Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort McDowell
(Camp Reynolds, Camp Summer, Post of Angel Island, San Francisco Defense Area Site SF-91, Prisoner of War Branch Camp, Prisoner of War Processing Station, Naval Degaussing Station, Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat Batteries Blunt, Cove and Knox)
 
 
East Garrison, circa 1941
 
 
Military History of Angel Island
by John Soennichsen, Historian, Angel Island Association
 
A great many things have occurred on Angel Island since Lieutenant Juan Manuel Ayala anchored the Spanish packet-boat San Carlos at the island in 1775, while compiling the first chart of San Francisco Bay. Over the years the island has been a Mexican land grant, a military base, home to a quarantine station and an immigration station, and, finally, a state park. However, it is the military that has had the longest-playing role in the island’s history. The Army first set up camp on Angel Island during the Civil War, and remained on the island for almost 100 years. The island, the largest in San Francisco Bay, has been part of the defenses of the bay on three separate occasions.

The military history of Angel Island began in 1850, shortly after the Mexican War, when President Fillmore declared the island a military preserve. When California entered the Union, in 1848 San Francisco bay was virtually defenseless. El Castillo de San Joaquin, the little Spanish fort at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, was a ruin, the result of poor construction, rain, earthquakes, and neglect. It was the only defensive works, with the exception of a crude single-gun battery on Black Point (Fort Mason), erected by either the Spanish or the Mexican authorities during their tenures. San Francisco’s lack of defense was of concern to the American authorities, and an 1850 commission prepared a comprehensive plan for the defense of the bay. As a result of that plan, artillery batteries were installed on Alcatraz, and construction began on what would become Fort Point, on the site of the old Castillo de San Joaquin.

Angel Island was to be part of the “second line” of defense in the original planning, but for years the island continued to lead a pastoral existence, home only to a number of squatters who eked out a living by fishing and farming. In 1858 the Army Engineers sent two officers to the island to conduct surveys, but when they finished their work disappeared into the files, and no other action was taken. In 1861 the Civil War gave impetus to the work on the defenses for the bay; Alcatraz had become a major fortress that eventually would mount more than 100 guns, and Fort Point was strengthened with additional guns and men, but Angel Island and the “second line” of defense existed only on paper.
Public concern over the inadequacy of San Francisco Bay defenses continued to mount, however. Finally, in 1863, orders to place guns on the island came from Washington. On August 24th Captain R. S. Williamson of the Army Engineers was sent to the island, where he made another survey, and recommended that artillery batteries be placed on the island at Points Stuart, Knox and Blunt. These were to be temporary batteries, with wooden gun mounts and earthen emplacements. The initial military purpose served by Angel Island was as an artillery post, part of the defenses of San Francisco Bay.

Captain Williamson’s report was endorsed by the Department of the Pacific. Construction of the new batteries began in September, 1863, under the supervision of Colonel Rene De Russey, United States Army Engineers. That same month the Department of the Pacific ordered Company B, Third Artillery, to go into camp on Angel Island. On September 21, fifty-six men of Company B, under the command of Second Lieutenant John L. Tiernon, left Fort Point, and arrived on Angel Island the same day.

One of the first acts of the acting company commander was to name the new post “Camp Reynolds,” in honor of Major-General John Reynolds, commander of First Corps, Army of the Potomac, who had been killed by a sniper at the Battle of Gettysburg the previous July. General Reynolds had been a popular and much admired officer, considered by some to be the best officer in the Army of the Potomac. Lieutenant Tiernon then looked for a site on which to build quarters. He selected a long sloping hill that ran down towards a cove on the west side of the island; it had the advantage of being between the new batteries at Point Knox and Point Stuart.

While Colonel De Russey and the engineers worked to construct the artillery batteries, with some assistance from the men of the Third Artillery, a civilian contractor, began work on the Camp Reynolds garrison buildings. Progress was slow; the evidence suggests that most of the command did not get into quarters before winter—they spent the winter in tents. Two officers’ quarters were completed in 1863, together with some service buildings, but the balance of the original Camp Reynolds buildings, including two sets of barracks for enlisted men, were not completed until 1864. In that same year, the post’s first hospital (there would be three over the years) was built some distance to the north, in a cove that had been known as Racoon Bay or Glenn Cove. After the erection of the hospital and the surgeon’s and steward’s quarters, the cove became known as Hospital Cove, and is known today as Ayala Cove.

While the post was being constructed the Army Engineers were at work on the artillery batteries. Roads to the batteries on Point Knox and Point Stuart were completed by June of 1864. Construction on the Point Stuart battery began in November, 1863, and the battery’s armament, a ten-inch Columbiad (howitzer) and three thirty-two pounders, was mounted by August of 1864. One month later Point Knox was ready for service, armed with seven thirty-two pounders, an eight-inch Rodman, and two ten-inch Rodmans. The emplacements were earthen, and the guns were mounted on wooden carriages coated with coal tar for protection against the elements.

The construction on the batteries on Point Stuart and Point Knox went forward on schedule, but the work on the battery at Point Blunt did not. The great difficulty in traversing the distance between Point Blunt and Camp Reynolds made it necessary to place the battery under the command of Alcatraz, and man the battery with men from that post, who could more easily reach the point by water. A barracks and officers quarters had to be erected for their use. Excavations for the emplacement were completed by April of 1864, but there was a delay, and heavy rains damaged the parapet. The work was delayed until March of 1865, when the barge carrying the guns to the battery swamped on the beach. The final disaster occurred in May of 1865; the parapet dropped five feet and slid forward; the battery was abandoned, and the guns were removed in 1866. The barracks and officers’ quarters on the point became a sub-post of Camp Reynolds.

In July of 1864 General Irvin McDowell, Commanding Officer of the Department of the Pacific, made an inspection tour of Angel Island. Accompanying the Army officers and dignitaries on the tour was a young reporter who later would become famous as “Mark Twain,” but at the time, proud of being a reporter, called himself “Clemens, of the Call.” Clemens said the fortifications on Angel Island “were fast growing into formidable proportions.” That same month the Commanding Officer of Camp Reynolds reported that thirteen guns were mounted and there were 7,400 pounds of powder, and 2,600 rounds of shot and shell on hand.

When the Civil War ended, and the defense of San Francisco Bay no longer a paramount need, Camp Reynolds became a Recruit Depot, responsible for handling recruits on their way to posts in the west. A second change occurred in 1871, when Peninsula Island was placed under the control of the commanding officer of Camp Reynolds. (It was pointed out that the name was ludicrous—it was either an island or a peninsula, it couldn’t be both.) This property was what we know today as Belvedere, and it was made a military reserve by presidential order in 1867, as it was considered important for the defense of the approaches to the Benicia Arsenal and the Mare Island Naval Yard. No military structures were erected on the new reserve; patrols from Angel Island serving to protect the property from trespassers. In 1885 a legal opinion voided the government’s rights to the military reserve, and the commander of Camp Reynolds once more controlled just one island, not two,

During the last part of the Nineteenth Century the men stationed at Camp Reynolds were involved in what has become loosely known as the “Indian Wars.” The Army of the time was not large, and small units were scattered across the western United States. Troops were sent up and down the coast by steamer, and at one time or another regiments with headquarters on the island had men posted from Sitka, Alaska, to the Mexican Border. The 12th Infantry, at one time officially “stationed” on Angel Island, actually had troops at eleven different posts in three states or territories. The Ninth Infantry, with Headquarters at Camp Reynolds in 1869, had Company D, regimental headquarters, and the regimental band on Angel Island. The balance of the regiment was stationed at nine other locations, seven of them in California and two in Nevada. Units came and went, and the population on the island varied from 100 to 700, as soldiers from Camp Reynolds fought and scouted, provided guards and escorts, and patrolled the western United States. In 1873 Companies E and G of the 12th Infantry were sent north to fight in the Modoc War, both companies suffering numerous casualties in the conflict. In addition to providing troops for western outposts, Camp Reynolds continued its functions as a Recruit Depot, receiving soldiers new to the Army.

During this period Camp Reynolds had a number of commanding officers who had distinguished themselves in the Civil War. Two of them, William R Shafter and Orlando Bolivar Willcox had been awarded Medals of Honor during the war, and others, including John C. Tidball, August Kautz, William Henry French and John Haskell King, had outstanding war records. All of these officers had been awarded the brevet rank of brigadier-general or higher.

One of the enduring myths about Angel Island is that the island served as an “Indian prison” during the Indian Wars. At the time the Army did consider using a “garrisoned island” as a place to house such prisoners, who had become “quite numerous” at interior posts, but the idea does not appear to have ever become policy. In 1869 there were two Indian prisoners on the island, who were furnished with tents, clothing and rations, and had the freedom of the island. The 1870 census lists sixteen Indians on the island, aged from 15 to 46. This appears to have been the largest number of Indians ever held on Angel Island, hardly enough to make it a prison camp. It appears that these Indians were not captured in battle. They were listed as “Indian convicts,” and seem to have been troublemakers and petty criminals from the reservations.

New buildings were added to the post over the years; a new hospital was built in 1869, closer to the post proper, a chapel in 1876, three more barracks, and additional officers’ quarters. The population was obviously overwhelmingly made up of soldiers and officers, but there were always a number of women, quite a few children, and a number of civilians. In 1880, for instance, there were 19 Chinese shrimp fishermen on the island, eight of them married. Twenty-four Army wives were on the island, in addition to six female servants and a hospital matron. There were seven male servants, two of them employed by the Commanding Officer, Colonel Kautz, a veteran of the Civil War, who also employed two of the female servants; in effect the colonel had one servant for each member of his family. The civilians included the manager of the Angel Island quarry, the post sutler (storekeeper), and a dairyman, whose herd of cows kept the post supplied with milk, butter and cream. The island always had one or more herds of cows, and flocks of chickens; being somewhat removed from the mainland, a certain amount of self-sufficiency was required.

Army life in the last half of the Nineteenth Century was harsh, with rigid class distinctions. Pay was low, as was morale. Following the Civil War desertions were a “constant problem.” The 8th Cavalry, which had some of its men on Angel Island, had a desertion rate of almost 42% in 1871. The situation was so acute that at one point a reward was offered to anyone in San Francisco who assisted in the apprehension of a deserter. The 9th Infantry paid $1800 in such rewards in 1868, and recovered 105 of the 212 men who had deserted. As a corollary to desertions, there was a pervasive and serious drinking problem. Because of it the post sutler was forbidden to keep “any description of wine, bitters, cordials, fruits preserved in liquor, or liquor in any form.” The post hospital kept all compounds containing alcohol under lock and key. There was widespread smuggling of “vile compounds, mostly low-grade whiskey,” from the mainland to the island. It is revealing that the construction of the first road to circle the island was cited as being “especially necessary to patrol the island, to prevent the landing . . . of small boats for whisky and deserters.” At least one of the reasons for low morale and excessive drinking at Camp Reynolds was the monotony, which one observer called “deadly.” Isolated from the mainland, operating on an unvarying military schedule, life on the island had a stultifying regularity. A resident of Camp Reynolds said, “The most exciting event of the day is the arrival of the steamer.”

In 1891 a Quarantine Station was built in Hospital Cove, the site of the original Camp Reynolds hospital, and the Army was forced to share the island for the first time. The new station was operated by the Marine Hospital Service. It was not welcomed by the Army; Camp Reynolds had had the island to itself for twenty-eight years, and felt no need of a neighbor. The station was built over Army protests.

In what seemed to be a repetition of the 1860s, the defenses of San Francisco Bay again became a matter of public concern in the 1880s. The Civil War batteries were either deteriorated, or obsolete—there had been no appropriation for harbor defenses in some years—and public outcries eventually brought action from the government. New batteries (known as “Endicott Batteries,” after the board that proposed them) were proposed for San Francisco Bay. The first such battery for the bay was built at Fort Point.

The first activity on Angel Island, in this new effort to arm San Francisco Bay, was the construction of a “torpedo,” or mine casemate at Mortar Hill, on the south side of the island in 1891. This casemate served as a control point for mines placed beneath the surface of the bay. At the time it was one of four such mine control points in the defense system for the bay.

In April of 1898 work began on Angel Island’s first permanent Endicott Battery, Battery Drew, located just south of Camp Reynolds and armed with a single eight-inch rifle on a non-disappearing carriage. Construction on this new battery began just three weeks before the start of the Spanish-American War—the war gave impetus to the construction, just as the Civil War had for the original batteries. The second new battery was Battery Ledyard, which was erected on the site of the old Point Knox Civil War battery, and armed with two five-inch rapid-fire guns. The third, and last, battery in the series was Battery Wallace, built above and behind Ledyard, and armed with a single eight-inch rifle on a disappearing carriage.

The war with Spain did not at first affect Camp Reynolds, but as the war went on the activities at the post steadily increased. Following Admiral Dewey’s success in Manila Bay troops were needed in the Philippines to follow up the naval success, and thousands of men left San Francisco for Manila, many of them passing through Camp Reynolds. The activity increased when the war ended, for it was promptly followed by what became known as the Philippine Insurrection. This little-known conflict would involve some 100,000 American troops before it was over, and Camp Reynolds became an integral part of the troop movements to the Philippines. Not only was the post shipping men overseas, it was receiving men returning from the fighting. Among them were men with tropical diseases, and in 1899 a Detention Camp was erected on the east side of the island for their care. As hostilities wound down thousands of men began returning for discharges, and a Discharge Camp was erected in 1901, also on the east side of Angel Island, adjoining the Detention Camp. By 1907 some 126,000 men had been discharged at the camp.

In 1900 the Army changed the name of the post on Angel Island to Fort McDowell, after General Irvin McDowell, who had died in San Francisco in 1885. General McDowell had been commander of the Union armies at the First Battle of Bull Run, and later became commander of the Department of the Pacific. The reason for the name change is not known, but General McDowell, while not recognized as an able leader in the field, was a good administrator, and had been an immensely popular figure in San Francisco. Reynolds, after all, was from Pennsylvania. With the change, Camp Reynolds no longer officially existed, and the name was no longer used.

In 1910 Fort McDowell began a major building program on the east side of Angel Island, using military prisoners from the Army Prison on Alcatraz as labor. Among the permanent buildings constructed were officers quarters, a Main Mess Hall, a Post Hospital, guard house, post exchange, barracks for enlisted men and service buildings. The post headquarters moved to the new garrison, which became the East Garrison of Fort McDowell; the former Camp Reynolds became West Garrison. Just prior to the construction of East Garrison, the Immigration Service built an Immigration Station, “the Ellis Island of the west,” at China Cove on the east side of Angel Island, just north of East Garrison.

Fort McDowell was very active during World War I, serving as a Recruit Depot for men entering the Army. Men drafted in the western states were sent to Fort McDowell, and held for about two weeks, during which time they would be given physical examinations, issued uniforms, and given some rudimentary military training. At the same time enlisted men returning from Hawaii and the Philippines for discharge, furlough, retirement or reassignment were being processed at the post. About 4,000 men a month passed through Fort McDowell during this period. Overcrowding became the rule—temporary tent encampments were erected at Point Blunt and on the old Camp Reynolds parade ground in an effort to ease the crush. The war-driven overcrowding was such that the newly completed Post hospital at East Garrison did not serve as a hospital when completed, but became a temporary barracks instead.

Following World War I military activity declined, and Fort McDowell went through a series of changes in official designations, finally becoming the Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot in 1922. The distinctive unit insignia for the San Francisco Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot is shown at the right. In this capacity it handled men leaving for, and returning from overseas posts. In 1926 it was reported that Fort McDowell was handling more men than any other Army Post in the country. An average of 22,000 men were processed at Fort McDowell each year between 1926 and 1938. During that same period 106,000 men were discharged at the post. After World War II began in Europe in 1939 activity on the island began to slowly increase again.

Pearl Harbor and American entry into World War II in 1941 gave Fort McDowell the impetus for its period of greatest activity. During the war it served as part of the huge San Francisco Port of Embarkation. The fort became a staging center for “casuals’—unassigned enlisted men—being sent as replacements to the Pacific Theater of War. Fort McDowell processed and shipped some 300,000 men overseas during the war. The number of men being processed reached such a point that the Main Mess Hall, which could seat 1,410 men at a time, was forced to have three seatings for each meal. The mess hall served more than 12,000 meals a day. Despite the increase in volume, veterans remember the food as being excellent.

The Immigration Service left Angel Island in 1940, following a fire which destroyed the Immigration Station Administration Building, and the site reverted to the Army. Following the start of World War II a 1,600-man mess hall, barracks, a guard house, a post exchange, an infirmary and a recreational building were added to what had been the Angel Island Immigration Station, and the site became the North Garrison of Fort McDowell. Part of North Garrison functioned as a Prisoner of War Processing Center for Japanese and German prisoners of war. The POWs were processed there before being shipped to permanent prison camps in the interior of the country. The first prisoner of war captured by American forces in World War II, the commander of a Japanese midget submarine at Pearl Harbor, was processed at North Garrison.

When the war with Japan ended, in August of 1945, Fort McDowell was almost swamped by the number of servicemen returning from overseas duty in the Pacific Theater. As the troop transports brought soldiers home from the Pacific, they were processed at Fort McDowell, ferried across the bay to Oakland or San Francisco, loaded on trains and sent off to be discharged at their original induction centers. During this hectic activity twenty-two troop trains were loaded in one day; twenty in Oakland and two in San Francisco. It was thought to be a record of its kind. Activity began to wind down in 1946, and the Army decided to close Fort McDowell. The Army left Angel Island in August of 1946, and the island was classified as surplus property

Following the departure of the Army, a debate began as to what the future of Angel Island would be. Finally, in 1954, after a good deal of controversy, debate and travail, 36 acres of Ayala Cove, on the north end of the island became a California State Park. However, that same year the Army returned to Angel Island to build a Nike Anti-aircraft missile site at Point Blunt, on the south end of the island. This site—manned by Battery D of the 9th Army Antiaircraft Artillery Regiment—was one of eleven such sites built in the San Francisco Bay area during the Cold War. The Angel Island battery had three launching sections, each with four missile launchers, and was armed with liquid-fueled Nike-Ajax missiles. An Integrated Fire Site, with three radars, two control vans, and a ready room was constructed on Mount Ida, the highest point on the island. About one hundred men manned the missile battery; they were quartered in what had been the Fort McDowell Post Hospital. The missiles were obsolete by 1962, and the anti-aircraft battery left the island that year.

Additional acreage had been added to Angel Island State Park in 1958, and the entire island was declared a California State Park in 1963. Today the entire island is open to the public, with regular ferry service from San Francisco and Marin. Many of the historic buildings at Camp Reynolds and Fort McDowell are still standing, and at Camp Reynolds a restored officer’s quarters is open to the public. The Spanish-American War battery sites still exist, although the guns have been removed.

Most facilities on the island are available April-October. If you plan a visit, contact the Tiburon ferry at angelislandferry.com or at 415-435-2131. The San Francisco ferry can be reached at 415-773-1188. There are picnic facilities, and visitor centers at Ayala Cove, the Immigration Station, and East Garrison. There is a deli, and bicycle and kayak rentals. There are nine environmental camp sites available on the island—for information on camping call the park ranger office at 415-435-5390.

The Angel Island Association provides docents during the season at Camp Reynolds (West Garrison), Fort McDowell (East Garrison) and the Immigration Station. Motorized tram tours of the island are available for visitors, and docent-led tours can be arranged through the Angel island Association. For complete information on Angel Island go to www.angelisland.org, or call the Angel Island Association at 415-435-3522.

After a century of public service, Angel Island is now open for public enjoyment.

 

West Garrison (former Camp Reynolds) circa 1926
 
Angel Island Historical Time Line
compiled by Daniel Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department

Prior to Army use the Angel Island was the Mexican land grant rancho of Don Antonio Maria Osio. During the period between the first executive order making the island a military reservation and actual occupation by the Army, it was used for ranching and as a favorite spot for gentlemen from San Francisco to conduct duels. The waters adjacent to the island were used for anchorages, including prison ships that were anchored next to the island prior to the establishment of San Quentin State Prison in 1853.

Angel Island was used as Military Reservation from 1863-1946. Control over the island has varied considerably since the army officially deactivated the post in 1946. The U.S. Army District Engineer took control first, after the island was declared surplus. In 1947, the WAA assumed responsibility for the disposal of the island. In 1948, the Interior Department was given disposal responsibility through the National Park Service. In 1950, the U.S. Navy was given permission to utilize buildings in North Garrison as a degaussing station. In 1953, The California Division of Beaches and Parks took control of Hospital Cove. In 1954, the Secretary of the Interior returned control of Angel Island to the Army for the Nike air defense missile site. Finally, in 1963, the state received full control of the island, with the exception of Coast Guard Stations at Points Blunt, Stuart, and Knox, which are owned and managed by the National Park Service (Department of Parks and Recreation 1979).
 
 Date Evert
 6 November 1850 President Millard Fillmore issues an executive order declaring that Angel Island (as well as other areas in San Francisco) is a military reservation. This is largely ignored and the status quo is maintained for several years.
 20 April 1860 President James Buchanan issues an executive order declaring that Angel Island is again a Federal military reservation.
 2 April 1863 The War Department begins construction of fortifications on Angel Island
 12 September 1863 Camp Reynolds is established.
 1 November 1863 Construction of fortifications at Point Stuart and Point Blunt begins.
 7 November 1863 Orders to construct barracks at Camp Reynolds received.
 25 July 1864 Batteries at Point Stuart and Point Knox completed
 20 September 1864 Battery at Point Blunt completed. Quarters for 120 enlisted and three officers as well as wharf were built at the point. Although on Angel Island, this battery was under the operational control of Ft. Alcatraz.
 October 1864 A road from the main garrison of Camp Reynolds to the hospital at Raccoon Cove (now Ayala Cove) is built.
 1864-1869 Without the approval of the Corps of Engineers, Brevet Major George P. Andrews built and maintained a five-gun water battery at the head of Camp Reynolds' wharf. Work was continued on this fortification through at least 1869. Later howitzers were added to the rear of the battery near the post's flagpole.
 6 June 1865 The battery at Point Blunt was declared unserviceable due to settling of the parapet. By 1869, three of the guns slid into the bay and the battery was abandoned. Barracks and officers' quarters come under the control of Camp Reynolds
 April-October 1866 Camp Reynolds temporarily abandoned.
 26 October 1866 Camp Reynolds designated as the Depot for the receiving and distribution of recruits.
 30 June 1869 Camp Reynolds becomes the headquarters for 12th Infantry Regiment.
 9 May 1885 The Point Knox Fog Signal Station is authorized.
 16 January 1886 The Endicott Board recommends improvement of harbor defenses at San Francisco in general and Angel Island specifically.
 22 Dec 1888 Permit issued to US Marine Hospital Service for a National Quarantine Station in accordance with 25 Stat. 356.
 24 April 1889 The Secretary of War formally releases 10.16 acres of land at Hospital Cove to the Treasury Department.
 4 March 1890 Construction begins on the Quarantine Station.
 28 January 1891 The Quarantine Station turned over to the US Marine Health Service.
 30 August 1893 An additional 12 acres was transferred from the War Department to the Treasury Department for the Quarantine Station.
 19 March 1897 Section I of California Act of 19 March 1897 cedes tideland adjacent and contiguous to island to the Federal reservation.
 1 April 1898 Construction of Battery Drew, the first of the Endicott Board fortifications, begins.
 June 1899 Major General William R. Shafter, commander of the Department of California, established a Detention Camp at Camp Summer on Quarry Point.
 October 1899 Work begins on Battery Wallace.
 27 January 1900 Work begins on Battery Ledyard.
 4 April 1900 In accordance with War Department General Orders 43, the post is renamed Ft. McDowell.
 1 May 1900 Battery Drew becomes operational.
 16 October 1900 Telephone at telegraph service installed at Camp Summer Detention Camp.
 1 November 1901 Discharge Camp opens at Camp Summer on Quarry Point.
 19 September 1903 The "Depot of Recruits and Casuals" is moved from the Presidio of San Francisco to Angel Island.
 8 July 1905 The Secretary of War approves the transfer of ±10 acres to the Department of Commerce and Labor for Immigration Station.
 30 September 1905 The Quartermaster General of the US Army includes Ft. McDowell in a recommendation of posts to be abandoned or rebuilt.
 October 1908 Immigration Station completed. However, no funds for operations are available at the station.
 6 April 1909 An additional 4.2 acres is transferred from the War Department to the Department of Commerce and Labor for the Immigration Station.
 4 June 1909 General Recruit Depot established. The 8th Recruit Company arrives on 6 June 1909. Two additional companies follow later in the summer.
 Summer 1909 Construction begins on a larger permanent garrison at Quarry Point to house the General Recruit Depot. This area becomes what is known by 1925 as the East Garrison.
 21 January 1910 Immigration Station officially opened.
 24 February 1914 Survey recorded with the County Recorder of Marin County. Reference Records of Survey No. 24.
 23 October 1914 Permit issued to Lighthouse Service, Department of Commerce and Labor for light and fog signals at Points Blunt and Stuart.
 August 1919 Recruit Depot renamed "Recruit and Replacement Depot."
 November 1922 Recruit and Replacement Depot renamed Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot.
 1922
Federal prisoners being detained or pending transfers to Federal prison housed at Immigration Station.
Much of the bluff at Quarry Point is leveled and made a parade ground east of 1,000-man barracks at East Garrison.
 23 August 1925 Water condensers installed at Immigration Station. Barging of water discontinued.
 30 November 1925 The first official use of the terms, "East Garrison" and "West Garrison" is noted.
 1933 Post incinerator constructed at East Garrison.
 1935 The last case of a quarantine detention occurred when a Japanese family of three was detained when it was thought they had small-pox.
 30 September 1937 The Immigration and Naturalization Bureau announced that new facilities would be built in San Francisco.
 2 April 1938 Extensive program of buildings and grounds begins at East Garrison.
 1 July 1939 Lighthouse Service transferred to and later absorbed by US Coast Guard, Department of the Treasury.
 9 July 1940 Contract was let for new Immigration Station in San Francisco.
 4 February 1941 Immigration Station property returned to the War Department and becomes the Ft. McDowell's North Garrison.
 8 December 1941 Prisoner of War (POW) Processing Station established at North Garrison. Ft. McDowell comes under operational control of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation (SFPE) headquartered at Ft. Mason.
 1942 Coast Artillery returns to Ft. McDowell. The 216th Coast Artillery Regiment places four 90mm antiaircraft guns on the island. Three are placed at the three Endicott period fortifications and one is located at an undisclosed location on the western side of the island.
 25 May 1942 Camp Stoneman begins to receive troops and rapidly begins to assume Ft. McDowell's duties.
 16 June 1942 The status "Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot" is officially removed from Ft. McDowell.
 23 February 1943 The first rotation of soldiers (89 officers and 1,608 enlisted) arrives at Ft. McDowell from Hawaii.
 12 July 1946 Ft. McDowell is declared surplus by the Army. Quarantine Station and Fog and Light Stations were continued by the parent agencies under existing permits and agreements.
 20 September 1946 Ft. McDowell is turned over to the District Engineer.
 12 February 1947 All buried remains still in the post cemetery are removed and re-interred in the Golden Gate National Cemetery.
 10 June 1947 Custody of Ft. McDowell is transferred to the War Assets Administration (WAA).
 11 October 1948 Marin County applies for the island for historical park development.
 26 June 1950 The Secretary of the Interior reserves Angel Island for disposal to the State of California or its political subdivision. With the exception of the 34.13 acres at Hospital Cove under control of the Public Heath Service and a total of 7.7 acres used by the Coast Guard, all land is transferred to the Bureau of Land Management. Sometime during 1950, the Quarantine Station is moved to San Francisco. In keeping with the original permit, the land is returned to the Department of the Army (formerly the War Department).
 December 1950 Three buildings are permitted to the Department of the Navy for use as a degaussing station.
 4 May 1951 The State Parks Commission agrees to purchase the island at the 1947 WAA discounted price of $194,595 if a local park authority would assume management and protection under a lease.
 26 January 1953 The San Francisco County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to place the island on its park and recreation master plan.
 5 February 1954 The Secretary of the Interior grants a permit to the Department of the Army to operate an anti-aircraft missile site.
 15 April 1954 With the exception of 36.82 acres at Hospital Cove under control of California State Park Commission, three light stations under the Coast Guard, and the small degaussing station at the North Garrison which is under control of the Navy, the entire island is once again under Army control.
 30 April 1954 The California Division of Beaches and Parks occupied the Hospital Cove property under the historical park classification.
 24 August 1954 Contracts for the construction of the Nike-Ajax missile facilities are signed.
 26 August 1954 Construction of the Nike-Ajax facilities began.
 1 March 1955 The State of California receives title to 35 acres at Hospital Cove.
 20 April 1955 The Nike-Ajax missile site is accepted by the Army and dedicated on 9 May 1955. The site is manned by Battery D, 9th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, which became Battery B, 2nd Missile Battalion 51st Artillery. Officers and men, including 18 dependent families, are housed in the East Garrison area of the former Ft. McDowell.
 10 December 1958 The State of California receives title to an additional 183.83 acres of land behind Hospital Cove, including Mount Livermore. This grant is subject only to existing permits to the Army which continues to operate the IFC radar from the top of Mount Livermore.
 1962 Navy closes its Degaussing Station. Army deactivates Nike-Ajax missile site.
 27 December 1962 Control of the remaining 517.24 acres passes to the State of California.
 29 July 1963 The State of California receives title to the remainder of Angel Island, less the Coast Guard Light Stations at Points Blunt and Stuart.
 25 September 1963 Demolition work on 110 old and dilapidated buildings approved.
 27 October 1972 Under the provisions of Public Law (PL) 92-589 Sections 1 (86 Stat 1299), which established the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, control of the property that hosts the active USCG light stations transfers to the National Park Service.
 July 1976 State Legislature appropriates $250,000 to restore and preserve Immigration Station Barracks as a state monument.
 1977 The National Park Service granted a Special-Use Permit to the Coast Guard for continued access, operation, and maintenance rights to the existing navigational aids as provided in section 3.(g) of P.L. 92-589.
 1983 The Immigration Station is opened as a museum.
 2013 The California Volunteers Living History Association opens the East Garrison Guardhouse as a military museum focusing on the island's military history.
 Present Angel Island is currently owned by the State of California and operated as a State Park. The two former Coast Guard Stations are currently owned and managed by the National Park Service

 
Fort McDowell
by Justin M. Ruhge
 
History
 
As presented in an earlier section, Angel Island was the location of the Civil War Camp Reynolds, later called the West Garrison, and the three first batteries built on the island, Points Stuart, Knox and Blunt. After the Civil War, Camp Reynolds became an infantry camp, serving as a depot for recruits, and as a staging area for troops serving in campaigns against the Apache, Sioux, Modoc, and other Native American tribes. The three batteries were eventually allowed to fall into disuse and decay.
 
In 1886, the Endicott Board recommended arming the inner harbor of the San Francisco Bay with new breech-loading small caliber cannon and rapid-fire guns. Three installations were eventually recommended for Angel Island and built by the Corps of Engineers. These were designated as Batteries Ledyard, Wallace and Drew. In 1899 the Army built a quarantine station to serve the troops returning from the Philippines and in 1900 the Army designated the whole island as Fort McDowell.
 
Endicott Batteries
 
Under the Defense Appropriation Act of 1898, funding was available for a single 8-inch battery at Angel Island. Construction began on April 1, 1898 of an emplacement at a site earlier designated as Mortar Hill for Battery Drew. A great deal of preparatory work was necessary, involving the building of stables, quarters, cookhouse, blacksmith shop, and repairs to the Camp Reynolds' wharf and the road from Camp Reynolds.
 
Excavation of the emplacement was completed May 13. Rock was encountered near the front end of the magazine but it was allowed to form a part of the wall of the magazine. On May 6, the foundation for the magazine was put in and ten days later the main concrete work was commenced. The concrete emplacement was completed by June 20. This battery cost $32,500. Battery Drew was completed in March 1900 when the guns and carriage were mounted.
 
At the same time Battery Drew was begun, the Army had three platforms for 8-inch converted rifles constructed at the old Battery Knox location and its' old timber magazine repaired.
 
The one and only rapid-fire battery on Angel Island was approved in December 1899. The plan called for two 5-inch guns mounted in a battery at Point Knox. The estimated costs came to $20, 093. It was to occupy the site of the old Civil War Battery Knox. The recently built platforms for the three 8-inch converted rifles would be removed and the three guns on site would be used elsewhere. This emplacement was to be called Battery Ledyard.
 
About 450 feet behind the site for Battery Ledyard was to be the location of a second 8-inch gun battery named Battery Wallace. These two batteries were completed in 1901.
 
By 1915, all of these batteries were dismounted. There was no need to defend the inner harbor. This was left to the heavy guns at the Golden Gate.
 
 
Mining Casemate
 
As a part of the back San Francisco Bay mining program, a casemate similar to the one built at Fort Mason was constructed on Angel Island at water's edge at the foot of an area referred to as Mortar Hill. Completed in 1891, it still stands in pristine condition today. However, as far as can be determined from the literature, this casemate did not play an active role in the mining of the back bay harbor.
 
In 1897, another casemate was constructed at Quarry Point on Angel Island but it also had little to do with the mining activities.
 
Searchlights
 
In December 1941, elements of the the 216th Coast Artillery Regiment (Anti-Aircraft), a mobilized Minnesota National Guard unit, was stationed on Angel Island. A 60-inch portable searchlight was also located on Livermore Peak. Additionally Seacoast Seachlight No 16 was located at Blunt Point in support of Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat Battry Blunt.
 
 
 
Fort McDowell
 
U.S. Army presence on Angel Island increased significantly in 1899, when Major General William Shafter established a Detention Camp on the Island to contain troops returning from the Philippine Insurrection, who were stricken with or had been exposed to contagious diseases. The 31st Volunteers Infantry was the first unit to occupy the Camp after an outbreak of smallpox.
 
The Camp was located at Quarry Point on the east side of the Island. As early as the 1850s a quarry had been opened on this site. The stone, which was taken from the quarry, was "California Sandstone" and was used at Alcatraz, Fort Point and other defenses around the bay. It was also used extensively in the building of the pre-1906 Bank of California in San Francisco.
 
In 1900, by War Department Orders No. 43, the entire installation was officially named Fort McDowell in honor of Major General Irwin McDowell, who served in the Mexican-American War and led troops in the first battle of Bull Run in the Civil War. The various installations on the Island were referred to by geographic designations. Camp Reynolds became West Garrison, the Immigration Station on the Island was North Garrison and Fort McDowell was called East Garrison. In addition, there was a ship fumigation station at Ayala Cove or Hospital Cove. Here there were located some 40 buildings including a hospital, a 400 bed detention barracks, a disinfecting plant, laboratories and quarters for employees.
The new facilities at Fort McDowell grew quickly from a quarantine station to a discharge depot and by 1905, some 87,000 men had passed through it enroute back and forth to the Pacific locations.
 
In 1910, Fort McDowell was expanded into a major facility for receiving recruits and processing military personnel for overseas assignments. Thus, the Discharge Camp evolved into a Depot of Recruits and Casuals. Recruits were provided with working knowledge of the customs and regulations of the Army and of the early phases of drill and then transferred to their assigned posts.
 
An extensive building program began at Quarry Point to provide accommodations for the expanded depot. The prisoners of the Alcatraz Military Prison supplied much of the labor. Construction included a huge 600-person barracks, a mess hall, a hospital, a guardhouse and officer's quarters. The new construction made Fort McDowell the largest and most elaborate military induction center in the world.
 
In 1917, following the U.S. Declaration of War on Germany, the facilities at Fort McDowell were put to heavy use and even the Immigration Station (North Garrison) was pressed into service as a prison for "enemy aliens" most of them German citizens who had been arrested on board ships in west coast harbors. These people were transferred to permanent detention quarters in North Carolina for the duration of the war.
 
In 1918, Angel Island was used as a debarkation and discharge point for troops returning from the war. In 1919, the establishment was named the Recruit and Replacement Depot. Its duties were to receive, administer and replace troops enroute overseas. Through the 1920s and 1930s, the busy Fort McDowell area inducted, discharged, or handled the transfer of about 40,000 men per year, more than any other American post. The reason for much of this activity was that from 1900 to 1941, the only U.S. military bases outside the United States were in the Pacific and Fort McDowell was the nation's only military overseas processing station.
 
Fort McDowell shared in the general upsurge of military activity from 1938 to 1940 as a result of the European war. An estimated 22,000 men passed through the station each year.
 
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and the outbreak of World War II, the Immigration Station was turned into a prisoner-of-war processing facility. Before the war was over, hundreds of Japanese, German and Italian prisoners were temporarily detained here. At the same time Fort McDowell itself served as a major point of embarkation for troops headed toward the Pacific war zone. Temporary barracks and other structures were built, an anti-aircraft artillery and searchlight station was constructed and manned atop Livermore Peak, and a large new mess hall and other facilities were constructed in the Immigration Station Area.
 
The Army's San Francisco Port of Embarkation acquired command of the Fort during 1943.
 
As troops began to return home at the end of World War II, a 60-foot-high illuminated "Welcome Home, Well Done" sign was erected on the south-facing slope of the Island. The rush continued into 1946 and then tapered off rapidly, so that in July of that year, the Army decided to close down Fort McDowell and declare the entire Island surplus property. On August 28, 1946, the flag was lowered for the last time at Fort McDowell and turned over to the U.S. District Engineer.
 
Eight years later, the Army returned to Angel Island, this time to establish a air defense missile site. Two underground silos housed twelve radar-guided Nike-Ajaz missiles. These were located on the hillside above Point Blunt. The old hospital at East Garrison was remodeled and served as the headquarters and barracks. There were about 100 officers and enlisted men stationed there. This largest of the Bay Area missile sites continued until 1962, when the technology became obsolete. Within the year, the Army decommissioned the base and removed personnel. Today, this area of the Island is off limits to visitors.
 
In 2004, the Island is a State Park. The movement to make the Island into a public park got under way in 1947 and 1948 after the Federal Government declared it surplus property. A thorough study of the Island by John A. Hussey of the National Park Service was completed in 1949. In 1954 a number of citizens' groups, including the Angel Island Foundation and the Marin Conservation League, managed to persuade the State Park Commission to acquire about 37 acres surrounding Ayala Cove. In 1958 additional acreage was acquired and the mountaintop itself was rechristened Mount Caroline Livermore, in honor of the dedicated Marin County conservationist who led the campaign to create Angel Island State Park. With the departure of the Army air defense missle site in 1963 the entire Island was turned over to the State of California for park purposes with the single exception of the Coast Guard Stations on Point Blunt and Point Stuart, which continued in active status.
 
Under the California State Parks the three Endicott battery emplacements have been preserved and can be seen on a tour of the Park.
 
 
References: Fort McDowell, Angel Island, John A. Hussey, National Park Service, 1949; Angel Island State Park California State Parks and Recreation; Angel Island State Park Fort McDowell Historical Guide by Angel Island Association; Vignettes of Angel Island 1863-1962: Guarding the Bay by John Soennichsen, Angel Island Association, 1995; Artillery at the Golden Gate by Brian B. Chin 1994; Seacoast Fortifications San Francisco Harbor by Erwin N. Thompson, 1979; National Archives, San Bruno, California; Presidio Army Museum Archives.
 

Army Units Assigned to Fort McDowell
 

 Data Source

Date(s)

 Unit(s)
Order of Battle of United States Land Forces in the World War (1931-1949)
World War I
Recruit Depot
US Army Order of Battle 1919-1940 1919-1941
Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot
   7 December 1941
Corps Area Support Unit 1938 (Station Complement)
Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot
 Army of the United States Station List  1 June 1943
Angel Island Internment Camp (ASF)
313th Military Police Escort Guard Company (ASF)
1936th Service Command Unit (Angel Island Internment Camp) (ASF)
Staging Area (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot (ASF)
 Army of the United States Station List  7 April 1945
Prisoner of War Processing Station (ASF)
1936th Service Command Unit (Prisoner of War Processing Station) (ASF)
Staging Area (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
108th Women's Army Corps Detachment (ASF)
457th Army Service Forces Band (ASF)
1990th Service Command Unit (Sub-School for Bakers and Cooks) (ASF)
Detachment, 9206th Transportation Corps Technical Service Unit (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
 9th Sevice Command Station List  7 April 1945
Staging Area (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
108th Women's Army Corps Detachment (ASF)
457th Army Service Forces Band (ASF)
Detachment, 9206th Transportation Corps Technical Service Unit (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
Detachment, 9223rd Transportation Corps Technical Service Unit (Casual Detachment) (ASF)
 Army of the United States Station List  7 April 1946
Staging Area (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
Detachment, 9206th Transportation Corps Technical Service Unit (San Francisco Port of Embarkation) (ASF)
Headquarters and Transportation Corps Detachment
Station Medical Detachment
Detachment, 9223rd Transportation Corps Technical Service Unit (Embarkee & Debarkee Transiet Detachment) (ASF)
ASF - Army Service Forces Units
 
San Francisco Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot
Distinctive Unit Insignia, Overseas Discharge and Replacement Depot

Camp Reynolds
by Colonel Herbert Hart, USMC (Ret)
Camp Reynolds, later Fort McDowell's West Garrison

View of Camp Reynolds about 1890. Enlisted mens barracks at left center, with Officers Row at a further distance. Steeple of Post Chapel can be seen on far hillside. A number of these buildings are still standing Barracks, built in 1864, were considered by surgeon, "Well ventilated, and well warmed by large stoves, but imperfectly lighted. They are not lathed or plastered nor ceiled, a very great mistake in this windy climate, and detrimental to the health of the men." Barracks row is along foreground of picture, officers row parallel to walk in center; chapel, later schoolhouse, is on hill to right center. cemetery is in fenced enclosure behind officers' row and to right of flagpole; in 1879 it contained 32 graves. When 1866 inspection took place, post had three officers, 60 men, and 28 guns. Inspector said he found post in "Remarkably good order. There was nothing in the management of it to which exception could be taken."

 
"The camp is situated on the western extremity of the island, in a triangular depression between three hills, which leaves it exposed to the westward fronting the entrance to the harbor, the 'base being a pretty sand beach of about 1,000 feet in length," reported Reynolds surgeon in 1869. The site was 800 by 1,000 feet, with officers' quarters on one side, enlisted on other. Most construction dated from 1864. Wooden barracks were designed for 100 men each. There were six sets of frame officers' quarters, each including two rooms plus kitchen. (Redrawn from McDowell Report, 1876.)
BAK Bakery LAUN Laundry
BAND Q Band Quarters MH Mess Hall
BLK Blacksmith ORD Orderly Room
CH Chapel OQ Officer Quarters
COMM SGT Q Commisary Sergeant's Quarters POST TR Post Trader
GH Guard House QM ST Quartermaster's Stores
H Hospital SCH School
 
 
 
Harbor Defense Fortifications on Angel Island
 
Civil War Period
 

 Battery Name

 Number of Guns

 Type of Gun

 Constructed

 Completed

 Decommissioned

Point Stuart

4

 Smoothbores

1863

 1864

 187(?) (1) (2)

Point Knox

10

 Smoothbores

1863

 1864

? (1) (3)

Point Blunt

7

 Smoothbores

1863

 1865

1866 (1)

Water Battery

-

 Smoothbores

1864

 Not Completed

? (1)
(1) The Angel Island batteries were temporary earthworks. No trace remains today.
(2) One 10" Columbiad and three 32-Pounders
(3) Two 10" Rodman (one currently on display in Santa Monica), one 8" Rodman and four 32-Pounders
 
Endicott Period
 

 Battery Name

 No. of Guns

 Type of Gun

 Type of Carriage

 Constructed

 Completed

 Decommissioned

Drew

 1

 8 Inch M1888

 M1892 Barbette

 1898

-

1915

 Wallace

 1

 8 Inch M1888

 M1896 Disappearing

 1901

-

1920

 Ledyard

2

 5 Inch M1900

 M1903 Pedastal

 1901

-

1920 (1)
(1) Battery Call located at Fort Miley was built for the 5" guns guns removed from Battery Ledyard, Fort McDowell, during the Japanese scare of 1914-1915.
1940 Program and World War II Temporary: Anti-Motor Torpedo Boat Battteries
 

 Battery Name

 Number of Guns

 Type of Gun

 Type of Carriage

 Constructed

 Completed

 Decommisioned

 Blunt

4

90mm M1

 Fixed M3 and Mobile M1

 -

 -

 -

 Knox

2

40mm

Mobile

-

-

 -

 Cove

2

40mm

Mobile

-

-

 -
 
 
Prisoner of War Activities
 
Prisoners of War reading the bulletin board at Fort McDowell's Prisoner of War Processing Station located at the island's North Garrison, formerly the Immigration Station.
 
 
 
 
San Francisco Defense Area Site SF-91
by Daniel Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department
 
This site was opened in 1955. The Intergrated Fire Control (IFC)(SF-91C) area was located at the top of Mount Livermore, the highest point on the island. California State Parks has partially cleared off the tip of the mountain & re-contoured IFC area leaving only the pads for the MTR (Missile Tracking Radar) & acquisition radar, although it’s easy enough to discern the former location of the TTR (Target Tracking Radar).
 
The administration area (SF-91A) was located at East Garrison which was opened circa 1910 The Fort was pretty much abandoned when the Nike people moved in. The base hospital became battery HQ. The men moved into the abandoned officers homes. This site was closed in 1961. It was a Regular Army site manned originally by Battery D of the 9th Anti Aircraft Artillery Missile Battalion which was reorganized under the Combat Arms Regimental System to become Battery D, 2nd Missile Battalion, 51st Artillery Regiment. This site was only armed with the Nike-Ajax guided missile system.
 
The Launcher Area (SF-91L) consisted of 3 magazines (1B2C) with 12 launchers. The assembly building & fueling area are further down the slope,near the Coast Guard station & a pier which the Army probably used for personnel & equipment transfer.
 
With the exception of SF-88 at Fort Barry in the Marin Headlands, SF-91 is probably one of the best-preserved Nike sites in the San Francisco Defense Area.
 
 
Intergrated Fire Control area (SF-91C) on top of Mount Ida (later renamed Mount Livermore)
 
San Francisco Defense Area Site SF-91
by Sacramento District US Army Corps of Engineers
 
San Francisco Defense Area Nike Battery 91 is located 7 miles north of San Francisco, California on Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. The total acreage of 595.50 acres for the site was acquired by direct transfer from the Department of the Interior (DOI) by letter of permit dated February 5, 1954.
 
The property was used as a Nike missile defense site for the identification and tracking of incoming targets and directing Nike missiles in flight. The site consisted of a Launcher Area and IFC Area. No Facility Area was constructed.
 
On October 9, 1960, the 595.50 acres transferred by use permit was relinquished back to DOI. The property was retransferred on March 11, 1963. The area is now used for recreational purposes as Angel Island State Park.
Nike-Ajax missiles in the launch position on Angel Island (SF-91L)
 
 

The Western Electric SAM-A-7/M1/MIM-3 Nike Ajax

The Nike Ajax was the world's first operational surface-to-air guided missile system. Its origins lay in the immediate post-war time, when the U.S. Army realized that guided missiles were the only way to provide air-defense against future fast high-flying bombers. Western Electric became the prime contractor for the XSAM-G-7 Nike missile system and Douglas as the primary subcontractor was responsible for the missile airframe.

The first unguided Nike missiles were fired in 1946, but problems with the original multi-rocket booster (eight solid-fuel rockets wrapped around the missile tail) soon led to delays in the program. In 1948, it was decided to replace this booster pack with a single rocket booster, attached to the back of the missile. The main propulsion of the missile was a Bell liquid-fueled rocket motor, and the flight path was controlled by the four small fins around the nose. In November 1951, the first successful interception of a QB-17 target drone succeeded. The first production Nike (which had been redesignated SAM-A-7 in 1951) flew in 1952, and the first operational Nike site was activated in 1954. By this time, the missile had been designated by the Army as Guided Missile, Anti-Aircraft M1. The name had changed to Nike I, to distinguish it from the Nike-B (later MIM-14 Nike Hercules) and Nike II (later LIM-49 Nike Zeus). On 15 November 1956, the name was finally changed to Nike Ajax.

The Nike Ajax missile used a command guidance system. An acquisition radar called LOPAR (Low-Power Acquisition Radar) picked up potential targets at long range, and the information on hostile targets was then transferred to the Target Tracking Radar (TTR). An adjacent Missile Tracking Radar (MTR) tracked the flight path of the Nike Ajax missile. Using tracking data of the TTR and MTR, a computer calculated the interception trajectory, and sent appropriate course correction commands to the missile. The three high-explosive fragmentation warheads of the missile (in nose, center, and aft section) were detonated by ground command, when the paths of target and missile met.

One of the major disadvantages of the Nike Ajax system was that the guidance system could handle only one target at a time. Additionally, there was originally no data link between different Nike Ajax sites, which could lead to several sites engaging the same target. The latter problem was eventually solved by the introduction of the Martin AN/FSG-1 Missile Master command-and-control system, with automatic data communication and processing. Other problematic features of the Nike Ajax system were the liquid-fuel rocket motor with its highly toxic propellants, and the large size of a complete site with all components, which made Nike Ajax to all intents and purposes a fixed-site air defense system.

By 1958, nearly 200 Nike Ajax sites had been activated in the United States. However, the far more advanced MIM-14 Nike Hercules soon replaced the Nike Ajax, and by late 1963, the last Nike Ajax on U.S. soil had been retired. In 1963, the Nike Ajax had received the new designation MIM-3A. Despite the use of an MIM (Mobile Intercept Missile) designator, the mobility of the Nike Ajax system was more theoretical than actually feasible in a combat situation.

The MIM-3A continued to serve with U.S. overseas and friendly forces for many more years. In total, more than 16,000 missiles were built.

 
 
Maps and Plans
 
Fortification Plans
 
Point Blunt, Point Knox and Point Stuart Batteries, 1864
Point Blunt Battery, 1868
Point Stuart Battery, 1868
Plan of 1870: Mortar Battery
Plan of 1870: Point Blunt Battery
Plan of 1870: Western Batteries
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco on Fort McDowell, 1945
 
 
Site Maps
 
Camp Reynolds, 1879
Fort McDowell, 1909
Fort McDowell, 1936
Fort McDowell, 1942
 
 
Available From Amazon
 
 
Additional Online Histories
 
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco - A Field Guide 1890 to 1950
Coast Artillery Reports of Completed Works
Quartermaster Building Book
Cultural Landscape Report for Angel Island Immigration Station
Building Inventory (2005)
FortWiki
Wikipedia
 
 
 
 
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Updated 8 February 2016