Author recounts history of city’s harbor defenses

Matt Kent, the San Francisco native and first-time author, uncovers the history behind The City’s harbor defenses in “Harbor Defenses of San Francisco: A Field Guide 1890 to 1950.”  

What is your book about? It’s a field guide of San Francisco’s harbor defenses from the modern era of 1890 to their demise in 1950. It comprises all the forts and reservations located north and south of San Francisco.

Why did you want to write the book? In 1976, a gentleman was hired by the National Park Service to do a historical resource study on elements in San Francisco and made a recommendation to publish a field guide for the system. In the 30 years since that recommendation no one had taken on the project because it’s rather vast, so I decided to do it.

What do you think is the most interesting thing about the harbor defenses?
The general misconception of how old these structures are. We have the opportunity to walk up to the gun batteries and be standing on a piece of history built in the 1800s. Since the earthquake, a lot of historic structures built pre-1900 aren’t standing, so this is a rare opportunity to touch a piece of history.

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