Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fort Stevens on the Mouth of the Columbia River

Fort Stevens is located at the mouth of the Columbia River ans was charged with its defense for some 90 years until closed in 1947. Today, the Fort is a 4,200 acre State Park that allows folks the chance to see a class harbor fortification. 

A very interesting distinction for the Fort is that it is the only place in the continental USA that was directly shelled by the Japanese during WWII. 

Fort Stevens was constructed in the Civil War era in 1863, becoming active in 1865. Remaining in active duty, it was dramatically expanded in 1897 in order to protect the important Columbia River port area. The gun in the photo above is a classic Civil war cannon. 

Compare that weapon with this disapearing cannon from the late 1800's. This reproduction is mounted in an actual revetment that was used for the real emplacement.  This gun could shot a 600+ pound shell some 9 miles, but during the Japanese attack, the range to the attacking submarine was to great and the fort never returned fire.

 The disappearing cannon was a large, 10" bore rifle that would elevate above the revetment wall to fire, and then the recoil would push the gun back down for re-loading. This large, working model was fascinating to watch as it faithfully re-create this motion.

 The Fort was utilized through WWII as this Jeep can attest to. The Fort was used for coastal defense as well as training through the war, and was de-activated shortly thereafter.

 The fortifications are very extensive, with on site power generation, hospital, stores, and everything else needed to be self-sufficient. This concrete emplacement provided a great view into history.

The various batteries all had gun emplacements complete with powder and shell storage, crew protection and the like. These were all constructed of concrete with very  thick walls. 

 This is the foundation for one of the large, disappearing guns seen above. WE learned that when one of these was fired, the concussion was massive and the crew had to take precautions.

 Orinda was not too excited to investigate the concrete bunkers beneath the gun emplacements where shell and power were kept. These rooms were deeply buried for protection against enemy shells.

 The Fort was a great place to visit and see what a large fort is like. This was a real step back into time and we enjoyed learning about the Fort and the history behind it.

1 comment:

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Great tour, another historical site top put on our list:)