Because of the area’s proximity to eastern nations, Bainbridge Island history was affected by several military undertakings. In the 1900s Fort Ward was built by the U.S. Army. In 1938, the U.S. Navy took over Fort Ward from the U.S. Army, and confiscated several surrounding properties and evicted the owners. The U.S. Navy found the fort to be attractive after tests had shown that it was an outstanding location to eavesdrop on radio communication transmitted from the Far East, chiefly Japan. In August 1939, the U.S. Navy relocated the Astoria, Oregon intercept site to Fort Ward. This was the beginning of the development of Fort Ward as a top-secret military listening post. Rhombic antennas were installed on the Parade Ground, and the old post exchange/gymnasium building was converted into a top secret listening post code-named "Station S". Inside "Station S", men and women worked 24 hours a day, listening in on Japanese naval communications, which were transmitted in the Japanese Morse Code. This building is now a private home. The listening post activities were so top secret that personnel on the base were instructed not to look at the building when they walked by it.

It's interesting to think that this now family oriented neighborhood, with its beautiful, peaceful vistas, could have been the scene for a 1940 version of the television show "24". Imagine Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer eavesdropping on important top secret communications!

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