Fort Banks (2)

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Fort Banks (2) (1889-1966) - An Endicott Period Coastal Fort first established in 1889 as Winthrop Military Reservation (1889-1898) in Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Named Fort Banks in G.O. 134, 22 Jul 1899, after Major General Nathaniel P. Banks, U.S. Volunteers, U.S. Civil War, 24th Governor of Massachusetts and a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Declared excess on 31 Jan 1950 and deactivated on 30 Sep 1966.

Fort Banks, 1900 Commanding Officer Quarters
Fort Banks, 1900 C.A. Battery Barracks, 109 Man
Fort Banks 1924 Aerial View. Note the Mortar Batteries in the center

Endicott Period

Part of the Harbor Defense of Boston, Massachusetts.

Fort Banks was one of the first Endicott Period forts to build and arm 12" breach loading mortar batteries. Two batteries were built, Battery Kellogg and Battery Lincoln and they were both accepted for service on 2 Sep 1896. Each battery had eight mortars arranged into two mortar pits of four mortars. These two mortar batteries were the only Endicott Period gun batteries on the post.

Fort Banks was built out as a small two company post with the initial post construction taking place in 1899-1900. There were several pre-existing buildings that were used by the engineers and then converted to NCO quarters. Additional NCO quarters were constructed 1899-1906. Two enlisted barracks were constructed, one in 1899 and one in 1900. Each of these barracks held 109 men. Four sets of officer quarters were constructed in 1900, three sets of duplex quarters and the commanding officer's quarters. The administration building, guardhouse, bakery and hospital were built 1901-1903. By 1906 the majority of the post buildings were in place and the addition of a PX and gym in 1907 signaled the end of the first phase of permanent buildings.

In 1904 a mortar was accidentally fired with the breech block not completely closed. The 800 lb shell remained in the mortar but the breech block was blown off killing three and injuring twelve. This was one of the worst gun battery accidents recorded.

The older M1886 mortars were swapped out for newer M1890 mortars from Battery Bagley at Fort Caswell about 1911 and Battery Meigs at Fort Washington (1) in 1913.

In 1912 it was determined that the wrong cement (Rosendale) had been used in the construction of both batteries and both batteries were reconstructed with Portland cement between 1912 and 1916. The cost of the reconstruction was significantly higher than the original construction cost.

Fort Banks (2) Endicott Period Batteries (edit list)
Battery
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Lincoln 8 12" Mortar 1892-1896-1896-1942 $ 78,395
$ 96,620
Battery Kellogg 8 12" Mortar 1892-1896-1896-1942 $ 78,395
$ 111,210
Source: CDSG
Fort Banks 1938 Plan


World War I

Toward the end of World War I, two mortars from each of the mortar batteries were dismounted, prepared for shipment and transferred to Morgan. This left each mortar battery with six mortars.

The post was expanded with temporary WWI type structures during the war and they were removed in the the 1920s and 1930s. The post was on maintenance status for much of the 1920s and 1930s but it was used for summer training.

By 1940, most of the post buildings were listed as being in good condition and the post capacity was listed as 8 officers, 14 NCOs and 213 enlisted troops. By 30 Jun 1941, the post had expanded significantly to accommodate the peacetime draft and in anticipation of the coming war. Twelve WWII temporary 63 man barracks, four mess halls, three day rooms, a theater and all the necessary support building were built 1940-1941. Post capacity rose to 58 officers, 18 NCOs and 892 enlisted men by 30 Jun 1941.

World War II

At the beginning of World War II both Battery Lincoln and Battery Kellogg were obsolete and by the end of 1942 they had both been ordered salvaged.

Current Status

Partially destroyed on private property, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Location: Fort Banks, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.387242 Long: -70.983294

Sources:

  • Roberts, Robert B., Encyclopedia of Historic Forts: The Military, Pioneer, and Trading Posts of the United States, Macmillan, New York, 1988, 10th printing, ISBN 0-02-926880-X, page 394
  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of Boston, Massachusetts, (HDB-AN-45), 31 Jan 1945, CDSG

Links:

Visited: 10 Jun 2012

Fort Banks (2) Picture Gallery

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