National Register of Historic Places in Marin County
Fort Baker, Fort Barry and Fort Cronkhite are strategically located in the Marin County headlands at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. The forts are unique in that there are standing many of our earliest coastal defense artillery batteries, significant in tracing the development of the American defense system.
In 1866 Forts Baker and Barry were acquired by purchase to be used for military defense. Fort Cronkhite was acquired in the same manor in 1914, being legally considered a portion of Fort Barry until officially designated as Fort Cronkhite in 1937. The fortifications proposed for construction on this land were to augment those at the Presidio of San Francisco, in order to prevent passage of hostile ships through the Golden Gate into the San Francisco Bay.
There remain fifteen fortifications in good structural condition now all disarmed. These batteries span five systems of defense against attack. The equipment ranged from smoothbore muzzle-loading guns to rifled, breakloading guns, including emplacements for 155mm. anti-motor torpedo boat and 90mm. anti-aircraft guns.
The batteries, many built more than a century ago, stand in good structural condition, which testifies to the toughness of their high-quality concrete and steel materials. These emplacements are not only monuments to the age of coastal artillery, but they stand firmly in their place in the broader evolution of both San Francisco defense and the growth of our national defense system.