The Presidio For A Tour...

Prior to arriving in San Francisco, I had done my research and found a once-a-month free guided shuttle tour of the Presidio called History, Nature & Hidden Nooks. Being as we have never explored this historic area, we were super excited for this last tourist destination before moving on.

We began our explore at the brand new Visitor Center. We gathered maps and information to prepare us for what we would be seeing on our tour.
We met our tour guide, Jody from the Presidio Trust, who shared with us the history and the future of this 1,500 acre National Park nestled in the middle of San Francisco. We learned a great deal from her and when our hour guided tour was over, we headed out on our own.
The Presidio is where San Francisco began. We wanted to know more about the history. So the first stop was the Officers' Club which houses the Heritage Gallery. This museum tells the Presidio's story from 10,000 years ago to the present.
The Presidio's inspiring setting, at the mouth of an iconic bay, was home to native peoples for more than a thousand years. Later it became a cultural crossroads for three nations laying claim to its strategic position.

Also located inside the Officers' Club is the Earth Wall, Andy Goldsworthy's fourth and most recent Presidio installation, which offers a nod to the ongoing archaeology digs near the Club as well as to the gradual revitalization of the park's aging man-made forest (the entire area was sand, there exists an aging 300-acre forest of eucalyptus, cypress, and pine planted by the Army at the end of the 1800s).

The stables were built in 1914 after the 9th Cavalry was garrisoned here in 1903. Now the horses are just for the Park Police mounted patrol.
Under repair and intriguing to me was the pet cemetery, the last home for hundreds of loyal animals owned by families stationed at the Presidio. Most of the grave markers mimic those found in military cemeteries and sometimes reflect the pets' military lifestyle—listing birthplaces including China, England, Australia, and Germany. Many markers also include family names and owners' ranks, which include majors, colonels, and generals. Grave markers date back to the 1950s, when the Presidio was home to approximately 2,000 army families. There are numerous legends surrounding the cemetery, which some believe was originally a burial ground for nineteenth-century cavalry horses or World War II guard dogs.
A visit to a military cemetery is always very powerful and the Presidio's San Francisco National Cemetery is a breathtaking final resting place for the nation's military veterans and their families. Framed by Monterey Cypress and other majestic trees, the cemetery rests on a slope overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Among the 30,000 Americans laid to rest here are Civil War generals, Medal of Honor recipients, Buffalo Soldiers, and a Union spy.
I had read about Fort Point (1853) and while we were exploring we saw its massive presence at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge, and had to get a closer look. While its interior is only open for tours on weekends, just being outside and looking at its construction, left us very impressed. As early as the Spanish occupation of the San Francisco Bay, the southern shore of the Golden Gate was considered strategically crucial to defending the harbor. In 1851, shortly after the American occupation, the War Department ordered the construction of casemate fortifications on either side of the Golden Gate. The fort on the southern shore was assigned the highest priority; from a military perspective, the new fort would constitute the cornerstone of San Francisco Bay defenses and—by extension—the entire Pacific coast.
While more than thirty such forts existed on the east coast, Fort Point was the only one of its kind on the Pacific.
That said, advances in artillery during the Civil War demonstrated that brick forts were easily breached by rifled artillery. Soon after the war, the army reworked its coastal defense strategy and, in 1870, some of the fort's cannon were moved to East Battery. Though no longer considered the guardian of the bay, Fort Point nevertheless remained important to the army.
And the area near the Fort afforded amazing views and photo ops of the Golden Gate Bridge!
We had to make one last stop in the Presidio after reading this, "San Franciscans are notably creative spirits. Amongst us you'll find artists, writers, bibliophiles, DIY enthusiasts, crafters, collectors, and art appreciators. Yet too few of us have visited, let alone are even aware of, the Arion Press, one of the nation's last printers of museum-quality, handmade books created with traditional letterpress printing equipment." Not only did I visit, but I plan to return when they offer tours (which includes the production facilities, typefoundry, the pressroom and the bookbindery- wow).
I was allowed to savor the gallery with its display of artist books and prints. Way cool.
Our home for tonight is Half Moon Bay State Beach. We delighted in watching these shorebirds frolic until the sun went down.


“Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.” 
― Dr. Seuss

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3 comments:

Karen Booth said...

WOW ON YHE SUNSETS! Spectacular.....

Aquí Ahí Allá said...

I love your sand and ocean pictures at the end of your post.
I have been to Presidio as well, but not for 15 years. I remember that the history was interesting.
The Golden Gate bridge looks good from all angles... :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing.
I love the "city" and visit as often as I can.
My favorite haunt is Crissy Field..

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