Monday, October 24, 2016

Seacoast Fortifications of San Francisco: 24 October 2016

The Endicott Era of Military Fortifications (1890-1910)
Seacoast defense was a major concern for the United States from its independence until World War II. Before airplanes, America's enemies could only reach her from the sea, making coastal forts an economical alternative to standing armies or a large navy. After the 1940s, it was recognized that fixed fortifications were obsolete and ineffective against aircraft and missiles. However, in previous eras, foreign fleets were a realistic threat, and substantial fortifications were built at key locations, especially protecting major harbors.

In 1885 US President Grover Cleveland appointed a joint army, navy and civilian board, headed by Secretary of War William C. Endicott, known as the Board of Fortifications. The findings of the board illustrated a grim picture of existing defenses in its 1886 report and recommended a massive $127 million construction program of breech loading cannons, mortars, floating batteries, and submarine mines for some 29 locations on the US coastline.

Prior efforts at harbor defense construction had ceased in 1876. Since that time the design and construction of heavy ordnance advanced rapidly, including the development of superior breechloading and longer-ranged cannon, making the US harbor defenses obsolete. In 1883, the Navy had begun a new construction program with an emphasis on offensive rather than defensive warships. These factors combined to create a need for improved coastal defense systems.

The Endicott Board’s recommendations would lead to a large-scale modernization program of harbor and coastal defenses in the United States. This program would lead to the construction of reinforced concrete fortifications and the installation of large caliber breech-loading artillery and mortar batteries. Endicott period projects were not fortresses, but rather a system of well-dispersed emplacements with only a few large guns in each location. The batteries were usually open-topped concrete walls protected by sloped earthworks. Some of the gun batteries featured disappearing guns, which sat protected behind the concrete walls but could be raised to fire. Underwater mines were a critical component of the defense operation, and smaller guns were employed to protect the mine fields from minesweeping vessels. 

Originally established as a Spanish garrison in 1776, the San Francisco Presidio was in continuous use as a military post from 1776 to 1993. The Presidio was used by the U.S. Army for many activities; it was the staging point for Army personnel for all activities in the Pacific Theater until well past WWII. A National Cemetery at the Presidio contains the final resting place for more than 26,000 military personnel who served in American Wars from 1846 onwards. During the latter part of the 20th Century, it was the Headquarters of the U.S. 6th Army.

In 1991 Congress decided to close the post and most of the land was transferred to the National Park Service. There were 15 gun batteries constructed at the Presidio during the Endicott Era. Many of those gun batteries are still standing; they are mostly deserted and forgotten. This photo gallery includes photos of Battery Boutelle, Battery Godfrey, Battery Crosby and Battery Marcus Miller; four of the fifteen gun batteries which were active at the Presidio.

This is a view from the Presidio; it shows the Marin Headlands and the Golden Gate Bridge. Battery Boutelle and Battery Marcus Miller are also visible but just barelyClick the image to see the full-size photo.
The total distance traveled during the ramble was approximately 2.4 miles. Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. Click the image to see the full-size map.
This view shows both Battery Boutelle and Battery Marcus Miller. Battery Boutelle is closest to the camera, and Battery Marcus Miller is near the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Battery Marcus Miller: Construction of Battery Marcus Miller began in 1891. The battery was commissioned for operation in 1898 after three disappearing 10-inch guns were mounted. The guns had a range of seven miles. The Battery was deactivated in 1918. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
view of the No. 3 gun emplacement at Battery Marcus Miller. These soldiers were assigned to operate this 10-inch disappearing gun. Photograph circa 1910. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Marcus Miller ThenA test firing of the 10-inch disappearing gun at gun emplacement No. 3. Photograph circa 1910. Click the image to see the full-size photo.


Battery Marcus Miller Now:  A 10-inch disappearing gun emplacement at Battery Marcus MillerClick the image to see the full-size photograph.

Battery Boutelle. This gun emplacement had three 5-inch guns; it became operational in 1901. The Battery was de-commissioned in 1918. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.

The remains of the Pedestal Mount at Gun Emplacement No. 3 at Battery BoutelleClick the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Godfrey Then: In 1892 construction began at the Presidio to build Battery Godfrey. The construction crews built reinforced concrete emplacements to mount three 12-inch guns. The work was completed in 1896, and Battery Godfrey was the first Endicott Era battery to be operational in defense of San Francisco Bay. Three Model 1888 breech-loading guns, manufactured at Watervliet Arsenal were installed and were operational from 1896 to 1943 when Battery Godfrey was decommissioned. This photo was taken at Battery Godfrey circa 1910; it shows soldiers at the No. 2 gun emplacement. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Battery Godfrey Now: Click the image to see the full-size photograph.

This photo was taken at  Battery Godfrey circa 1910. It shows soldiers loading a 700 pound round into the breech of a 12-inch gunClick the image to see the full-size photograph.

Battery Godfrey as seen in 1938: Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Godfrey Now: Presidio Building No.1648 is visible in the rear. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Battery Godfrey's Commander's Observation Post. The view is looking South. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.


The Commander's Observation Post is visible. The Gun Plotting Room is behind the observation post. The view is looking NorthClick the image to see the full-size photo.

Baker Beach with the Sea Cliff neighborhood of San Francisco beyond the beach. Lands End is visible in the rear. The view is looking West. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Battery Crosby. This gun emplacement became operational in 1900; it was de-commissioned in 1943. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Crosby ThenThe picture was taken in 1938. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.

Battery CrosbyClick the image to see the full-size photograph.
Leaving Battery Crosby. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Marshall Beach is visible. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” -Dorothea Lange


The first San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view the 2002 to 2011 photo galleries.

Panasonic GX7 camera body mounted with a wide-angle Olympus 9mm lens was used to take these photographs.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

From Sausalito, over the Golden Gate Bridge to the U.S. Army gun batteries at the Presidio: 12 October 2016

Presidio Building 1648 is a nondescript single-story cinder block building; a relic from the Cold War. Building 1648 was the catalyst for this ramble. 

Carl Nolte, a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, recently wrote an article about this building, and according to Mr. Nolte, the building was a top-secret military site. Presidio Building 1648 was the U.S. Army headquarters for the twelve Nike Missile launching sites located in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area. The twelve Bay Area missile sites were but a small part of the more than 300 Nike Missile sites located throughout the United States. These missile sites were built to defend the country in case of an attack by Soviet bombers. The Nike missile sites were decommissioned in the late 1960s and early 1970s because their functional ability became obsolete. The Golden Gate National Recreation Area authorities are planning to demolish Presidio Building 1648 within the next few months, and that short-term time frame made me decide to view the building before it became history. 

The M.S. Marin, a Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District ferry took us from San Francisco's Ferry Building to Sausalito. After arriving in Sausalito, I began the walk. I rambled from Sausalito through the site of Fort Baker, then over the Golden Gate Bridge and into that part of the Presidio adjacent to the southern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge. I quickly located Presidio Building 1648. After an exploration of the area, I took a Muni #28 bus from the Presidio to the Marina District where I stopped at Le Marais Bakery for a croissant. After which I hopped on a Muni #30 bus for the ride to downtown San Francisco, the conclusion of this ramble.

 Traveling to Sausalito on the M.S. Marin. The view is looking SouthClick the image to see the full-size photograph.
This is the route that the ferry took from San Francisco to Sausalito. The distance traveled was approximately 7.4 miles. Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. Click the image to see the full-size map.
Passengers boarding the M.S. Marin in San Francisco. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of San Francisco. The western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge is visible on the left, and the southern portion of the Golden Gate Bridge is visible on the right. The view is looking South. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
The fog was a delight to behold. It was poetry in motion; always changing and ever moving. The Golden Gate Bridge is straight ahead, hidden behind that low-level fog bank. The view is looking West. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Angel Island is ahead. The ferry is preparing to dock at Sausalito. The view is looking East. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
The total distance traveled during the ramble was approximately 11.8 miles. Of that, about 5.6 miles were walking miles, and 6.2 miles were on the San Francisco public transit system. Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. Click the image to see the full-size map.
A view of Gabrielson Park. The park is adjacent to the Sausalito ferry dock. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
In Sausalito on Bridgeway Road, adjacent to Richardson Bay. The view is looking West. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Scoma's Restaurant on Richardson Bay. The view is looking South. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
The Trident Restaurant was opened in 1966 and was formerly owned by the Kingston Trio. The view is looking north. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
This photo of the Golden Gate Bridge was snapped at Horseshoe Cove which is a part of Fort Baker. The view is looking Southwest. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Coast Guard Station No. 323 is located on the site of Fort Baker. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
This underground bunker was a part of the World War II Harbor Defenses program. This is a photo of Bunker 411, which is located at Fort Baker. Bunker 411 was the storage location for granulated dynamite. The dynamite was used to refresh the 600 underwater mines located just outside the Golden Gate. Why was the dynamite granulated? The dynamite granules were poured into the mines after the underwater mines were taken out of the water to be examined and recharged. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of the northern terminus of the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco is visible in the distance. The view is looking South. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
This picture was taken from the Golden Gate Bridge. Fort Baker and Horseshoe Cove are visible. Angel Island can be seen in the distance. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
This is the northern tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. The two towers of the bridge are each 746 feet tall (226 meters). Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Walking towards San Francisco. The southern tower of the bridge is visible in the fog. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
This is a view of the northern portion of the Golden Gate Bridge. Click the image to see the full-size photo.

This is Presidio Building 1648. The view is looking South. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.


Here is another view of Presidio Building 1648. The view is looking West. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
This is Battery Godfrey, it became operational in 1896 and was decommissioned in 1942. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
A view of a warhead transportation room at Battery Godfrey  Click the image to see the full-size photo.
Here is another view of Battery Godfrey, the view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
Battery Marcus Miller is visible. This Gun Battery became operational in 1898 and was decommissioned in 1920. The view is looking North. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” -Dorothea Lange


My first San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that I posted between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view the 2002 to 2011 photo galleries.

I used a Panasonic GX7 camera body mounted with a wide-angle Olympus 9mm lens to take these photographs.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

A West Berkeley ramble: 9 October 2016

The below photographs were taken with an iPhone 5 SE. The pictures were saved in the RAW image format. This capability became possible when Apple recently enabled newer iPhone cameras to save photo images in the RAW format. I used ProCam to process the photo images. ProCam is an app that takes advantage of the newly available RAW processing ability. Ok, that said, here are six RAW snaps I took in West Berkeley. The images were processed in Adobe Photoshop CS6.



This structure was a part of the California Ink Company. The building has been undergoing renovation for the last 4-5 years. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
These storage containers are a part of the Berkeley Asphalt Company. Click the image to see the full-size photo.
This cement manufacturing facility is located between 6th Street and 5th Street. It is owned by the Cemex Concrete CompanyClick the image to see the full-size photograph.
This building was one of the 20+ buildings that were a part of the California Ink Company, which was in business between 1906 and 1978. The building has been renovated and is currently occupiedClick the image to see the full-size photo.
This is Picante Restauranteit is located on 6th Street. Click the image to see the full-size photograph.
There was a huge pile of dirt sitting at this location for the last 9-10 years. This 31-acre plot of land is now a part of McLaughin Eastshore State ParkClick the image to see the full-size photo.

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” -Dorothea Lange


My first San Francisco Bay Area Photoblog contains galleries of photographs that I posted between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view the 2002 to 2011 photo galleries.