Fort Mason (2)

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Fort Mason (2) (1852-1972) - Established as a military reservation by President Millard Filmore in 1850-1851 and unoccupied by troops until 1863. Originally known as Point San Jose Military Reservation, the fort was renamed Fort Mason 25 Nov 1882, after Col. Richard Barnes Mason, 1st U.S. Dragoons, the second military governor of California. Turned over to the GGNRA 1972.

Fort Mason, Building 201, Park Headquarters
Lower Fort Mason

U.S. Civil War (1861-1865)

Part of the Harbor Defense of San Francisco.

Fort Mason is split into Upper Fort Mason, the site of the original coastal fortifications and lower Fort Mason, close to water level and the site of the former military port.

Temporary wartime structures were constructed in 1864 during the U.S. Civil War at Point San Jose military reservation. A wall of brick and mounts for six 10-inch (250 mm) Rodman cannons and six 42-pounder banded rifles were constructed. The well-preserved remains of Battery West were excavated and restored to its original U.S. Civil War condition in upper Fort Mason, the Battery East was destroyed about 1910-1911.

Fort Mason (2) U.S. Civil War Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery West 6 10" S.B. Rodman Iron 1864-1896+ $ ?
Battery East 6
42-pdr Banded Rifle
8" Rifled Rodman
$ ?
Source: CDSG

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Two gun batteries were established during and after the Spanish American War at Fort Mason. Battery Spanish War mounted two, 8" converted Rodman rifles and Battery Burnham mounted a single, 8" disappearing gun and carriage.

Fort Mason (2) Endicott Period Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Burnham 1 8" Disappearing 1899-1900-1900-1909 $ 32,138 Gun & carriage to
Battery Ord, Fort Columbia 1909
Battery Spanish War 2 8" Barbette 1898-1900-1900-1910 $ ? Converted Rodman rifles
Source: CDSG

Fort Mason Plan

World War II (1941-1945)

Fort Mason was the headquarters of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation during World War II. From this port 1,647,174 passengers and 23,589,472 tons of supplies moved into the Pacific. The highest passenger count was logged in August 1945 when 93,986 outbound passengers were loaded.

Cold War (1947-1991)

Fort Mason was active during the Korean War and in 1955 the San Francisco Port of Embarkation was renamed the U.S. Army Transportation Terminal Command Pacific. In 1965 the headquarters was moved to the Oakland Army Terminal and the Fort fell into disuse but remained a military installation until 1972.

Current Status

The National Park Service took over the site in 1972 as a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). A portion of the site, known as the Fort Mason Center, is devoted to nonprofit and cultural activities.

The National Parks Service headquarters for both the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park are located in Fort Mason.

Location: Black Point, San Francisco County, California

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.807778 Long: -122.429722



Visited: 22 Aug 2009


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