Marin Headlands – Battery Wallace


Generally speaking the defense works at the Golden Gate had relatively short working lives. As new naval capacities were developed, shore batteries became obsolete or were reformulated to make them both survivable and effective. Located inland from Battery Mendell, Battery Wallace started out as a late Endicott Period open air gun emplacement. It was completed in 1919 to mount two 12-inch coastal rifles on state of the art Model 1917 carriages. The guns, mounted 420 feet apart, could fire their massive projectiles up to 17 miles seaward.

MarinHeadlands - Battery Wallace

Battery Wallace’s northern gun emplacement with Rodeo Lagoon in the background.

Twenty-five years later, as World War II approached, the Army redesigned Battery Wallace to provide overhead cover as a defense from attack by aircraft. This casemating of the battery, completed in 1944, provided a steel reinforced concrete enclosure for the guns as well as underground rooms for munitions, equipment and storage. The earth cover for the casemating provided both camouflage and blast protection. By 1948, long-range aircraft and the prospect of missiles rendered the battery permanently obsolete after 30 years of service – a relatively long lifespan for a coastal defense work.

MarinHeadlands - Battery Wallace

A view of the southern gun emplacement looking south to Land’s End in San Francisco.

These photographs are from a fine spring day in 2014. Battery Wallace remains snuggly settled into the surrounding landscape, the mature vegetation carpeting its earth cover presently convincingly as a natural hill.

Here is a set of images from the session that I have posted to Flickr:


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