 | Central California - page 2 | San Francisco Bay Area - page 3
Southern California I - page 5 | Southern California II - page 6

QUESTIONS ? Please send any corrections and/or additions to this list to:
"Updates" at