Photo Explorations: Fort Casey


Whidbey Island is and will always be a special place to me. It's where I grew up and where my father still lives. I went up to visit him over a long weekend and couldn't resist the pull to visit one of my favorite places: Fort Casey.

Fort Casey was an operating military fort guarding Admiralty Inlet in the late 1890s. It's part of a trio with Fort Warden and Fort Flagler and was built to prevent an attack by sea that never came. The fort's artillery was made obsolete almost instantly with the first deployment of military aircraft around 1903 that made the fort vulnerable to air attack. I always sort of find this charming - the fort was manned by soldiers who never saw a fight and subsequently just hung around. I had a job for a little while digitizing historical photos at the Island County Historical Museum and I got to see a ton of photos from the fort's active days. One of my favorites showed a huge baking operation with a baker surrounded by loaves of bread. Most of the photos are of smiling men standing around tents or using radio equipment to communicate with other forts.

Today the fort has been converted into a giant park and people come to camp and play here no matter the weather. You can explore the bunkers, most of which are empty and in various states of decay, leaking lime. Kids loves to run around the fort screaming and hearing their own echoes reverberating through the cavernous structure. You can climb on top of the fort for an amazing view of the Keystone ferry making its run from Coupeville to Port Townsend and of the mainland across the Puget Sound. Sometimes you can see barges or whales crossing through.

This place has always had an appeal for me. I feel calm at Fort Casey. Especially on gray winter days, when the summer crowds are nowhere to be found, it gets so quiet here. You can sit and listen to the wind pass through the grasses and into the empty rooms and it makes everything rolling around in your mind still. Well, at least it does for me. So I keep coming back here to take photos. I've done a lot of my favorite portraits and landscapes here. I felt really lucky on this day to be there with my dad and we wandered around talking before the children and picnickers descended. 

You may also like

1 comment:

  1. I love being in peaceful places on on cool, cloudy days too. Such a great environment for contemplation.