Fort Stevens (Oregon)
Fort Stevens was an American military installation that guarded the mouth of the Columbia River in the state of Oregon. Built near the end of the American Civil War, it was named for a slain Civil War general and former Washington Territory governor, Isaac I. Stevens. The fort was an active military reservation from 1863–1947. It is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Warrenton, Clatsop County, Oregon|
|Controlled by||United States Army|
|Battles/wars||World War II attack|
|Location||Fort Stevens State Park, Hammond, Oregon|
|Area||542 acres (219 ha)|
|NRHP reference No.||71000678|
|Added to NRHP||September 22, 1971|
The fort was constructed in 1863-64 during the Civil War as an earthwork battery on the south shore of the mouth of the Columbia River, and was known as the Fort at Point Adams. It was later Fort Stevens in 1865, in honor of the former territorial governor of Washington, Isaac Stevens, who had been killed in action. Fort Stevens was the primary military installation in what became the "Three Fort Harbor Defense System" at the mouth of the Columbia River. The other forts were the Post at Cape Disappointment, later Fort Cape Disappointment and later Fort Canby, built at the same time as Fort Stevens, and Fort Columbia, built between 1896 and 1904. Both are on the Washington side of the river. The fort was meant to defend the mouth of the Columbia from potential British attack during the Pig War of 1859 and subsequent ongoing regional tensions through 1870 in the San Juan Islands, and was important during the 1896-1903 Alaska Boundary Dispute, when British-American tensions again were high and the two countries were on the brink of war.
World War IIEdit
After WWI, the U.S. Navy established a radio station onboard Ft. Stevens for communication with the fleet. Additionally, in 1932 the Navy co-located a secret radio intercept station at Ft. Stevens to listen-in on Japanese navy coded messages. Specially trained radiomen from the "On-the-Roof-Gang" were stationed to the listening post. The station was designated "S" because of the Ft. Stevens location. In September 1939, the U.S. Navy relocated Station S to Fort Ward on Bainbridge Island, Washington because of better intercept conditions.
On the night of June 21–22, 1942, the Japanese submarine I-25 surfaced off Fort Stevens and fired 17 shells from her 14 cm-calibre deck gun, making Fort Stevens the first military installation in the Contiguous United States to come under enemy fire in World War II. The Japanese attack caused no damage to the fort itself, it only destroyed the backstop of the post's baseball field.
Fort Stevens was decommissioned in 1947. All the armaments were removed and buildings were auctioned. The grounds were transferred to the Corps of Engineers, until finally being turned over to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
Much of Fort Stevens is preserved within Fort Stevens State Park, part of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. The 3,700-acre (15 km2) park includes camping, beach access, swimming at Coffenbury Lake, trails, and a military history museum.
In the MediaEdit
Fort Stevens was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures entitled "Graveyard of the Pacific: Commander's House" that aired in 2018 on the Travel Channel. The team of paranormal investigators explored Battery Mishler, one of the artillery stations with underground tunnels at the fort where eyewitnesses report seeing a male shadow figure in the Magazine room. The fort is also said to be haunted by a soldier (August Stallberger) who was mysteriously beaten to death by "person(s) unknown" while on duty in 1868.
- Board of Fortifications
- Attacks on United States territory in North America during World War II
- Oregon Coast Trail, the northern terminus is in Fort Stevens
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
- "Fort Stevens". The Coast Defense Study Group, Inc. Archived from the original on 2013-03-09. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- Carey, History of Oregon, pg. 672.
- "Fort Stevens State Park". Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Retrieved 2008-11-23.
- "HARBOR DEFENSES OF THE COLUMBIA, The Coast Defense Study Group, Inc". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-18.
- Gaines, William C., Coast Artillery Organizational History, 1917-1950, Coast Defense Journal, vol. 23, issue 2
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