Thursday, January 10, 2013

Long Point Military Reservation, California


Visited 4, 5 and 7 January 2013 - Long Point Military Reservation (1930-1974) - I didn't do my homework properly before visiting the former Long Point Military Reservation and it took me a couple of trips to suss out all that was to be seen.
View from Battery 240, Gun Emplacement #1
View from Battery 240, Gun Emplacement #1

On the first day we drove up from Seal Beach directly to the site of Battery 240. Battery 240 was a World War II reinforced concrete 6" gun battery built on a bluff overlooking Point Vicente just west of Long Beach, California. The setting for this battery is spectacular, overlooking the Pacific and the Point Vicente Lighthouse. 
Point Vincente Lighthouse
Point Vicente Lighthouse

The battery is accessed through the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall complex and you have to walk a short distance from the parking lot. There are no signs or directions so you have to know where you are going. Only one side of the battery and the central entrance are accessible and the doors are locked. The south entrance, emplacement #2, is viewable but U.S. Government markers restrict access. You can get near enough to photograph most of the exterior of the battery.



Long Point
Long Point

Battery 240 is on the upper level of the reservation but it was not the first gun battery on the reservation. The first gun battery was a temporary 155mm mobile gun battery emplaced on the lower level of the reservation on 8 Dec 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. Nothing left of Battery 155 - Long Point but there is a new trail that goes right by where it was located and the view is again spectacular. From Long Point you can look back across the bay to the Point Vicente Lighthouse. 
1930 Fire Control Station
1930 Fire Control Station

If you look back up the hill toward Battery 240 you can make out six concrete fire control stations dotting the hillside. These stations have been in place since the 1930s and are in remarkable shape. Access to the fire control stations is difficult, lots of stickers and cacti. Again, you must go through the city hall complex to get to the fire control stations, down past the model helicopter pad to the edge of the hill. They can be photographed from the edge of the hill.


NIKE LA-55L Launch Site
NIKE LA-55L Launch Site



The next interesting component of this site is that it became a NIKE missile launch site in 1956 through 1974. The actual launcher site and missile magazine is now a city maintenance yard and can be viewed and photographed from outside the fence. The former Nike site barracks and administrative area is now the Rancho Palos Verdes City Hall complex and some of those original buildings now serve as city buildings.




View from NIKE Control Site LA-55C
View from NIKE Control Site LA-55C

There were actually two NIKE sites at this location, LA-55L (launch site) and LA-55C (control site). The control site was located further up in the hills and contained all the Radar and communications equipment necessary to guide the missiles to intercept enemy aircraft. The former control site is now Del Cerro City Park and surprisingly it makes no mention of it's military past. The park doesn't look like much from the parking lot, just a lot of open space, but as you go up to the top of the rise at the end of the park a superb view of the coast and Catalina Island opens up, don't miss this!
WWII Fire Control Station Plan
WWII Fire Control Station Plan

There were other elements of the military reservation that are now long gone and even finding the sites is difficult. These lost elements included two SRC-296 Radar sites and two World War II fire control stations.

For more info on the Long Point Military Reservation, Battery 240 and Battery 155 - Long Point check out the FortWiki.com links.

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