Used as a military fort for 219 years from 1776 to 1994 by New Spain, Mexico and the United States consecutively, the Presidio of San Francisco is a historical complex that is now open to visitors as part of the part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area

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Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco

Used as a military fort for 219 years from 1776 to 1994 by New Spain, Mexico and the United States consecutively, the Presidio of San Francisco is a historical complex that is now open to visitors as part of the part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Used as a military fort for 219 years from 1776 to 1994 by New Spain, Mexico and the United States consecutively, the Presidio of San Francisco is a historical complex that is now open to visitors as part of the part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Spread over 1480 acres, it encompasses hills, wooded areas, marshes, beaches, and landmark buildings. Explore the park to admire the breathtaking vistas on a hike, and discover the various historic attractions.

  • Beaches and rocky shoreline lie at the base of the coastal bluffs, while the higher areas provide expansive views of the Pacific coastline. The Coastal Trail extends along the stretch where some of the most pristine natural habitats in the Presidio harbor rare plants adapted to cool foggy conditions.
  • A mature forest of pine, cypress, eucalyptus and other non-native trees covers the higher areas of the Presidio. The army planted these trees from the 1880s through the 1940s in order to make the area appear larger with more relief, to limit visibility within the Presidio, and to beautify the post. Perched high atop the complex, Inspiration Point has great views over the Bay and is great to visit at all times of the day.
  • One of the oldest foot trails in the Presidio, the Lovers' Lane that connects the Presidio Gate to the Main Post is an easy, one-mile walk. U.S. soldiers used the trail to visit their lovers and family in San Francisco.
  • One of three memorials on U.S. soil dedicated to missing service members of WWII, the West Coast Memorial is a curved wall of California granite set in a grove of Monterey pine and cypress overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It bears the names of 413 members of the Armed Forces who lost their lives or were buried at sea in the offshore Pacific coastal waters.
  • Built in 1864 during the Civil War, the Old Post Hospital is one of the oldest extant buildings in the complex. It displays both Italianate and Greek Revival architectural styles. The original structure was modified by adding wings and enclosing the porches. In 1897, an octagonal surgical tower with windows on all sides was added to provide a well-lit operating room.
  • Built in the early 1930s, the Post Interfaith Chapel is a cruciform-shaped sanctuary that stands as a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, with features that embellished early mission churches. Stained glass windows depict virtues of military character, and a large wall mural by Victor Arnautoff depicts the peacetime activities of the Army.
  • Founded in 1895 by the private San Francisco Golf and Country Club, the original 9-hole Presidio Golf Course was one of the earliest courses on the West Coast. In 1910, the course was expanded to 18-holes. Today, the course is open to the general public.
  • Buildings 101 through 105, known as 'Infantry Row,' were constructed in the late 1890s to accommodate troops consolidated at the Presidio after the Indian Wars. These were some of the first brick barracks constructed in the west, and are in Colonial Revival style with Romanesque elements.
  • Situated near the gun batteries of the coastal bluffs, Fort Scott was established in 1912 to serve as headquarters for the Coastal Artillery Corps of the San Francisco Bay area. Spanish Revival style buildings, the first of this style to be built on the Presidio, characterize the post, and the U-shaped parade ground breaks from traditional quadrangular design. The post was eventually converted to an Army Education Center.
  • From 1921 to 1936, Crissy Army Airfield was the center of West Coast military aviation, and one of the country's most active and strategic military airstrips. During these years of explosive advances in air power, pilots from Crissy performed maneuvers and mock battles, flew endurance flights, surveyed the west by air, and scouted for forest fires. Once known as the 'city's front yard' and 'Golden Gate promenade', this 28 acre site has now been transformed into recreational space for joggers, cyclists, walkers, and picnickers. There is also a significant project underway to return 18 acres back to its original tidal marshlands, home to local wildlife such as migrating long-billed curlews, plovers, and western sandpipers.
  • The Main Post is at the heart of the Presidio. It marks the site of a Spanish garrison established here in 1776 and it is home to the oldest buildings in the Presidio, dating back to 1861. The flagpole in Pershing Square at the Main Post marks the site of a disastrous 1915 fire that destroyed the residence and killed the wife and three daughters of General John 'Black Jack' Pershing of World War I fame. Just east lies the site of the original Spanish presidio, built in 1776 on this slope. A boulder by the sidewalk approximates the northwest corner of the original Presidio, which formed a square about 300 feet (100 m) on each side. Two bronze cannons at this site, forged in the 1600s, were originally mounted at Castillo de San Joaquin, a fort built at the point overlooking the Golden Gate. They are among the oldest cannons in North America.
  • El Polin spring water bubbles from a rock wall at the head of this riparian valley. The spring provided a source of fresh water for the Spanish Presidio, and Spanish and Mexican families built their homes in this sheltered valley. Today, you can picnic in the bucolic meadows near the spring or explore the surrounding forest and grasslands.
  • Five brick cavalry stables were built in 1914, each of which could house 102 horses. A paddock stood between the stables and the cavalry barracks on the hill behind, and a blacksmith shop was in front. After the cavalry left the stables, they were adapted to other uses ? the Pet Cemetery was started and also a veterinary hospital.
  • Arion Press is considered the best publisher of fine press books in the nation. They offer tours of their gallery, which has a large collection of limited edition books and prints; and of the production facility, including the pressroom and the type-foundry that contains the oldest hot metal type foundry in the country.
  • With its beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival-style exterior, the Golden Gate Club was originally dedicated in 1949 as a first-class service club for enlisted men and women and was the site of several historic treaty signings during the early days of the Korean War. Stylishly remodeled, the club is now a full-service conference and events center.
  • Originally built by the Spanish with adobe walls, Officers Club was remodeled in the 1930s in the Spanish Colonial Revival-style adorned with rustic Spanish-tile gable roofs, heavy, rough timber lintels and beams, and decorative ironwork.


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About Presidio of San Francisco

 San Francisco, CA 94129, USA

 +1 415-561-4323

 www.nps.gov

Presidio of San Francisco and Nearby Sights on Map

Post Interfaith Chapel

Built in the early 1930s, this cruciform-shaped sanctuary is a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, with features that embellished early mission churches

San Francisco National Cemetery

Many military personal have been buried here over the years, including a General from the American Civil War and 35 Medal of Honor recipients

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

The Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center provides information on the sanctuary and features hands-on educational exhibits on local marine life

Walt Disney Family Museum

Opened in 2009, this museum focuses on the life of Walt Disney and his accomplishments

Battery East

This fortification was built in the 1870s, to withstand newer and heavier ordinance

Mountain Lake Park

A small hiking trail winds around this scenic lake, noted for its historic importance in that it supplied water to the nearby colonial Spanish settlement of the Presidio

Mountain Lake

The campsite of the Anza settlement party in 1776, it became a source of fresh water for San Francisco during the early years

Letterman Complex

Established in 1898 to care for sick and wounded soldiers, it is the Army's oldest named general hospital and during WWII it became the largest Army hospital in the country

Palace of Fine Arts

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco is one of the few extant structures from the 1915 World's Fair, and one of the most photogenic spots in the city

Battery Chamberlin

Battery Chamberlin, built near Baker Beach in 1904, was constructed as part of a modernization effort to accommodate the lighter, stronger, more powerful coastal defense weapons developed in the 1880s