Battery Walcott is an abandoned Endicott Period reinforced concrete coastal gun battery. The battery is located in Fort Taber Park in New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Battery Walcott Establishment
Masonry forts and smoothbore cannons were rendered obsolete by improvements in weapons made during the Civil War. The Endicott Board was established by the US government in 1885 to develop a modern defense system. Some of the Endicott system’s components were still in service in 1945 after it was built between 1890 and 1910. These years are nowadays referred to as the Endicott Period.
During the Endicott Period, the government looked at the Harbor Defenses of New Bedford and recommended a number of improvements. The Army officially named the base at the tip of Clark’s Point, the Fort Rodman Military Reservation. This was done in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Logan Rodman who was a New Bedford native that served in the 38th Massachusetts Infantry and died in the assault on Port Hudson, Lousiana in 1863. One of the many coastal gun batteries established on the Military Reservation was Battery Walcott.
Construction on Battery Walcott began in May 1898 and ended in June 1899. The battery was officially transferred to the Coast Artillery and put into use on July 31, 1899. This coastal defense featured one M1896 Disappearing carriage with an 8″ M1888MII gun mounted on it. This battery had two levels, with the magazines down below and the weapons up top. A Taylor-Raymond front-loading shell hoist was used to transfer shells from the magazine level to the gun-loading platform. Powder hoists weren’t offered. The central power plant supplied the electricity.
Disarmed during World War 2
During World War 1, many of the coastal gun batteries established during the Endicott Period were disarmed. Guns were sent to arsenals for modification and a select few were sent overseas to help allies. The gun at Battery Walcott was not removed during World War 1. It was not until World War 2 that the government ordered the gun to be removed. The battery was officially decommissioned on December 15, 1942. Several months later, on March 24, 1943, the 8-inch M1888MII was removed and sent to the Watervliet Arsenal in New York. Fort Rodman, which includes Battery Wolcott, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. This was a major award and it ensures the battery will remain preserved and open to the public.
What Remains Today
Today, the concrete core of this coastal gun battery remains. Visitors are welcome to admire the magazine area and the former emplacement. No guns or mounts remain. As of 2023, the doors into the magazine area are open and visitors seem welcome to walk inside the abandoned fort.
- Year Established: 1899
- Year Abandoned: 1942
- Original Function: Reinforced concrete, Endicott Period 8-inch coastal gun battery
- National Register of Historic Places Number: #73001954
Battery Walcott Location
- Address: 1000 Rodney French Boulevard
- Town: New Bedford
- State: Massachusetts
- GPS: 41.593976, -70.900910
- Parking Notes: There are many large parking areas at Fort Taber Park. Spots can be found just a few hundred feet from the battery. There is no parking fee during the off-season. During the summer, a small fee is charged. Parking is $5/day for New Bedford residents and $10/day for non-residents.
- Parking Directions: HERE
- Location Directions: HERE