March 09, 2010

The Golden Gate's Fort Point (part 1 of 3)

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Fort Point has long been considered a perfect place for guarding the entrance to San Francisco Bay -- and the discovery of gold in 1848 made it obvious that the Bay needed defending.

The original construction of Fort Point dates back to the Civil War (((1861-1865))), and even before that the Spanish had a twelve gun fortification at this location, but the fort holds the distinction of never having to fire a single shot at any enemy.

Oh, the photo -- it's from inside the stairway turret, looking out through the graffiti to the blurry bridge in the background.   Okay, okay, probably not a very good shot, but I like it.   Photowannabe's family visited Fort Point on Saturday (((I visited on Sunday))) so with a bit of imagination I suppose these could be messages from her "crew" of relatives...

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

We have Richard Strauss, the architect of the Golden Gate Bridge to thank for saving Fort Point from demolition to clear way for construction of the bridge in the early 1930's.   Strauss (((and probably a few civic groups))) saw the value to preserving the unique and heavily fortified structure as a military relic.

The south end of the bridge would have been a lot easier to construct had not Fort Point been in the way.   A giant assemblage of bridge girders formed into an arch gracefully span over the top of the tall fort.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

The complex brickwork at Fort Point is absolutely amazing -- almost all interior walls are curved and arched for strength, making up large chambers for the cannons and gun crews.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Fort Point is essentially a platform for three tiers of 103 smooth-bore cannons arranged in a rectangle.   There was no need for cannons on the southeast side so that's where the normal functions of military life were carried out.   Oh you know, all the normal stuff -- a jail, a few rooms with kegs of gun-powder, spartan barracks and luxurious officer's quarters, mess hall, medic, barber, privy, and maybe -- just maybe -- an office for the Ministry of Silly Walks...

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photowannabe said...

Love your shots Don. I'm glad you got our messages on the window. We had to do it quickly while nobody was around...
I especially like the last picture with the rough wood.
Fort Point can be a photographers perfect spot.
Happy you made the trip finally.
I posted more pictures of the Fort for my ABC Wednesday post. Drop by.

Tomate Farcie said...

How did you get so much light (shot #2) ? Great series!

AphotoAday said...

HI PHOTOWANNABE SUE, --Thanks again for getting me there -- I had no idea it was such a neat place... The photos you took are great...

AND HI TOMATE FARCIE -- The shot you are referring to -- the curved brickwork -- was being well illuminated by sunlight bounding off concrete, so I was able to get away with 1/80 at f-4 with ISO-100... I'll be showing some other interior shots tomorrow and the next day.

W.C.Camp said...

Very attractive work. You seem to capture the warmth and austerity of the place all in a single frame.


Anonymous said...


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