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Wednesday June 29- Ft. Stevens Military Reservation , Peter Iredale

We woke to a misty day! Around 10, we left the motor home and traveled north on Hwy, 101 to Ft. Stevens State Park. The Ft. Stevens Military Reservation guarded the mouth of the Columbia River from the Civil War through WWII. Ft. Stevens was named for the Territorial Governor General Isaac Stevens, who was killed at Chantilly VA in 1862. On the night of Sunday June 21, 1942, Fort Stevens saw its only action when a Japanese submarine (the I-25) fired 17,  5.5 inch shells at the fort. The shelling caused no damage. The Fort Commander refused to allow return fire. The incident made Fort Stevens the only installation to be attacked by an enemy since the War of 1812. What we found interesting, is that the story in the museum was that the soldiers were ready to fire back, but the commander could not get approval to fire on the Japanese submarine. BUT, in a note by one of the soldiers, he said that the equipment was from WWI and that they were afraid to fire the guns. Also of interest was an interview with the captain of the Japanese submarine, in the 1950’s, where he said that he would not have fired on the fort if he had known that they had a bunch of cannons ready to be fired, as they could have sunk the submarine. All in all, it was an interesting situation.

The rain started increasing, so we did a quick walking tour, then jumped into the car to warm up and dry off. We went a little south, to the beach parking lot to view the wreckage of the Peter Iredale.

The Peter Iredale was a four-masted steel Barque sailing vessel that ran ashore October 25, 1906, on the Oregon coast en route to the Columbia River. It is the most accessible shipwreck of the ‘Graveyard of the Pacific.’ The ship was not that damaged when it came ashore, but they took so long before trying to get it out of the sand, that is started to list, and eventually was covered with sand. Most of the ship was sold for scrap, but this is what remains. During the winter, more of the ship can be seen, but today we were only able to see a little bit of it. At the ocean, the wind was howling and it started raining really hard, sideways, so we took a quick picture, and took off for home to warm up and dry off!

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