Saturday, July 15, 2006

7/15/06 Golden Gate NRA Part 4 - Fort Point NHS

Fort Point今天所在的位置在金門大橋進舊金山那一端的正下方。在Fort Point建好之前的十八世紀,加州是西班牙人的領土,為了防範英軍還有俄軍對舊金山灣可能的攻擊,在現在Fort Point的地方蓋了一座簡單的泥磚堡壘。

十 九世紀,加州變成美國的領土之後,Fort Point於1853開始動工,在1861完工,是當初美國第三代海岸堡壘防禦系統(Third System seacoast defense system)的其中一座堡壘。大部份美國的這些堡壘都建在東岸,而Fort Point是唯一一座在密西西比河以西的Third System保壘。在美國南北戰爭期間,雖然聯邦軍有派兵駐守在這兒,不過很幸運地,南方軍並沒有攻打到舊金山。原本有一艘戰船本來有任務要攻擊Fort Point,但行駛到一半的途中,接獲消息說南北戰爭已經結束了。

南北戰爭期間,更厲害的武器的發明,使得第三代的 海岸防禦堡壘的防衛方法變得過時了。Fort Point裡的軍人慢慢被徹走,直到二次世界大戰美軍才會再度長期派兵在Fort Point防守舊金山灣。二戰結束,要宣佈建蓋金門大橋時,原先的計劃是要將Fort Point一塊拆除。所幸金門大橋的設計師知道Fort Point歷史上的意義還有建築上的價值,因此蓋金門大橋的過程中,他們特地為Fort Point搭了一個保護的拱型罩,使Fort Point安然無恙。之後,當地退休的軍官還有一些土木工程師,聯合署名希望可被列入古蹟保護,因此在1970,被尼克遜總統簽名同意成立Fort Point National Historic Site。
Fort Point National Historical Site (NHS), signed by Richard Nixon in 1970 to preserve it, is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA).  The fort sits beneath the south end of Golden Gate Bridge, where in the absence of the Bridge in the 18th and 19th century, this very location was used by the Spanish and then later the United States strategically to guard against possible invasion of the San Francisco Bay.

The actual Fort Port was built by the US Army Engineers between 1853 and 1861, part of the United States' Third System seacoast defense.  In fact, Fort Point is the only Third System fort west of the Mississippi River.  After visiting many forts on the East Coast, I would come to understand better the Third System forts and their history.  Unfortunately Fort Point history this day seemed a bit distant to me.

Fort Point didn't really see any action during the pre-Civil War and Civil War era.  The Confederate Army decided to attack Fort Point, but on its way it learned that the war was over.  In addition, new artillery inventions made the Third System forts' defense obsolete.  Fort Point would not be continually occupied until the Second World War, when it was stationed again for possible attack of the San Francisco Bay.

Construction of the Golden Gate Bridge also had initial plans to demolish Fort Point.  Luckily, the chief engineer valued Fort Point's historical and architectural significance, so it was protected during the entire construction of the Bridge.  Retired military officers and other civilian engineers later rallied to historically preserve the fort and so Fort Point NHS was finally created in 1970. 

Early photograph of Fort Point, courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration
沒有金門大橋前的Fort Point

Layout of Fort Point
Fort Point規劃圖

Inside of Fort Point, with lighthouse on top 
Fort Point內部,上面還有一座燈塔

cannon mounts

cannon in Fort Point
Fort Point裡的大砲

Fort Point and Golden Gate Bridge in the background
Fort Point和正上方的金門大橋。

Fort Point總共有三層樓,外加上頂樓。二樓和三樓是軍官和士兵的住所,不過三層樓都建有城牆內的砲臺以及可供步槍射擊的縫,來有效防守堡壘並擊退敵人。頂 樓除了砲臺之外,還有一座燈塔,不過當金門大橋蓋好之後,因為光會被橋擋住而停止運作。Fort Point開放時間為週五至週日早上十點到下午五點, 不收門票。如果有空有興趣想順道過來參觀的人,應該要事先規劃,不然到了卻關門就可惜了。Fort Point的ranger常常會有上大砲火藥的示範,bookstore旁的小劇場還有一個30分鐘的影片可以看。不知道為啥,我每次去Fort Point的時候,二者都沒看到。

另 外,Fort Point就在灣旁邊,所以不論是陰天還是晴天,那邊的風都非常大。尤其是跑到頂樓看舊金山市區,往上看金門大橋,或是往北看Marin County,風有時會大到有點站不穩。千萬不要不信邪,因為在市區很熱,就只穿個短袖進去。如果撇開這個小小的問題,從Crissy Field那兒一帶到底端的Fort Point,其實是舊金山風景相當美麗的一段。

There are three floors in Fort Point, and another top level for mounting the cannons.  The officers' quarters are on the 2nd floor, while the other enlisted men's quarters are on the 3rd floor.  There are casemates and rifle slits on all floors for defense.  There is also a lighthouse on the top level of the fort.  Obviously, since the Golden Gate Bridge was built, it was rendered useless as its light would be blocked by the Bridge.  

The fort is open only from Friday to Sunday, from 10am-5pm, so plan ahead if you do decide to swing by.  There is no entrance fee, so that may sound more appealing if you would like to spare some time to tour the fort.  There is a video presentation in the theater beside the bookstore, and there are also cannon loading demonstrations from time to time, both which I have always seemed to miss during my many visits to Fort Point.  I have returned to Fort Point multiple times after this day's visit, but each visit has been just as brief.  Maybe next time I should watch the award-winning film on Fort Point. 

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