Coast Defense Study Group (CDSG) 2010 Conference Wrapup

Visited 13-17 April 2010

Our CDSG Hosts at Camp Hayden

Our CDSG Co-Hosts

The 2010 CDSG annual conference was held at Fort Worden, Washington and included visits to Fort Casey, Fort Ebey, Fort Flagler, Fort Whitman, Camp Hayden and various off post locations. The conference was co-hosted by Alfred Chiswell and Steve Kobylk and, along with the help of many volunteers, they did an outstanding job.

Fort casey, Battery Worth #1 Gun

Fort casey, Battery Worth #1 Gun

Day 1 – Fort Casey, Fort Whitman and Fort Ebey. Planned visits to Fort Casey and Fort Whitman went well and the weather was great. Fort Whitman can only be accessed by boat and two separate trips, morning and afternoon, were required to get everyone out there. We took the 6:30 AM Washington State ferry from Port Townsend over to Whidbey Island where coffee and doughnuts awaited us at Fort Casey. I was in the afternoon group for Fort Whitman so I concentrated on Fort Casey and Fort Ebey in the morning. I took the long hike to Battery Parker for some pictures I had missed on previous trips. I revisited Battery Worth just to view those two magnificent 10″ guns and I got to actually crank the restored Taylor-Raymond shell hoist. The early morning light was great on Battery Worth and I got some super pictures. I also took the short van ride out to Fort Ebey to go through Battery 248 one more time. We were back for lunch by 11 and hats off to the Lions Club of Whidbey Island for a great picnic.

The afternoon was taken up by the trip to Fort Whitman and I did a separate blog post for that trip. See Fort Whitman on Goat Island CDSG-2010.

Fort Worden from Artillery Hill

Fort Worden from Artillery Hill

Day 2 – Fort Worden. There is a lot to see on Fort Worden and it’s hard to do it all in one day. You could spend a whole day on the post itself with all the great period buildings, the Coast Artillery Museum, the Commanding Officers Quarters Museum, Point Wilson, the Visitor’s Center and the lower gun batteries. You can also spend a full day on Artillery Hill with the main gun line, eight major batteries (Tolles, Benson, Ash, Quarles, Randol, Brannan, Powell and Walker ), the HECP plus many other interesting features. I concentrated on the things that I had missed or were not open on previous trips. At the end of the day my feet were very sore. We stayed in the Fort Worden RV Park which is right next to Battery Kinzie and Battery Vicars so we had every day access to them.

Camp Hayden, Battery 131 Gun Emplacement #1

Camp Hayden, Battery 131 Gun Emplacement #1

Day 3 – Camp Hayden. I was looking forward to the trip to Camp Hayden because there were several places that were not accessible on my previous trip that would be open for us as a group. On the lower level the plotting room and the interior of Battery 131 were open and very interesting. I also made the climb up to Battery 249 which the park and the volunteers had really cleared out for us. Battery 249 has become a bat sanctuary and access to the interior was limited. Our hosts provided another great picnic lunch under the pavilion by the water’s edge. After lunch we did a car convoy up to the Alternate HECP on Striped Peak that was a bit harrowing for some of the lower slung cars but we all made it and it was worth it. On our way out we visited the remains of the 155mm battery at Elwha. A very full day.

Fort Flagler Hospital

Fort Flagler Hospital

Day 4 – Fort Flagler. We started the day with a gathering of the 60+ attendees at Fort Flagler’s 3″ Battery Wansboro for the conference picture. This battery has both 3″ guns and carriages mounted so it is well worth visiting. The weather had turned and it sprinkled on us intermittently. I concentrated again on things I had missed on previous trips,¬†Battery Bankhead, AAA Battery Locations, searchlight positions and the AMTB Battery on Marrowstone Point.¬†Lunch was served in the old post Hospital building that is under renovation. We also visited the Museum and Gift Shop and toured the remaining batteries. Check out the pictures on my Fort Flagler page. That evening the conference wrapped up with a banquet held at Manresa Castle and everyone had a great time.

Middle Point Military Reservation, Battery Mitchell

Middle Point Military Reservation, Battery Mitchell

After Conference Trips – I passed on the after conference Canadian Trip in favor of spending a day at Fort Ward and Middle Point Military Reservation and I’ll do a separate blog post on that trip soon.

Takeaways – I can’t say enough about the work done by our hosts and volunteers, they really went all out to make this year’s conference a great success. They also provided some outstanding takeaways ranging from hats and pins to DVDs/CDs with all the reference data and large numbers of great period pictures. Al Chiswell also provided a DVD titled “Fort Worden Virtual Tour” that is incredible, how did he do that?

This was a great conference, put on by a great organization, check out the CDSG if you are interested in coastal forts.

John

Update: Here is the post on Fort Ward and Middle Point Military Reservation.

Posted under Batteries, Camps, Events, Forts, Museums & Archives

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