Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park
Fort Abercrombie State Historic Park is an Alaskan state park on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Located on the eastern shore of the island, 5 miles from the city of Kodiak, the park is made up of 182 acres of land at the end of Miller Point. Established in 1969, the park is noted for its historical World War II fortifications and vistas, which include meadows, forests, and bluffs overlooking the ocean. The park was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970, and was included in the National Historic Landmark designation of the Kodiak Naval Operating Base and Forts Greely and Abercrombie in 1985.
Backstory and Context
The Miller Point area was initially identified as a military reservation by an Executive Order in 1941. By November 11 of the same year, an order directed that the post be continually manned. On December 7, a battalion observation post was established on the point. Shortly after, Battery G the 250th Cost Artillery Regiment set up a searchlight position below the edge of the sea cliff.
During the spring of 1942, engineers explored the area before installing gun emplacements. After surveying, two 8-inch naval guns were mounted. Rare armaments for coastal defense installations, these weapons were relics of World War I and had been supplanted during the conflict by more modern weapons. Piedmont Point housed an additional observation post and a radar tower.
In 1943, a War Department Order designated the Miller Point area as Fort Abercrombie, in honor of Lieutenant William H. Abercrombie, noted explorer of Alaska.
At the end of the war, the post was deactivated and remaining armaments were destroyed with explosives. The elements that survive are gun emplacements, underground magazines, and foundational remnants of buildings. The Kodiak Military History Museum is a private military museum located in Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park. The museum is located in the restored Ready Ammunition bunker on Miller Point.
25 years after World War II, the site was transferred to Alaska's Division of Lands for development as a State Park. In addition to the remaining military elements, the park also features campsites, a picnic shelter, picnic sites, a stocked lake, multiple scenic views, a ranger station, and beach access.
The northern temperate rainforest of Fort Abercrombie is dominated by Sitka spruce and a shade-tolerant understory. The lush, green forest is an ideal environment for the growth of many special of mosses. In addition to the forests, coastal meadows provide visitors with the opportunity to see a variety of wildflowers.
The state park also offers a multitude of wildlife viewing opportunities. A variety of mammals (brown mat, short-tailed weasel, land otter, tundra vole, deer, muskrat, brown bear) can be seen within the park. There is exceptional whale watching from Miller Point, where humpback, fin, gray, and orca whales can be spotted. Other aquatic mammals, such as harbor seals, sea lions, and sea otters frequent the coastline. Additonally, 95 bird species inhabit the park and its shores throughout the year.
Fort Abercrombie State Historical Park brochure, FtAbercrombie_2016page1.pdf. Accessed June 18th 2020. http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/brochures/ftabercrombiebrochure.pd
Fort Abercrombie State Historic Site National Register of Historic Places Form, 70000917_text. Accessed June 18th 2020. https://npgallery.nps.gov/NRHP/GetAsset/NRHP/70000917_text.
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