Marin County Points of Interest

Fort Baker in Marin Headlands 11 June 2005
(Click Photo to Zoom)
Fort Baker
Marin Headlands
Built 1850

Fort Baker, Fort Barry and Fort Cronkhite are collectively listed as National Register Historic District #73000255. Fort Baker, which was originally named Lime Point Military Reservation, is the oldest of the three.

All three forts are included in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and are accessible to the public.

In 1850, the year that California became one of the United States of America, President Millard Fillmore designated this site on the north shore of the Golden Gate for a casemated fort similar to Fort Point on the opposite shore of the strait. Difficulties in land acquisition delayed construction until 1866, and by that time, Civil War battles had revealed that this type of fortification was vulnerable to modern artillery.

Rather than building another Fort Point, the Army built four barbette batteries: Battery Cavallo at Point Cavallo, Cliff and Ridge Batteries at Lime Point, Gravelly Beach Battery at Gravelly Beach. (A barbette battery is a battery protected by earthworks.) A few wood-framed, gable-roofed garrison buildings were built on the west side of Horseshoe Bay where the trestle approach to the Golden Gate Bridge stands today, but none of these buildings survives.

In 1890, the Army began constructing a series of Endicott batteries that would stretch from Point Cavallo to Point Bonita. Battery Spencer was completed in 1890 followed by Batteries Kirby and Duncan in 1900 and Battery Orlando Wagner in 1901.

In 1897, Lime Point Military Reservation became Fort Baker. Battery I, Third Artillery, was assigned to man the new batteries and pitched a tent camp. Construction of permanent housing and administrative buildings was begun in 1901. Most of the buildings built between 1901 and 1910 are intact today. More buildings were added over the years, particularly during World War II, but most have been razed.

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