coast defense

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Point Allerton Fire Control

Point Allerton forms the northeast elbow of Nantasket Peninsula in Hull, MA and juts into the Atlantic Ocean at the southern edge of the approaches to Boston Harbor. Since 1907 the Point has housed a succession of fire control buldings, towers, and radars that have played a key role in guarding the harbor and controlling its coast defense artillery.

The general harbor map in the map gallery at the left of this page shows that Ft. Dawes on the north and Pt. Allerton on the south enclose the harbor approaches like two large jaws. Indeed, during WW2, Ft. Dawes was the site of the most important position in controllling harbor traffic, the Harbor Entrance Control Point (HECP), while one of the bunkers atop Pt. Allerton held the command post for the entire South Group command. (The North Group CP was located in the fire control tower at Ft. Ruckman in Nahant.)

The Overvew map in the map gallery pinpoints most of the Pt. Allerton facilites that will be described in this section. The 7-story fire control tower in the center of the Point, by virtue of its base elevation (124 feet), had its top observation level at 179 feet above sea level, making this the tallest observation point (except for the anti-aircraft crow's next peeking through that tower's roof) in the Boston harbor defenses. This is the only one of the assets described here that still survives, and a separate sub-section is devoted to it.

Another sub-section covers the facilites that have been destroyed. Included here are the two smaller bunkers on the eastern edge of the Point that were built to resemble a garage and a bungalow but which controlled some of the harbor's largest guns. The antenna for a harbor entry search radar (SCR-682) occupied a dome atop one of these buildings, and a fire control radar (SCR-296A) just down Bluff Rd. to the south had the axis of its antenna 157 feet above the sea. A little over a mile further south down the peninsula was Strawberry Hill. which featured another fire control radar and a cluster of fire control buildings. Finally, a geodetic disk at the tip of the Point helped to locate the precise positions of these assets.

Although this section will not be describing the emplacement in detail, the Overview map also indicates the position (roughly a mile to the southwest) of the first 16-inch gun battery in Boston's defenses, Battery Long in Hull Bay, on what today is called Spinnaker Island. (The island was renamed from Hog Island when it was purchased several years ago by a developer and filled to the brim with condominiums, one of which uses one of the huge former gun platforms as a parking area.) Battery Command for these guns was situated in the same Pt. Allerton bunker as the South Group command and the SCR-682.

Map Gallery

  • General Orientation Map
    This map shows the general area of Boston Harbor. The distance betwen Swampscott and Strawberry Pt. is about 16 miles. The defenses extended farther both north and south of this central area. (Base map from Google Maps)
  • Allerton Overview Map
    This map indicates the location of the Pt. Allerton facilities described in this section. (Base map from Google Maps)