In addition to the new Price Sculpture Forest on Whidbey Island, there is an older attraction worth seeing. Its a state park called Fort Casey. I had never heard of it until Ruth and I went there in 2022. I talked to a man at Price, and he told me about it. He mentioned that he used to make deliveries on Whidbey and he spoke of Fort Casey. It was once a very important military installation here, he told me, but it officially closed its last military function 70 years ago. However, its guns and batteries were left for tourists and locals to see. This is the only place on this island where such guns are visible. They are a remarkable sight.
Fort Casey was at one time an advanced military installation on Whidbey Island. It and 2 other distant forts were charged with guarding the harbor entrance to Puget Sound. All 3 are now state parks and contain batteries. This is an old French word for a grouping of artillery pieces, or it can mean the guns on a warship. Beginning in the 1890s, concrete and earth forts were built in 3 places in this area to aid in the defense of Seattle and Puget Sound. Many support buildings were also built that remain. Eventually new steel guns were mounted on clever disappearing carriages. Most of them have been removed except for the guns at Fort Casey. These guns were hard for the enemies, Germany and Japan, to see and understand.
Technological improvements in armaments had already made these forts obsolete by the 1920s. Airplanes took over area defense and warships were more accurate and could shoot farther. When Fort Casey completely ceased its military function it became a training center and then a state park. At 1451 acres. Fort Flagler on an inlet entrance to Marrowstone Island has also become a state park.
By 1945 they were all scrapped or recycled and all the guns were removed except for Fort Casey’s. Fort Casey has been a park now for almost 60 years. Since the experts expected night attacks, searchlights had been installed, and enemy ships had to pass through the beams. Five batteries remain to be seen at Casey with names like Kingsbury and Trevor. Fort Casey remains a 432 acre park at 200 Battery Way on Whidbey Island.
Ruth and I are even more familiar with the installation north of beautiful Port Townsend, WA called Fort Worden. We were there on the 4th of July once and had a fine time attending the patriotic ceremony still held. We have toured its visitor center, hiked its many trails, and have always intended to return and stay there in its cabins and military housing for a while. Two films have been made here: The Ring starred Naomi Watts and was made here in 2002 and the even older and more successful An Officer and a Gentleman was filmed in the 1980s. Winter is an especially good time to visit Fort Worden with Alexander’s Castle to explore, boating, beach walking, snowshoeing and dog sledding among the many activities to enjoy in addition to visits to Port Townsend. Expect rain.
These 3 forts once formed what was called The Triangle of Fire.