Fort Lawton, the World War II era military facility and R.O.T.C. station in Seattle’s Discovery Park closed on Saturday morning. The ceremony complete with cannon fire and a 21-gun salute, officially closed the 111-year-old post as it’s being turned over to the city of Seattle.
Once a sprawling U.S. Army base where one million men passed through on their way to World War II, much of the land was declared surplus and given to the city to become Discovery Park. The Army Reserves Center and complex that remained were vacated last September after the federal government’s decision to close the base.
For the past few years, city officials have been working with the Army on a plan to sell the remaining property to the city. All but 16 acres of the 45-acre fort will be turned over to the City, which still has not officially decided what it will do with the land.
The fort was first built in 1900 on 1,100 acres on Magnolia Bluff and named after Maj. Gen. Henry Ware Lawton, a veteran of the Civil War, Indian Wars, and Spanish-American campaigns who died in the Philippines.
The fort is perhaps most famous for the lynching of an Italian POW after rioting on the night of Aug. 14., 1944 and the court-martial that ensued.
A decision on selling the property to the city remains in the Army’s hands. City officials have proposed a redevelopment plan that includes building housing for the homeless, which has been controversial with Magnolia residents.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.