Fort Stevens Gun Update

Visited 20 Sep 2009 - It was such a great day yesterday that we decided to go to Fort Stevens to see how the Battery Pratt 6″ gun replica was coming along.  The first thing I noticed was that the event tent was up in front of the Battery and it came to me that I had probably missed the annual Friends of Old Fort Stevens (FOOFS) Picnic on Saturday, sure enough I had.  Second Saturday in September, got to remember that…

Breech End View of 6" Gun Replica

Breech End View of 6" Gun Replica

Jack Buckmeir told me that he has had the gun apart and back together a half a dozen times since last fall and that his next move is to mount the retraction gears and cable drums.  The gun looks great right now and it’s only on close inspection that you can see how much work remains to be done.  Jack listed the things that needed to be finished, a retraction motor, the recoil mechanism, the traversing mechanism and the counterweight mechanism, all hard stuff.  All of this involves taking the gun apart and putting it back together many more times in the coming months and the good weather will be gone soon.

Battery Pratt Gun & Carriage Side View

Battery Pratt Gun & Carriage Side View

I’ve included a picture of the original gun and carriage so you can see how close Jack’s replica is (click on the thumbnails to see the full picture), it should look just like the original.  If you get down and inside the carriage you can see where the work will be done.

Underside of the Gun and Carriage

Underside of the Gun and Carriage

Battery Pratt Original Gun 1943

Battery Pratt Original Gun 1943

We also had a chance to look at the scale model of the Battery Russell 10″ gun and to see it operate in the Fort Stevens State Park Military Museum.

It really works well and I took a short video to show it off a bit. It takes a quarter to operate the gun and that keeps the number of cycles down and produces a bit of income for the improvements.  Jack says that this is first version and that he plans to beef up the display and the mechanism.  The display will expand to show a full 1/6th scale gun crew and have Plexiglas around the model. A faster motor to speed up the display a bit is also in the plan.

Astoria Column

Astoria Column

Fort Stevens is always a great place to visit, always something going on and they do great guided tours, don’t miss the Battery Mishler guided tour (guided only) and take a really heavy duty flashlight with you (no wimpy led models). See my earlier post on Battery Mishler.

While you are in the area don’t miss the Astoria Column, the observation platform has just reopened and the view of mouth of the Columbia is spectacular.  The Astoria Column sits atop Coxcomb Hill at an altitude of 600 feet so you can see everything, a full 360 degree view.  You do have to walk up a spiral staircase (164 steps) to get to the top but there are several landings where you can rest.

Columbia River View from Astoria Column

Columbia River View from Astoria Column

Posted under Batteries, Events, Forts, Museums & Archives

2 Comments so far

  1. hoffyjb January 8, 2010 12:45 am

    I am helping Jack Buckmire with the restoration of the gun battery. Current status as of this date is as follows: The traversing gears are in place, and the gun moves, but will need a little fine-tuning for smoother operation.
    We removed the original shot hoist doors two months ago. The pair of doors at Pit #1 have been reinstalled; one door was salvageable with minor work; the other required re-skinning and some frame restoration/replacement. New rivets were also used as necessary. Hinges/hardware salvaged, including original carriage bolts, hinges, etc.
    Doors for Pit #2 under construction. These will be as close to the original doors built in 1897/98. The original doors were deteriorated to the point of being mostly unsalveagable, execpt for hinges. Again, they will look very close to the orginal design, with the exception of welding rivets as opposed to hot riveting due to lack of available resources. Expect to have the doors for Pit #2 installed NLT end of February – probably earlier.
    Jack has also ordered materials for the light standards, and restoration of them will commence soon – within two to three weeks.
    The work is coming along nicely, although ther are only two of us, and the weather to deal with. But the progress will be obvious by late spring.
    Also, the representative doors on the outside of Pit#2 were preserved this summer.
    Our volunteer organization, FOOFS, has also approved funding to build doors for the front of Pit #1.
    Hope to get some pics soon to document the work done recently.
    But progress is being made.

    Respectfully,

    John H.

    Friends Of Old Fort Stevens (FOOFS)

  2. admin January 8, 2010 10:11 am

    Thanks for the great update!

    John

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