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

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

Bradley Shelley Collection

GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection Coast artillery
The Model 1892, 12-inch Barbette Carriage (left) was part of the coastal defense system utilized at Fort Winfield Scott. The Coast Artillery Gun (right) at Fort Winfield Scott is camouflaged for use during World War I.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766
 
GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection 38th Company PSF

Soldiers of the 38th Company, Coast Artillery Corps, standing in formation at the Presidio of San Francisco.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766

In February 1901, the previous organization for the U.S. Army artillery was replaced by a new system. This new system included 126 companies of heavy (coast) artillery and 30 companies of light (field) artillery and was established under the Army Reorganization Act. Field artillery batteries and coast artillery companies were separated into two distinct corps under the Army Reorganization Act, and the coast artillery assumed responsibility of coastal defenses and mine fields. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt appointed Secretary of War William Howard Taft to draft a review board and then make recommendations for improvement of the Coast Artillery Corps in light of lessons learned from the Spanish American War. As the use of coastal artillery became more prevalent, the U.S. Army realized men needed specialized training to adequately operate the artillery instruments.

 
GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection Raymond Shelley playing billiards

Raymond D. Shelley, pictured fourth from the right, and his brothers-in-arms from the 38th Company play billiards on post at the Presidio of San Francisco.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766

In 1907, field artillery batteries and coast artillery companies were separated into two distinct corps. The coast artillery assumed responsibility of coastal defenses and mine fields. Throughout the first decade of the 20th century, the Coast Artillery Corps implemented the Taft Board’s recommendations by building fortifications in newly acquired territories, such as Cuba, the Philippines, and Hawaii. They also built defenses in Panama under the authorization of the Spooner Act and upgraded domestic coastal fortifications from the previous Endicott program.

 
GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection 1910 Christmas Menu

This menu commemorates the 38th Company’s Christmas celebration at the Presidio of San Francisco in 1910. Private Ray D. Shelley’s name appears in the lower portion of the roster.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766

One such beneficiary of improvements recommended by the Taft Board was Fort Winfield Scott, named for the first commander of the Union Army in the Civil War. Although the Presidio already had a coast artillery presence that began in approximately 1891, Fort Scott was formally established as headquarters of the Artillery District of San Francisco in June of 1912. Eventually, Fort Scott was designated as headquarters of the Coast Defenses in San Francisco in 1922.

In 1910, Raymond Shelley was stationed at the Presidio of San Francisco with the 38th Company, Coast Artillery Corps. During subsequent processes of reorganization, the 38th was re-designated as the 4th Company, Coast Artillery, and in 1917 was re-designated as the 1st Company when it moved to Fort Macarthur.

 
GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection tents
These two photographs depict members of the 38th Company, Coast Artillery Corps encamped near the Presidio of San Francisco. Private Ray D. Shelley is seen in the image on the right in the foreground awaiting his turn for a shave.
Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766
 
GOGA-1766 Bradley Shelley Collection Troop Encampment Fort Barry 1920s

The pictured troop encampment was established near the Fort Barry Rifle Range in the Marin Headlands in the 1920s. This is the current site of the Presidio Riding Club and features a balloon hangar.

Golden Gate NRA, Park Archives, Bradley Shelley Collection, GOGA-1766

While stationed on post, Shelley would have witnessed the emergence of a multi-faceted coastal defense system, renamed Harbor Defenses of San Francisco in 1925. The Harbor Defenses included areas at Forts Baker, Barry, Cronkhite, Miley, and Funston.

Although an integral part of coastal defenses during World War II, Fort Scott was designated a sub-post of the Presidio at the end of the war. The U.S. Army's Coast Artillery School, which was only briefly on post, was transferred to Virginia. As technology continued to advance, the coast artillery system of harbor defenses was rendered obsolete with its duties absorbed into the regular Army in 1950.

The collection was donated to the Presidio Army Museum by Bradley Shelley, Raymond's grandson, in 1973.

 
 

Did You Know?

International peace symbol for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament

The international peace symbol was designed in 1958 as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and has deliberately never been copyrighted.