The Batteries Project San Francisco Bay's Coastal Defenses

There are nearly 35 military artillery batteries surrounding San Francisco Bay. These batteries were part of the Coastal Defense System established in the mid to late 1800s and into the early 20th century.

From the Gold Rush through the Cold War, San Francisco Bay has been one of the most strategic and heavily defended seaports in the country.

The cannons have been removed, but the bunkers remain. Now Part of the National Park System, most are accessible to the public. Each with it’s own function and history, the batteries are in locations with spectacular views of the bay and the Pacific.

Battery Yates

Pictured above is Battery Yates, a fast gun battery designed to attack mine sweepers invading the bay. It now lies in rest at Ft. Baker near Cavallo Point Resort.

Battery Cavallo lies just above it, but is off limits due to natural habit protection for the endangered Mission Blue Butterfly.

Battery Rathbone-McIndoe
Battery Rathbone-McIndoe

Many of you on Doc Miles Photo Tours have been to at least one, if not more of the batteries and have taken some great shots of San Francisco from them.

In 2017, I plan to photograph all the batteries and compile a digital book complete with their history. Some are obvious, like Battery Spencer, while others are hidden and overgrown with nature’s progress.

Sign up for a tour with Doc Miles Photo Tours and experience a part of our country’s history.

Battery Mendel
Battery Mendel
Battery Chamberline
Disappearing Gun

Built to protect underwater minefields laid outside the Golden Gate, this Endicott-era battery was and completed and armed in 1904. Fortifications included four 6-inch guns mounted on disappearing carriages; these guns had a range of nine miles and could fire at the rate of two rounds per minute. The original guns were dismounted in 1917 for use in World War I, but the battery was modified to receive two 6-inch guns on simple barbette carriages in 1920. During World War II, the Sixth Coast Artillery Regiment manned the two guns at Battery Chamberlin, which were placed under camouflage netting to deter potential air attack. In 1948, the Coast Artillery Corps was deactivated, the battery disarmed, and the guns scrapped.

Origin of Name

Battery Chamberlin named in honor of Captain Lowell A. Chamberlin, First Artillery, who served with distinction in the Civil War and remained an artillery officer until he died at the Presidio in 1889. Captain Chamberlin is buried at San Francisco National Cemetery in the Presidio.

More to come....

Created By
Doc Miles


Photos shot on iPhone7+ by Doc Miles Photography

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