Early in World War II, the United States was reeling from Japan’s atack on Pearl Harbor and moved to augment the defense of San Francisco Bay from enemy ships. Base end fire control stations proliferated along the coast in those fearful times. Built to house soldiers on the lookout for enemy ships, they could relay ship coordinates to a central communications and plotting center, so powerful guns in nearby batteries could take accurate aim at their targets.
Here at the Muir Beach overlook – one of the trig points vital to scouting the Bay – there are four such base end stations, also known as gopher holes. Two served gun batteries in the Marin Headlands. One served Fort Miley in San Francisco, and the fourth was assigned to a minefield which paralleled the shipping channel along the Marin shore. Today, all that’s left of the inhospitable stations are the empty concrete shells and a beautiful view up and down the Pacific coastline.