• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking towards San Francisco at sunrise.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Tunnel Closure

    The Barry/Baker tunnel on Bunker Road will be closed for maintenance during the weeks of 6/2 and 6/9. The tunnel will be open on the weekends. Please use Conzelman Road instead. More »

  • Muir Beach Overlook closure

    The Muir Beach Overlook will be closed for Accessibility improvements and trail upgrades from June 2 through July 21. Alternate viewpoints are available along Highway 1 between there and Stinson Beach.

Fire Control (Aiming the Guns)

Fire control used a system of observation posts, plotting rooms, and command stations. Radar and listening devices were used to detect incoming aircraft, searchlights helped aim the guns at night, and observation planes flew out of Hamilton Airfield in Marin County. The Army and Navy coordinated the entire operation from the Harbor Defense Command Post at Fort Scott.
 
drawing of soldiers inside a World War II base end station observation point
Each gun battery and offshore minefield had a set of observation posts, called base end stations, scattered along the coast. This drawing shows a section of a typical base end station and how two soldiers worked closely within the narrows confines of the structure. Many of these small dug-in "bunkers" can still be seen on the bluffs today.
Image courtesy of the Parks Conservancy
 
photo of soldiers looking through telescopes to determine target direction
Soldiers used telescopes to determine the direction, or compass bearing, of enemy ships at specific time intervals. These men were trained to identify enemy ships only by their silhouettes (notice the training posters behind the men that show the different shapes of ships and submarines).
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library
 
photo of permanent searchlight on open bluffs at the coast
This photo shows a permanently-installed searchlight constructed at a ridge above the coast line. Both mobile and stationary searchlights helped to aim guns at enemy aircraft and torpedo boats during the night.
PARC, Golden Gate National Recreation Area
 
photo of soldiers around a plotting room in Battery Davis, Fort Funston
Data from base end stations was phoned to plotting rooms, where triangulation methods were used to plot a ship's distance, course, and speed with the help of trigonometric tables and analog computers. Based on this information, the battery command station phoned targeting orders to each gun emplacement. This photo shows Harbor Defense of San Francisco soldiers at the plotting room in Battery Davis, at Fort Funston.
Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

Did You Know?

Presidio Trust & Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Golden Gate National Recreation Area works in partnership with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and the Presidio Trust in Volunteer Management. These creative partners have widened the scope of diversity and taken the program to a higher level.