Fort Worden (1897-1953) was the only military coastal defense post built to the precepts of the Endicott Board on land that was already occupied by an older fortification, and it was one of the largest Endicott system forts to be built. It was also the only one within range of a potential enemy fortification, a British military post on Vancouver Island in Canada. Named after Rear Admiral John L. Worden, U.S. Navy, who was in command of the original "Monitor" during the civil war. The fort was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.
Backstory and Context
Construction of the fortifications was under the supervision of the Army Corps of Engineers and it took 200 men three years (1897-1901) to complete the first six batteries and another year to get them all armed and operational. It was not until 3 May 1902 when the first detachment of 126th Coastal Artillery Company arrived that Fort Worden was first garrisoned. Six placements of artillery would be placed around Fort Worden: Battery Ash, Battery Powell, Battery Brannan, Battery Quarles, Battery Randal, and Battery Vicars. All of these gun emplacements would be ready for active use in 1902. In 1904 the headquarters of the Harbor Defense of Puget Sound would be transferred from Fort Flager to Fort Worden. From 1908 to 1912, two additional gun batteries were accepted for service: Battery Benson on "Artillery Hill" and Battery Kinzie on Point Wilson. When completed, Fort Worden had 41 artillery pieces, completing its part of the "Triangle of Fire"
During World War 1 Fort Worden would be greatly expanded with the addition of temporary training barrack and facilities. Many of Fort Worden's 41 artillery pieces were dismounted and prepared for shipment to European battlefields late in the war but few actually were sent when it became clear that they were not needed. Many of the guns were ordered remounted and the batteries reactivated. Through World War 2 Fort Worden would remain the headquarters of the Harbor Defense Command. Fort Worden would be home to the 14th Coast Artillery Regiment of the U.S. Army, the 248th Regiment of the Washington National Guard, and the 2nd Amphibious Engineers. The Coast Artillery units at Fort Worden were disbanded and the gun batteries were dismantled. It remained active as an administrative unit until 30 Jun 1953, when the Harbor Defense Command was deactivated and the fort officially closed.
George, Peter. Fort Worden History. Fort Worden: Rebirth Through Decay. Accessed May 01, 2018. https://fortwordenbook.com/fort-worden-history/.
McClary, Daryl C.. Triangle of Fire - The Harbor Defenses of Puget Sound (1897-1953). November 11, 2005. Accessed May 01, 2018. http://www.historylink.org/File/7524.