Fort Rosecrans Military Reserve
San Diego has historically maintained an extensive military presence, regardless of whose rule the land fell under. Even today, a large U.S. Navy installation remains here, guarding the Pacific shores.
Fort Rosecrans began as a Spanish Presidio that was fortified against imminent British threat in the late 1700s. Then called Fort Guijarro, it lasted as an active Spanish military base only 40 years, after which it began to decay.
After the creation of California as a state, the U.S. government refurbished the fort to protect the San Diego harbor once more. It was rechristened Fort Rosencrans, and parts of it are still used to this day for Army Reserve activities.
Today, when you visit the parklands of Cabrillo National Monument, you can see remnants of old buildings belonging to the fort, many used during the two World Wars.
But the highlight of any visit to the fort is the Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery (1880 Cabrillo Memorial Dr., 619/553-2084). In addition to the haunting rows of stark white tombstones marching in dressed line across green lawns, you’ll find graves here from combatants who fought wars of the California Republic.
Wander the grounds to view graves old and recent, as well as monuments to fallen soldiers from little-known battles long past.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition