Fort MacArthur is a former United States Army installation in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California (now the port community of Los Angeles). A small section remains in military use by the United States Air Force as a housing and administrative annex of Los Angeles Air Force Base. The fort is named in honor of Lieutenant General Arthur MacArthur. His son, Douglas MacArthur, would later command American forces in the Pacific during World War II.
In 1888, President Grover Cleveland designated an area overlooking San Pedro Bay as an unnamed military reservation intended to improve the defenses of the expanding Los Angeles harbor area. Additional land was purchased in 1897 and 1910, and Fort MacArthur was formally created on October 31, 1914. The fort was a training center during World War I, and the first large gun batteries for harbor defense were installed in 1917. The effectiveness of these fixed gun emplacements was debated for many years, and test firings were extremely unpopular with nearby residents, the concussion shattering windows in buildings and houses for miles around. By the end of World War II the large guns were already being removed, with the last decommissioned in 1948. Battery Osgood-Farley is probably the best preserved example of a United States coastal defense gun emplacement, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. A second site, Battery John Barlow and Saxton, was added to the Register in 1982.
During the early years of the Cold War, Fort MacArthur became a key part of the West Coast's anti-aircraft defenses, becoming the home base of the 47th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Brigade. A Nike surface-to-air missile battery was activated at the fort in 1954, remaining in service until the early 1970s.
In 1975 Fort MacArthur became a sub-post of Fort Ord, and the Army transferred ownership of the fort's Upper and Lower Reservations to the City of Los Angeles two years later. The Lower Reservation was cleared off and dredged and is now the city's Cabrillo Marina.
Angel's Gate Park
The Upper Reservation is now a city park - San Pedro's Angels Gate Park, home of the Korean Bell of Friendship. It is also frequently used by television and motion picture companies. The artillery emplacements have been seen in the television series '24' and in movies as varied as Dragnet, Midway and Tora, Tora, Tora.
Hostelling International USA (part of Hostelling International) maintains a 57-bed youth hostel in the refurbished military barracks of the reservation.
The Fort MacArthur Military Museum, located at the site of Battery Osgood-Farley, displays exhibits on the history of Fort MacArthur, its role in defending the Los Angeles area, American Pacific Theater military campaigns, and the role of Los Angeles as a military port.
- "The History of Fort MacArthur". Fort MacArthur Museum. 2008-10-17. http://www.ftmac.org/Fmhist.htm. Retrieved 2009-08-10.
- HI Los Angeles Youth Hostel South Bay – Los Angeles Cheap Hostels California. HIUSA. Retrieved on 2013-09-18.
- Fort MacArthur history at the California State Military Museum website
- Fort MacArthur Military Museum website
- Los Angeles Air Force Base Military Directory
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Fort MacArthur Military Museum
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