Broken down barracks of Fort Ord in the Monterey Bay

Starting in 1917 and up to the 1990’s, almost 1,500,000 military troops trained at Fort Ord.  It was a major army post, located here in the Monterey Bay, in California’s central coast.

Although the post closed in 1994, many of the old buildings remain.

Because I was in the military, there is a part of me that is nostalgic about these buildings…and having lived at military bases, they are familiar to me.Fort Ord off Imjin Eucalyptus side barracks

In addition to its role as a major training base for the army, Fort Ord was also a staging and deployment area for troops that fought in World War II, as well as the Vietnam war.

Word War II is known as the most violent and largest armed conflict in history, and troops who trained here were involved in battles in the Philippines — my home country — after the Japanese conquered the Philippines in 1942.

Many of the old buildings at Fort Ord have already been torn down, and eventually, these will too, to be replaced with new housing communities, office and service facilities, and new shopping centers.

Fort Ord off Imjin barracks 6a

I’ve wanted to photograph some of these old buildings before they are gone forever, and glad that I finally had a chance to do so this month.

I was in the Air Force, and our living quarters were called “dormitories”.  But in the army and other armed forces, buildings that house soldiers are called “barracks”.  Definition below:

The English word comes via French from an old Catalan word “barraca” (hut), originally referring to temporary shelters or huts for various people and animals, but today barracks, are usually permanent buildings for military accommodation.

…The main object of barracks is to separate soldiers from the civilian population and reinforce discipline, training, and esprit de corps.

Fort Ord off Imjin barracks 2

These barracks photos are much different from my previous post for The Changing Season photo challenge (the beautiful scenery at Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf).

Fort Ord off Imjin exit side table

Still…I think it is worth posting, and preserving these images, especially as the landscape transitions to something else.

I imagined this place once filled with many soldiers, and the bugle sounds of the morning reveille — the wake up call (short sound clip below).

Over 20 years after the post closure, the abandoned barracks stand, wounded by vandals, and awaiting their end.

Most of the buildings have broken windows…

Doors removed, stairs missing or overtaken by iceplants…

Fort Ord off Imjin no more stairs

Debris around some of the buildings…

What remains at the Imjin exit side of Fort Ord are mature eucalyptus trees, and the ever-present and invasive ice plants — planted there to contain the sand and for erosion control.

Fort Ord off Imjin Eucalyptus trees

Across the street from these barracks, a wellness center and a shopping center is in place, and beyond these new buildings are brand new housing communities.

Future of Fort Ord land 1

The Ford Ord land also houses facilities used by California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB).  With plenty of land available to construct new buildings, CSUMB is predicted to eventually be the largest in the California State University system.

Fort Ord off Imjin Exit

It’s not all going to be developed though…

Thankfully, three years ago, a large part of the Fort Ord area became a national monument, and is federally protected from further development — a great thing for the Monterey Bay area!

In addition to the interior part of the Fort Ord land, beaches in this area are also part of the national monument  / California State Park system, and land set aside for the public.

And so the Fort Ord land that started as an artillery training field almost 100 years ago, and was a major post for the military from World War I to 1994 now continues its transition, with much of the land going back to public use.

Are there military base closures where you live?  How has the government and community transformed the land after closing the military facility?

Related link: President Barack Obama Proclamation – Establishment of the Fort Ord National Monument

…The protection of the Fort Ord area will maintain its historical and cultural significance, attract tourists and recreationalists from near and far, and enhance its unique natural resources, for the enjoyment of all Americans.

7 thoughts on “Broken down barracks of Fort Ord in the Monterey Bay

  1. My father served in the U.S. Army from 1940 through 1945 – and I’ve always heard that he spent much of that time at Fort Ord, so I’m always glad to read about it and learn more about its current status. Thank you for this, Lola Jane! I’m sure he spent some of that time in barracks just like these – maybe one of them.

    I remember hearing him talk about being at Fort Ord on December 7, 1941 – Pearl Harbor Day. He was actually scheduled to be discharged before Christmas that year, but tore up his papers when he heard that day’s news. He knew his discharge hopes were not to be. Eventually he left California in September 1944 with troops that were being sent to Europe, and he did gain that discharge in October, 1945.

    I’m glad so much of the base is being kept for public lands.

    • I’m so happy to learn of your own connection to Fort Ord, via your father. It is a small world, isn’t it? And how fitting that it was Memorial Day yesterday, and you got a little glimpse of where your father was during his time in the army.

      I also learned that troops from Fort Ord fought in the island where our family is from in the Philippines, and other areas in the Pacific (sadly, also took heavy casualties), so that really brought it close for me…

      Yes, definitely the right move to set aside a big chunk of the land (14,651 acres) for the public. The land is combined as a State Park / National Monument, and there are vulnerable and endangered species that will hopefully have a chance to recover, like the California tiger salamander 🙂 because of the land set aside as a nature preserve and for the public.

      • Yes, I am glad to tie your post and the memories it triggered for me to Memorial Day. And especially to remember the many who served at Fort Ord and were sent to the Pacific and did not come back.
        Thank you, again, Lola Jane.

  2. Pingback: Monthly Photo Challenge: The Changing Seasons 05 | Cardinal Guzman

  3. Great gallery. It looks like nature has started to reclaim the area. It’ll probably look very nice once they’ve built new houses there, but it still has some charm to it now, even if it’s worn down.

    • Nature has a way of doing that, right…. long after we are gone. I agree about your charm of its own comment. For me, it was the history of the place, and all the people I imagined that went through here, maybe some of them for the last time if they did not make it back home from wars.

  4. Pingback: Door photographs for the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge | Lola Jane's World

Now that you are here, I would love to know what you think...comments are always appreciated.