Klamath River Radar Station B71 – Klamath, California - Atlas Obscura
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Klamath, California

Klamath River Radar Station B71

These cinderblock farmhouses were actually WWII radar stations in disguise. 

As time progresses, the idea that the largest, most grandiose acts of awe-inspiring wartime prowess led to the Allies’ victory in World War II is slowly being debunked. In truth, covert moments of trickery regularly proved equally as valuable. And sometimes, as demonstrated by a series of bases positioned along the Pacific Coast of the United States, being tricky involves nothing more than looking very, very ordinary.

Such was the case when engineers began building early warning radar detection stations along America’s West Coast during World War II, after the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Aleutian Islands necessitated increased land defense. Lucky for us, one of these exceedingly rare headquarters is still standing along the Klamath River in California’s Redwood National Park. Of course, you’d never know that when driving by, were it not labeled… 

Disguised to look like farmhouses and their traditionally accompanying buildings, a trio of cinderblock structures form what was really called the Klamath River Radar Station B-71, housing all the gear necessary for scanning the region’s skies for incoming enemy barrages. Despite the high-tech (for the time) machinery and a pair of anti-aircraft guns contained therein, on approach from the land, sea, or air, the radar detection base resembled nothing more than the average rural structures. Manned by members of the Army Air Corps, it is unlikely the men themselves dressed like farmers. 

At the conclusion of the war, the base was abandoned and reverted to private ownership where it fell into disrepair. Ultimately the National Parks Service acquired the property with the formation of Redwood National Park, and the former Radar Station B-71 was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 19, 1978. Today a power building constructed to closely resemble a farmhouse and an operations building dressed up like a barn remain accessible to the public. Also on-site is the original, wooden outhouse, now partially in ruin — the only structure used for what it seemed.

Know Before You Go

Located in Redwood National Park in Northern California, Radar Station B-71 is located on Coastal Dr., just south of the mouth of Klamath River.