Galveston Harbor Defenses

Visited 12 Nov 2009 – Fort Travis, Fort San Jacinto, and Fort Crockett. We drove down to Galveston from Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio and stayed overnight in Galveston. We were very lucky to have two local fort enthusiasts acting as guides for our visit, Stephen and Vicky showed us all three forts and took us sightseeing through Galveston. We could not have gotten it all done without their super help.

Fort Crockett, Battery Laval on the Seawall

Fort Crockett, Battery Laval on the Seawall

Fort Crockett was first on our list because it was closest to our hotel and in some ways the most visible post. Fort Crockett is right in town along the Galveston seawall and in some cases is part of the seawall. Fort Crockett was built as an Endicott Period fort with three Endicott Period batteries and one World War I battery. Of the Endicott Period batteries only Battery Laval is still visible, Battery Hampton and Battery Izard became part of the seawall and while you can see where they were, you cannot see any identifiable part of them.

Fort Crockett, Battery Hoskins Casemate #1

Fort Crockett, Battery Hoskins Casemate #1

The most visible battery is the WWI battery, Battery Hoskins. This 12″ gun battery was casemated during WWII and the massive concrete casemates are still visible as a part of the San Luis Hotel and Conference Center. The #1 casemate now has a swimming pool on top of it and the #2 casemate is visible if you know where to look. Many of the post buildings remain, including barracks and officer quarters. Some buildings still house federal agencies, some have been re-purposed and most of the officer quarters are unoccupied and deteriorating.

Fort San Jacinto Battery Croghan

Fort San Jacinto Battery Croghan

Our next stop was Fort San Jacinto which sits at the tip of Galveston Island and has been ravaged by man and hurricanes. Of the four Endicott Period batteries only Battery Croghan is readily accessible, two others can be seen from the seawall road but are half buried in dredged material, the third battery has been destroyed. The WWII Battery 235 is visible but half buried in dredged material. We did not go to the half buried batteries, not so much because they were buried but because of the mosquitos swarming the area. Even though we were completely covered with clothing and mosquito repellant the mosquitos covered us, turning our clothing black.

Fort Travis Battery 236

Fort Travis Battery 236

Our trip to Fort Travis had a similar result, it was late in the day and the mosquitoes seemed to grow even more aggressive. The two Endicott Period Batteries are accessible as is the WWII Battery 236. The WWI Battery Kimble is one of the very few open 12″ batteries of it’s kind that remained un-casemated during WWII. The light was fading so we quickly took pictures and retired to a more comfortable seafood restaurant for a great meal. It was a great trip.

John

Posted under Batteries, Forts