On Angel Island, You See a Century of Military History

Sunset, August 1985 | Go to article overview

On Angel Island, You See a Century of Military History


On Angel Island, you see a century of military history Once called the Ellis Island of the West, Angel Island in San Francisco Bay has served at different times as military base, war-prisoner detention center, and immigration camp. Free docent-guided tours can now offer you a complete picture of the 740-acre island's varied history.

Ayala Cove, on the northwest side, was a wood-refueling and fresh-water stop for early whalers; ferry boats from Tiburon and San Francisco now drop visitors here. In 1863, the army built Camp Reynolds (West Garrison) on the west shore to prevent Confederate ships from slipping in to attack nearby naval bases. Some 10 house built as officers' quarters still stand. The old bakehouse and a residence have been restored and are open for tours from noon to 3 on weekends.

In 1898, Fort McDowell (East Garrison) was developed on the east shore as an induction center; it grew to include barracks, hospital, chapel, and a mess hall that could feed 1,400 at one time. It reached its peak during Worl War 22--an estimated 72,000 men were processed herein 1942--and was closed in 1946.

The 1940 mission revival chapel is now an information station staffed by docents from 11 to 3:30 weekends through October. …

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On Angel Island, You See a Century of Military History
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