“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Sausalito in Marin County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Mortars to Missiles

Military power at the Golden Gate

Mortars to Missiles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 31, 2017
1. Mortars to Missiles Marker
Captions: (upper center) Enemy attackers never arrived to challenge the troops guarding San Francisco's critical port, but artillery crews did fire some guns mounted around the Golden Gate during practice drills.; (map of coastal defense batteries (click on image to enlarge) , bottom center) Between 1776 and 1974, three nations guarded San Francisco's port against foreign invasion. First Spanish, then Mexican, guns defended the harbor entrance. Later, United States troops manned weapons on both sides of the Golden Gate. Today, the Golden Gate National Recreation Area preserves an extensive collection of historic coastal defense structures. (upper right) Built within artificial hills and natural bluffs to protect them from aerial attack, World War II-era batteries were the final generation of coastal defense using land based artillery. Within a few years of the war's end, the last of the guns were removed and the casemates stood empty.; Nike Missile Site SF88, built in the 1950s, was the last defense installation constructed in the Marine Headlands. The launch site is just down the road, the radar equipment that guided the missiles was located on a hilltop across the valley, and administrative work was based in the buildings to your left., (bottom right) For much of the 20th century, the headlands were dotted with military observation posts (base end stations), searchlights, radar sites, underground crew shelters and communications facilities.
Inscription.  For the first three-quarters of the 20th century, the Marin Headlands were fortified with weapons that evolved from cannon to nuclear warheads. The guns became more and more powerful, able to hit warships miles out to sea. Antiaircraft guns appeared on key hilltops during World War II, after the development of airplanes and aircraft carriers made aerial attack a possibility. Finally, during the Cold War, radar-guided Nike missiles bearing nuclear warheads were installed and remained ready for launch against enemy bombers until 1974.
The cement structures visible on the slope in front of you, one of Battery Wallace's two gun emplacements, started out as two open-air platforms built in 1919. In 1943, the concrete and earth casemate was constructed to protect the battery's artillery crew and two 12-inch cannon - with a range of nearly 17 miles.
Erected by National Park Service, Golden Gate National Recreation Ares.
Location. 37° 49.398′ N, 122° 31.728′ W. Marker is near Sausalito, California, in Marin County. Marker is
Map of the San Francisco Bay's military defences image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 31, 2017
2. Map of the San Francisco Bay's military defences
at the intersection of Conzelman Road and Field Road, on the left on Conzelman Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Sausalito CA 94965, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Battery Mendell (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battery Alexander (approx. 0.2 miles away); Nike Missile Site SF88 (approx. 0.2 miles away); Cold War Legacy: Missiles to Marine Mammals (approx. 0.8 miles away); Battery Construction No. 129 (approx. 1.6 miles away); The Golden Gate (approx. 1.6 miles away); Construction 129 (approx. 1.7 miles away); Strengthening an Icon (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Sausalito.
Categories. Forts, CastlesWar, ColdWar, World II
Mortars to Missiles Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, March 31, 2017
3. Mortars to Missiles Marker
Battery Wallace is in the background.
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Credits. This page was last revised on April 16, 2017. This page originally submitted on April 16, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 135 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 16, 2017, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.
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