Batteries East and West

During the Civil War, advances in artillery proved that masonry forts in the style of Fort Point were unable to withstand bombardment by heavy ordnance. Consequentially, the period following the war was marked by innovative revisions in seacoast defense. In this era, brick and mortar forts were gradually replaced by earthwork batteries.
Battery East around 1900.
Battery East around 1900. Angel Island is visible in the background.

National Park Service, GGNRA

In 1872, work began on several new gun positions on the coastal bluffs behind Fort Point. By 1873, the first emplacement—called West Battery—was completed and armed with twelve 15-inch Rodman cannon. That same year, construction began on Battery East and a covered path was soon built to connect batteries East and West. During the Spanish-American War of 1898, 8-inch rifled Rodman cannon were emplaced at Battery East.
Powder magazine at Battery West.
A powder magazine at Battery West as it appears today. The concrete structure to the right is part of Battery Godfrey.

National Park Service, GGNRA

When the Endicott-period batteries were constructed at the Presidio during the 1890’s, Battery West was almost completely destroyed. At Battery East, however, the earthen works built to protect the large Rodman guns are still visible, as are the brick-lined magazines used to store ammunition. The site commands beautiful views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and downtown.
A Battery East emplacement today.
A gun emplacement at Battery East as it appears today.

National Park Service, GGNRA



Thompson, Erwin N. Historic Resource Study: Seacoast Fortifications, San Francisco Harbor. California: GGNRA, 1979.

Last updated: January 9, 2017

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

201 Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA 94123


Phone is answered daily from 10 am to 5 pm. Leave a message otherwise and we will get back to you. United States Park Police Dispatch: Non-Emergency: 415-561-5505 Emergency: 415-561-5656

Contact Us