Many of the coastal defense remnants built
to protect San Diego are generally inaccessible to the public.
A few structures are on land controlled by the Cabrillo National
Monument. Arrangements may be made to visit some of the batteries
on Navy property by contacting the Navy Public Relations Officer
at San Diego. Cabrillo National Monument has a good general information
on the subject.
Cabrillo Historical Association
P.O. Box 6670
San Diego, CA 92106
Naval Receiving Facility, Imperial Beach, California Highway
75 W to 8th St., straight west on Palm St., north on Silver Strand
Blvd., to Gate. Access: By permission only.
This area was used for harbor defenses during the war. It was
named after Brigadier General William H. Emory in 1942. The area
was turned over to the Navy in 1947 which has converted the gun
bunkers, Battery 134 and Battery Grant (#239), into a Naval radio
receiving station. All gun batteries still exist, though overgrown
somewhat. Access to the area is very restricted, though the hills
of the two 1940 constructions are readily visible from outside
Fort Pio Pico
North Island Naval Air Station: No public access.
The only structures built by the Army at Fort Pio Pico were Battery
Meed and a cable terminal box. The post was named after the last
Mexican governor of Alta California, Pio Pico. The post was abandoned
by the Army in the 1920s and subsequently turned over to the
Navy with the rest of the old Army Rockwell Air Field on North
Island (est. 1917) in 1935. Subsequent construction has obliterated
these structures and even the site itself.
Cabrillo National Monument: Visitor's Center, hiking trails
Naval Ocean Systems Center
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery : Rosecrans Blvd. (SH 209) to
Cannon Blvd, follow signs (SH 209) to Catalina Blvd., and south
to gate. Public Access to National Monument and National Cemetery
Access to Naval facilities by permission only.
Naval Submarine Base, San Diego: Entrance gate at the end of
Roscrans Blvd. Access to base by permission only.
Point Loma was reserved as a military reservation by the United
States in 1852, as it had been part of the public domain under
the Mexican government. The small battery built by the Spanish
in 1797 at Ballast Point had long since fallen into decay. A
battery was constructed at Ballast Point by the Army in 1873,
but was never completed. New construction began in 1896 on 4
batteries on Ballast Point with the barracks and associated buildings
nearby. The post was named in 1899 after Maj. Gen. William S.
Rosecrans, a prominent Civil War veteran. New construction added
weapons to the post's arsenal in 1914, 1937, 1941 and 1943. In
June of 1959, the Army turned over control of the remainder of
the reservations to the Navy .
Today, there are a considerable number of remnants from the Army's
tenure at Point Loma, but most are on Navy property and generally
off limits to the public. Cabrillo National Monument has some
information in their visitor center and a bay-shore trail goes
by a number of fire control and searchlight installations. At
the bend in the road enroute to the oceanside section of the
monument is the site of a 4 gun 155mm emplacement, but only one
mount has been uncovered, and there are no interpretive signs.
The Navy Submarine Base is the location of a number of old Army
buildings, but the rest of the emplacements are generally off
limits to all unauthorized personnel. The HECP is visible from
the NW corner of the National Cemetery and Battery White (4-12"
M) can be seen from the eastern edge of the cemetery. The cemetery
is the final resting place of a number of distinguished American
Service men, including the men who fell in the Battle of San
Pasqual (near present day Escondido) during the Mexican War.
For all coastal defenses
built in the smoothbore era, (Spanish, American Third system
and Post-Civil War periods), the number of guns actually emplaced
was usually less than the number of emplacements built. Many
of the cannons were on hand and not emplaced and those numbers
changed from year to year. In addition, there often were several
different calibers of cannons present. The calibers of the Spanish
era cannons were given by the weight of the round shot fired
by the gun, i.e. a 42 pounder. The Americans had cannons of calibers
given both in pounds or inches of bore. These are not delineated
in the table as those of later years are.
(1) Battery McGrath's guns
were removed in 1917. In 1919 the guns of Battery Meed at Fort
Pio Pico were transfered to Battery McGrath.
(2) The concrete emplacement
of Battery Fetterman was destroyed in July 1940.
(3) Battery Meed was damaged by storm waves in 1914. After Battery
Meed's guns were removed in 1919, the post and the rest of North
Island was turned over to the Navy in 1935. All trace has been
destroyed by the development of the Naval Air Station.
Four of these mortars were
from Fort DeSoto, Florida, and 4 were from Fort DuPont, Delaware.
Battery Whistler is now substantially altered to a underwater
testing tank facility. The breeches for a 12-inch and a 16-înch
naval gun are also inside.