Interview With Bayly Miller

From the interview with Bayly Miller of University Place, WA conducted by phone by Patience Rogge from the Fort Worden History Center on July 12, 2011.  Mr. Miller is the son of Marshall E. Miller (1927-1999), who was the chaplain at the Fort Worden Juvenile Diagnostic and Treatment Center from January 1962 to September 1971, when the center closed.  Here Mr. Miller describes boyhood adventures exploring Artillery Hill and what he found several years later when he returned:

“I never went inside the structures when I was a kid there because I thought that would be the worst place in the world to be caught because there’d be no way of getting out.  When I went up with Tim Nolan (son of Norman Nolan, the lighthouse keeper), we didn’t walk the roads.  I’d stay to the side of the road because I was scared to death all the time. But the place was so fascinating, you felt like the guy who discovered Machu Picchu.  Six years later, I finally got to go up and take a look around. I went up the old donkey trail that was later converted to a jeep trail.  It was still intact but rotting. There was a wood bridge on the part of the trail overlooking the beach, getting eaten by beetles.  You could still walk on it, although I don’t know if it could have been able to hold the weight of a car.  When you came out on the top of the road there used to be two officers’ houses.  I remember taking that trail and seeing those houses when I was a kid.  Then, I only got to spend an hour or two with Tim because his parents limited how much time he could go out and play. We would walk down a little bit of the battery row where all the main guns were.  You could still see all the buildings were intact, the ones that held the range firing equipment.  There was a dormitory behind Battery Benson that the Navy had converted into a mess hall.  The stoves and everything were still inside, it had a whole kitchen set up in the back. I think that one of the stoves later was taken down to the Kitchen Shelter on the beach.  A little building was next to the mess hall that apparently originally was a bathroom and a shower room for the dormitory.  It got converted into a boiler room—when I looked in I could see the pressure gauges, everything still operational although it had been abandoned for a couple of years.  You could get it up and running if it was necessary. There was an officers’ mess that had been converted to a dormitory for the enlisted men.  Right behind the main battery row, situated just behind the main gun line, there had been four buildings that were the old field kitchens for the enlisted men who had the tents there in the field. One or two were still there. The radar building that housed the radar for Battery Tolles was all intact. It had been converted into a storage building.   The windows were all still in place, when you looked into the windows, you could see the tile floors.  The old National Guard  Armory had been converted to a PX for the Navy guys who were there. The only building left there now is that storage building.  You could see its roof from down on the parade ground. They converted it to a movie theatre for the people who were up there.  There were about 20 buildings in all, and it all ended up being torn down.”

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