Eerie, Abandoned Military Fort is a Must-See in Oregon
After many years of thinking about it, I finally decided to make the trip to Fort Stevens State Park. I spent three full days camping in the very popular park located on the grounds of the former military installation in Hammond, Oregon. If you plan to make the trip, book well in advance - it fills up quickly.
Who is Fort Stevens Named After?
Fort Stevens, named after Washington Territory Governor, Isaac Stevens, was built in 1863 as the Civil War was coming to an end and remained active until post World War II in 1947. The fort was used to guard the entrance of the Columbia River and was part of the "Three Fort Harbor Defense System" which also included Fort Canby and Fort Disappointment.
Why Was Fort Stevens Built?
Fort Stevens was originally built to defend against a British attack during and after the Pig War of 1859, however, it didn't see any action until 83 years later in 1942 when it was shelled by a Japanese submarine during World War II. Fort Stevens was the only American mainland military installation to come under attack in the war. The Japanese fired 17 shells close to Battery Russell located on the Fort.
A Famous Shipwreck Still Protrudes from the Sand at Fort Stevens
Another famous event occurred on the shores of Fort Stevens (Clatsop Beach) in 1906 when the British Bark Peter Iredale wrecked. The ship was scheduled to pick up cargo in Portland and was waiting for a river pilot to guide it up the mouth of the Columbia River when it was suddenly overtaken by strong winds and currents - washing it ashore with such force it broke its masts. No one was injured and all hands were rescued. The images below show the ship in 1906 and what remains in 2022. It has been a tourist attraction since the day it wrecked onshore.
You'll Need a Full Day or Two to Experience Everything at Fort Stevens
Another must-see at Fort Stevens State Park is Battery Russell. Named after General David A. Russell, who was killed in action during the Civil War, the Battery, which took about a year to build, was finished in 1904. Parts of Fort Stevens are reportedly "haunted" and were featured on the Travel Channel TV show, "Ghost Adventures", in 2018. Keep scrolling and check out the photo gallery of Battery Russell at Fort Stevens.