• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

Fort Scott: Battery Boutelle (1900-1917)

Battery Boutelle
Three 5-inch rapid fire guns mounted on balanced pillar mounts at Battery Boutelle. In this rare photograph, the guns are traversed (rotated) out of the normal field of fire.
Rod Crossley Collection
 

General Information

This Endicott-era battery was completed and armed in 1900 with three 5-inch rapid fire guns mounted on balanced pillar mounts, which were designed to defend against mine sweepers and fast torpedo boats. These guns had a range of seven miles and could be fired at the rate of up to thirty rounds per minute. Like most light artillery, these guns were loaded with ammunition cases similar to the cartridges used in infantry rifles. The weight of one cartridge was nearly sixty pounds.

The three guns were dismounted in 1917 for service as field artillery during World War I. In the original plans, this battery was to have four emplacements--but the No.1 gun pit, on the right, was never built. The battery was constructed on the former site of Battery West and incorporated three of the old battery’s magazines for storage of non-explosive articles and to shelter the gun crews.

Origin of Name

Battery Boutelle was named in honor of Lieutenant Henry M. Boutelle, who was killed in action near Aliago, Philippine Islands in 1899.

 
Battery Boutelle today
Modern-day view of Battery Boutelle overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands.
National Park Service, GGNRA
 

Access and Current Condition

Battery Boutelle is located on the coastal bluffs near the Golden Gate toll plaza. It can be reached via Lincoln Boulevard to Merchant Street; the Coastal Trail runs adjacent to the gun battery. Parking is available along Merchant Road in a graveled parking area. Access to the interior magazines is not allowed.

Encroaching vegetation was recently removed from around the battery and preservation work to stabilize the battery’s condition was carried out. Safety railings have been installed.

 

Did You Know?

The 6th Army Band during Alpert's service.

Herb Alpert, Grammy Award-winning bandleader of the Tijuana Brass, played in the 6th Army Band at the Presidio during the 1950's. Alpert later claimed the structure and discipline of the Army helped him with his music.