Fort Barry

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Fort Barry (1904-2000) - Originally a part of Fort Baker (1), established as a separate Endicott Period coastal fort on 27 Dec 1904 and named after Brig. Gen. William F. Barry, 2nd U.S. Artillery. Located on the ocean side of the Marin Peninsula, Marin County, California. The military reservation land was turned over to the GGNRA in1995 and the last military troops left Fort Barry in 2000.

Fort Barry Barracks.
Nike Missile Site SF-88L.
Fort Barry Cantonment in the Background Battery O'Rorke in the Foreground.

Endicott Period (1890-1910)

Part of the Harbor Defense of San Francisco.

Battery construction began on what would become Fort Barry with two large caliber batteries, Battery Alexander, a 12" mortar battery and Battery Mendell, a 12" disappearing gun battery, both started in 1901. In 1903 Battery Guthrie, a 6" Barbette pedestal mount battery and Battery O'Rorke, a 3" Barbette pedestal mounted gun battery, were started. In 1904 Battery Rathbone, a 6" Barbette pedestal mounted gun battery, was begun. These five gun batteries constituted the first wave of coastal defense batteries on the Marin Headlands, along the outside entrance to the Golden Gate. These batteries were all completed in the 1903-1905 time frame but were not accepted for service until 8 Jun 1905, all on the same day. Not all of the completed batteries were armed or had even had guns and carriages on site when they were accepted. It was 1910 before all the batteries were armed.

The first detachment from Fort Baker (1) arrived at the Point Bonita batteries in July 1903 and lived in the magazines of Battery Mendell and Battery Alexander. On 16 Jul 1904, the Secretary of War authorized construction of a permanent post for two companies of the Coast Artillery Corps. The buildings were finished in the spring of 1907 and occupied 12 Feb 1908 by the 161st Company of the Coast Artillery Corps. The buildings included duplex officers' and noncommissioned officers' quarters, a twelve-bed hospital, two three-story barracks containing mess halls and kitchens, a guardhouse, a headquarters, and a complex of warehouses, stables, a firehouse, and other support buildings.

Fort Barry Endicott Period Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Alexander 8 12" Mortar 1901-1903-1905-1942 $ 100,382
Battery Mendell 2 12" Disappearing Carriage 1901-190?-1905-1943 $ 128,016
Battery Guthrie 2 6" Pedestal Mount 1903-1904-1905-1948 $ 69,194
Battery Smith (2) 2 6" Pedestal Mount 1922-1948 $ 0 Created from
Battery Guthrie 1922
Battery Rathbone 2 6" Pedestal Mount 1904-1905-1905-1946 $ 92,511
Battery McIndoe 2 6" Pedestal Mount 1922-1946 $ 0 Created from
Battery Rathbone 1922
Battery O'Rorke 4 3" Pedestal Mount 1903-1904-1905-1945 $ 24,463
Source: CDSG
Fort Barry Plan 1916

World War I (1917-1918)

Battery Wallace (2) was originally constructed in 1917 during World War I for two long-range 12-inch guns each with a 360-degree field of fire, it was casemated in 1943. A balloon hangar was built in 1921 which is the last of three such structures in the defenses of San Francisco to survive.

Fort Barry World War I Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery Wallace (2) 2 12" LR Barbette 1917-1921-1921-1948 $ 758,242 Casemated 1943
Source: CDSG

World War II (1941-1945)

Fort Barry had no permanent garrison from 1922 to 1941 but was regarrisoned at the beginning of World War II. Battery 129 on the high summit to the east was begun in 1943 to contain two 16-inch guns which arrived but were never mounted.

Fort Barry World War II Battery (edit list)
Click on Battery links below
No. Caliber Type Mount Service Years Battery Cost Notes
Battery 129 2 16" LR Barbette in Casemate 1942-1944-1944-194? $ 2,069,739 Guns on site not installed
Navy Guns 1940 program
Source: CDSG
Fort Barry Plan 1945

Cold War (1947-1991)

In 1954 Nike missile sites, SF-88L and SF-87C were built on Fort Barry as part of a protective ring of anti-aircraft missiles around San Francisco Harbor. ICBMs made the Nike system obsolete and it was shut down in 1974. SF-88L, the Launch site, has become the only restored Nike Site in the U.S. with functioning components of the system. Following the closure of the Nike missile site in 1974, the fort was used as a housing area for Army personnel stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco until it closed. In 1995, the military transferred its land to Golden Gate National Recreation Area and in 2000, the last soldiers left Fort Baker as the 91st Division (Training Support) moved their activities to Camp Parks, California.

Marin Headlands Nike Batteries (edit list)
Battery Type Location GPS Elevation Notes
SF-88C Control Wolf Ridge 37.84197,
SF-88L Launch Fort Barry 37.82698,
SF-87C Control Hawk Hill 37.82754,
SF-87L Launch Fort Cronkhite 37.83525,
Source: Jef's Nike Website

Current Status

Part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area (GGNRA) administered by the National Park Service. Fort Barry now houses National Park Service personnel and the Marin Center for the Arts and Headlands' Institute.

Location: At the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge next to Fort Baker (1).

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.83111 Long: -122.52333

  • Multi Maps from ACME
  • Maps from Bing
  • Maps from Google
  • Elevation: 322'

GPS Locations:

See Also:



Visited: 20 Aug 2009

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