Fort Worden

Our visit to Fort Worden began late in the day and we made sure to visit the Guardhouse and both museums before they closed. The Coast Artillery Museum has terrific displays and models of Fort Worden gun batteries and memorabilia. The Commanding Officers Quarters Museum is furnished with period 1910 furniture and accessories and is well worth the small fee. Make sure to pick up a copy of the “Fort Worden Guide” at the Coast Artillery Museum as it provides excellent information regarding the fort and its history.

Battery Kinzie

Battery Kinzie

After visiting the museums, we drove toward the Point Wilson lighthouse and began our tour of the 12 Endicott Period gun batteries on Fort Worden. None of the 12 concrete batteries have any guns or carriages in place. At beach level we first encountered Battery Vicars, a relatively small battery that mounted two 5″ guns, and Battery Kinzie, a large battery that mounted two 12″ guns. We drove from these two lower batteries to Battery Putnam and Battery Stoddard on the mid level. These two batteries were a bit out of the way and not as interesting as the others.

Located on Artillery Hill, the remaining eight batteries are accessed via a road that is blocked to traffic, beginning at the North end of the NCO Family Quarters street. Parking was available and we had to walk from this point. We followed the signs to Battery Walker and then to Battery Tolles. Between batteries Walker and Tolles is the remains of the Searchlight #3 installation. We followed the trail out to where the searchlight was rolled out to the edge of the cliff, which afforded a great view of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

As we exited Battery Tolles we turned left toward the two mortar batteries, Battery Brannan and Battery Powell, then on toward Battery Benson. Between Powell and Benson there is a decaying metal building that was a Radar transmitter building during World War II. The four main line batteries at the top of the hill are truly impressive starting with Battery Benson, Battery Ash, Battery Quarles and Battery Randol had a total of seven 10″ guns and two 12″ guns. One can only imagine what a salvo from these batteries would sound like. In back of and above the main line batteries are the primary observation and communications stations for Battery Ash and the two mortar batteries.

We exited Battery Randol, went straight past the Memory’s Vault memorial and down the road to the point where we began the climb up Artillery Hill. You can do this entire tour in 4 or 5 hours, but there are so many trails you can take as alternatives to the main road that a full day’s tour is not unimaginable. We missed a few things but that will just give us an excuse for going back to this beautiful fort.

After you visit, you should rent the movie An Officer and a Gentleman. Almost the entire movie was shot on Fort Worden and several of the batteries are identifiable.

John

Posted under Batteries, Forts

This post was written by JohnStanton on August 16, 2008

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