Fort MacArthur served as a permanent harbor defense installation ...

... from 1914 to 1974, and in its day Fort MacArthur consisted of the Lower, Middle and Upper Reservations. 

The Middle Reservation, which is pictured here, now houses Air Force personnel.

The Lower Reservation served as a training center for the soldiers headed for the front lines of World War I. More than 4,500 soldiers at one time were stationed here before the end of the war. 

The Lower Reservation was dredged to make way for the creation of the beautiful Cabrillo Marina.

The Upper Reservation is where you will find Battery Osgood-Farley which housed the 14-inch disappearing carriage rifles.

Now housed in the corridors and galleries of this historic Battery, is the Fort MacArthur Museum. The museum was established in 1985 and is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the history of Fort MacArthur. 


No military post has played as an important role in the development of Los Angeles than that of this military facility, named after Lt. General Arthur MacArthur. His son, Douglas MacArthur, led our forces in the Pacific during World War II. 

Construction of the facility began in 1914 but it was not until March of 1917, that the first regular Army unit, was transferred here from Fort Scott, California. 

It was not until this same year that the Army completed its construction of four batteries of 14-inch disappearing carriage rifles and two batteries of 12-inch mortars on Point Fermin. 

World War I accelerated the building program at the fort, constructing coastal defense batteries on the Upper Reservation. 

With the end of the war, the facility returned to its peacetime mission as a Coast Artillery post, but it continued to serve as the guardian of the harbor, ready to defend if needed. 

By the early 1920s, the fort's armament was outmoded in comparison to the naval ordnance of that time. So, in 1925 and 1930, the Army installed two modern 14-inch railroad guns on the Middle Reservation. 

Anti-aircraft units supplemented the fort's defenses in the 1930s. Even though the political theme of the day was that of strict neutrality and isolationism, the War Department foresaw the need for a new and improved-type of harbor defense. 

They shifted the emphasis from the heavy coastal defense weapons to that of antiaircraft and antisubmarine weapons. 

Between 1954 and 1970, the Fort was part of the Nike surface-to-air defense system. Over eighteen missile launch sites were administered through Fort MacArthur at its peak in 1958. 

In 1954, installed at White Point was a Nike Ajax missile launching complex. Batteries Leary - Merriam were converted as its radar control station and the launch facility was later upgraded to support the nuclear-armed Nike Hercules System. 

The Nike missile system was declared obsolete in the 1970's and all the sites deactivated.

In 1977, the Army decided that this facility no longer fit its needs and it then transferred over to the Air Force as a housing and administration facility.

"Cabrillo Beach   Bathhouse" 

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