Discover Pass: A Discover Pass is required for vehicle access to state parks for day use. For more information about the Discover Pass and exemptions, please visit the Discover Pass web page.
Manchester State Park has its origins as a fort established by the Coast Artillery Corps in the early 1900s. The fort, called Middle Point, was intended to help defend the Puget Sound from incoming enemy watercraft. In conjunction with Fort Ward (across the water on Bainbridge Island), Middle Point’s primary mission was to protect the Bremerton shipyard by operating a minefield set in Rich Passage. The fort was developed in a hurry but was shut down soon after in 1910 when leadership decided that the defenses at Fort Ward were adequate.
Several structures remain from the park’s era as a costal defense fort. A large brick torpedo storehouse is the central feature of the park’s day-use area. Despite its ornate design, the structure served a utilitarian function: holding underwater mines (during that time, the word “torpedo” was a term for underwater mines). The storehouse was later used as an officer’s club, barracks and mess hall, and is now used as a picnic shelter. The small concrete building to the east of the storehouse was a mining casemate that held controls for the underwater mines, which were operated remotely.
Battery Mitchell lies along the park’s shoreline. The concrete structure was completed but never fitted with the pair of rapid-fire three-inch guns it was built for. As was the practice at the time, the battery was given the name of an army officer who had given honorable service, in this case Lieutenant Robert B. Mitchell. Mitchell served with the Artillery Corps in the Philippine-American War and died in 1904.
During World War Two, the property was converted to a Navy fuel supply depot and fire-fighting station. The property was declared surplus by the federal government in the 1960s and was acquired by Washington for use as a state park in 1970. The park is named for the nearby town of Manchester.