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Fort Flagler

This coastal defense fort was located at Marrowstone Point on the northern end of Marrowstone Island. In 1897-1900, the fort was built but was abandoned in 1937. It was located in a triangular pattern with Fort Casey and Fort Worden. In 1899, it was named by U.S. Army officials for Brig. Gen. Daniel Webster Flagler, Chief of Ordnance, U.S. Army, at the time the fort was completed. It was later used during and after World War II and eventually became the property of the State of Washington and is used for park purposes. Two small guns have been returned to one of the many battery sites.

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Fort Flagler

Fort Flagler is a representative of the United States’ first truly national defense program and an excellent example of the nature of military architecture in the 1890’s. The United States had been protected by coastal fortifications since colonial times but no fortification program had ever been so vast, so expensive and so technically complex as the one initiated in the last part of the 19th Century. Little had been done in the way of fixed defense since the Civil War. Even the largest port cities were still protected by muzzle loading cannon in earth and stone works. Designed to combat wooden sailing vessels, these weapons could not hope to penetrate the iron hulls of the new armored warships which were propelled by steam and mounted steel breech loading cannon. In response to the glaring inadequacy of America’s defense, a board was formed to plan a new system of fortification. Its report, published in 1885, called for steel weapons to be installed in heavy concrete emplacements. The program was new in concept and design, so new that some of the weapons were yet to be perfected. It took 20 years of continuous construction for the program to be completed; but by 1915 the United States and its key possessions were defended by one of the most novel and thorough fortification systems ever developed.