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SF’s WWII Battery Bunker Slides Down 200 Foot Cliff Onto Beach

The bunker slid down the rain-soaked bluff onto Fort Funston Beach
By - posted 1/16/2023 No Comment

A World War II-era military structure has fallen onto the beach at Fort Funston, park service officials said on Monday.

The concrete battery bunker slid down a rain-soaked bluff, according to a post on social media by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. No injuries were reported, but visitors are urged to follow posted trail signs and be attentive to their surroundings.

Fort Funston features 200-foot high sandy bluffs on San Francisco’s southwest coast where the winds blow reliably wildly. No surprise it is one of the premier hang-gliding spots in the country.

History of Fort Funston

In 1890s, the Army Corps of Engineers was hard at work updating coastal defenses around San Francisco Bay. Plans were drawn to build two mortar batteries between Laguna de la Merced and the Pacific Ocean. The plans were pretty basic, and in 1917, as the post added 150 acres to its grounds, troops assigned to Fort Funston were living in tents while they built their own wood frame barracks.

The San Francisco Chronicle reporters describing the first flag raising ceremony over Fort Funston parade ground were none too impressed by what they saw, saying the battery resembled a rustic frontier outpost. Despite the fort’s humble first appearance, it was a significant outpost, eventually equipped with 16-inch guns and later, during the Cold War, nuclear Nike missiles.

Nike Site

During the Cold War, Fort Funston housed SF-59, one of the Bay Area’s twelve Nike missile defense sites. These missile sites were installed around the bay and other areas in the US to defend against potential Soviet airstrikes. Concerns regarding the missiles’ ability to accurately identify multiple targets flying in formation along with their limited range, led the Army to arm them with nuclear payloads, which compensated for their design shortcomings. Of course, having nuclear warheads near a large urban center came with its own serious risks. Thankfully, an attack never came, and the missiles were never fired.

Read more at the National Park Service

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