Aleutian World War II National Historic Area Activities

The Aleutian World War II National Historic Area follows the historic footprint of the U.S. Army Fort Schwatka located at Ulakta Head on Mount Ballyhoo. The fort is one of four coastal defense posts built in 1942 and 1943 to protect the Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base. The army built over a hundred buildings at Fort Schwatka. At 897 feet above sea level, the installations on Mount Ballyhoo were the highest coastal defenses built in the United States. The fort was named for Lt. Frederick Schwatka, who conducted several military surveys of Alaska, including Unalaska, in the 1880s.

Engineers designed the concrete observation posts and command stations to withstand earthquakes and 100 mile-per-hour winds. The fort overlooks Dutch Harbor and was key to its protection. Although today, many of the bunkers and wooden structures of Fort Schwatka have collapsed, the gun mounts and lookouts are among the most intact in the country. Visitors to the area may explore the remaining structures and ruins, and sense the scope of the War effort mounted in the Aleutians to protect the United States from the Japanese invasion.

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