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

    Presidio of San Francisco

    California

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Fort Scott: Battery Lancaster (1898-1918)

12-inch gun at Battery Lancaster
An artillery crew prepares to fire a 12-inch gun at Battery Lancaster; one soldier has climbed to the end of the tube to remove the muzzle cover. Fort Baker is visible in the background across the Golden Gate strait.
National Park Service, GGNRA
 

General Information

Built to provide seaward defenses against enemy ships, this Endicott-era battery was armed with three 12-inch guns mounted on disappearing carriages. These guns had a range of about six miles and could fire at the rate of one round per minute. Battery Lancaster was unique in that it was the only major Endicott-era battery on the south shore of the Golden Gate that aimed directly at the narrowest part of the strait.

Two of the three 12-inch guns were dismounted and shipped to the Watervliet Arsenal for use elsewhere during World War I. The third gun was transferred to Battery Chester at Fort Miley.

Origin of Name

Battery Lancaster was named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel James Lancaster of the Third Artillery, a West Point graduate and Civil War veteran who died in 1900.

 
Battery Lancaster today
Gun emplacement #1 at Battery Lancaster as it appears today. The emplacement has been incorporated into the Golden Gate Bridge visitor center.
National Park Service, GGNRA
 

Access and Current Condition

Battery Lancaster is adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge toll plaza. Emplacement #1 is partially incorporated into the pedestrian walkway to the bridge and the Visitor Gift Center. Emplacement #3 was partially demolished to accommodate the Golden Gate Bridge’s roadbed; however, the left side of the battery remains visible. The interior magazines are used for storage and access is prohibited.

The battery can be reached via Lincoln Boulevard and parking is available in the toll plaza parking lot. The remaining emplacement is well maintained but has been modified to accommodate foot traffic. The battery’s gun platform has been filled in with dirt and gravel.

 

Did You Know?

Refugees in line for supplies, 1906

In the three days following the 1906 earthquake, the Army's refugee camps at the Presidio issued 3,000 tents, 12,000 shelter halves, 13,000 ponchos, 58,000 pairs of shoes, and 24,000 regulation blue shirts.