Fort Dawes

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Fort Dawes (1906-1963) - A World War II Coastal Fort first established as Deer Island Military Reservation in 1906 on Deer Island, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. Named Fort Dawes in G.O. 1, 1941, after William Dawes, compatriot of Paul Revere who alerted colonial minutemen of the approach of British army troops during the Revolutionary War. Abandoned in 1963.

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of Boston, Massachusetts.

The purchase of the Deer Island Military Reservation was authorized by act of Congress on 25 jun 1906 with several provisions, one of which required the City of Boston to remove the piggery that was on the property. A number of Endicott Period Fire control stations were established on Deer Island Military Reservation in 1907 along with quarters for two officers and six enlisted men. All facilities were accepted for service on 31 Dec 1907.

World War I (1917-1918)

It appears that a temporary barracks was added to the post during World War I along with a radio compass station.

Deer Island Military Reservation Plan 1938

World War II (1941-1945)

Fort Dawes HECP

In the year before the start of World War II, Fort Dawes was significantly expanded to a capacity of about 500 enlisted men and perhaps 50 officers. Eight 63 man barracks, two sets of officer dormitories, three mess halls and the normal set of support facilities were put in place. The expansion was made necessary for the support of the additional fire control stations, fire control RADAR sets, an HECP and four new gun batteries that were about to be built. The first of these batteries, Battery Taylor, was completed and accepted for service on 7 Aug 1942. This was followed in 1943 by Battery AMTB 944 on 10 Sep 1943. The completion of Battery AMTB 944 eliminated the need for Battery Taylor and its guns were put in local storage in October 1943.

Construction was begun in the second half of 1942 on two large caliber gun batteries, the 16" Battery 105 and the 6" Battery 207. Battery 105 was to hold two 16" guns in casemated emplacements connected by a large earth covered concrete magazine and support facility. Battery 207 had two shielded barbette rapid fire guns with a earth covered concrete central magazine and support building between them. Both of these batteries were completed and accepted for service on 28 Sep 1944. Work on both of these batteries had been suspended on 24 Nov 1943 after it had become clear that none of our enemies had the capability to attack our ports by sea. Battery 207 had both gun mounts installed but never received the gun tubes. Battery 105 had neither the gun tubes nor the mounts in place.

At the end of the war in 1945 only Battery AMTB 944 was operational.

Fort Dawes World War II Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery 105 2 16" Casemated Barbette (CBC) 1942-1944-1944-NA $ 1,085,369 Not Armed
Battery 207 2 6" Shielded Barbette (SBC) 1942-1943-1944-NA $ 300,385 Not Armed
Battery AMTB 944 2
AMTB Fixed
1943-1943-1943-1946 $ 7,625 Destroyed
Battery Taylor (2) 2 3" Pedestal Mount 1942-1942-1942-1943 $ 7,808 Guns from
Battery Taylor (1),
Fort Strong (2)
Source: CDSG
Fort Dawes World War II Battery and Fire Control Locations
Fort Dawes Plan showing Batteries 105, 207 and AMTB 944

Current Status

Deer Island, Suffolk County, Massachusetts. In the early 1990s, all of the military facilities on Deer Island were demolished for the construction of the Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant. Fort Dawes was totally destroyed.

Location: Fort Dawes, Suffolk County, Massachusetts.

Maps & Images

Lat: 42.354433 Long: -70.965039


  • 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 397
  • U.S.Army, Supplement to the Harbor Defense Project of Boston, Massachusetts, (HDB-AN-45), 31 Jan 1945, CDSG


Visited: 10 Jun 2012

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