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500 Varas Square--Government Reserve, aka Fort MacArthur
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. Historic District
Battery Farley, with the Korean Bell of Friendship in the background
Nearest city: San Pedro, California
Built/Founded: 1916
Architect: US Army, Quartermaster General
Architectural style(s): Bungalow/Craftsman, Mission/Spanish Revival
Governing body: U.S. Air Force
Added to NRHP: March 12, 1986
NRHP Reference#: 86000326


Fort MacArthur is a former United States Army installation in San Pedro, Los Angeles, California (now the port community of Los Angeles), named for General Arthur MacArthur, Jr.



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 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 aforementioned artillery emplacements have been seen in the television series '24' and in movies as varied as 'Dragnet', 'Midway' and 'Tora, Tora, Tora'. The Lower Reservation was cleared off and dredged and is now the city's Cabrillo Marina.

Fort MacArthur's remaining Middle Reservation was transferred to the United States Air Force in 1982 for use by the Los Angeles Air Force Base as an administration and housing facility.[2]


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.

Paranormal Activity

Over the years, paranormal activity has been reported at Ft. MacArthur's remaining artillery batteries. Ghost hunters have heard footsteps, the clank of machinery not used in decades, and explosions, seen floating orbs, and felt inexplicable cold breezes and unseen entities brushing past them. It is believed that the fort is haunted by the spirits of World War I/II-era soldiers.[3][4] Fort MacArthur was the subject of an episode of the Cartoon Network series The Othersiders, during which paranormal activity in the fort was verified.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15.  
  2. ^ "The History of Fort MacArthur". Fort MacArthur Museum. 2008-10-17. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  3. ^ Dwyer, Jeff (2006). Ghost Hunter's Guide to Los Angeles. Pecan Publishing. pp. 108–109. ISBN 9781589804043.  
  4. ^ "Case Files: Fort MacArthur". The Outsiders. Cartoon Network. Retrieved 2009-08-10.  
  5. ^ "Fort MacArthur". The Othersiders. Cartoon Network. 2009-07-15. No. 5, season 1.

External links

33°42′43″N 118°17′46″W / 33.7119636°N 118.2961824°W / 33.7119636; -118.2961824U.S. Geological Survey Geographical Names Information System: Fort MacArthur Military Museum



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