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Any Goldsworthy Wooden Spire at Sunset
Any Goldsworthy Wooden Spire at Sunset
Any Goldsworthy Wooden Spire at Sunset

Presidio Press & Stories

CNN – 10 Secrets Of The Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge - San Francisco, California

By: Katia Hetter
October 3, 2018

San Francisco (CNN) — An icon of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge is more than a means for drivers to cross between the city of San Francisco and Marin County to the north.

A grand presence in California since it first opened after four years of construction in 1937 at a cost of $27 million, the bridge has made its appearance in film (“The Maltese Falcon” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”) and poetry (“The Changing Light” by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti) and contributed to local folklore.

A Thousand Hostile Sneers

Proposed Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, Calif. by Joseph Strauss in 1921
First design drawing of Golden Gate Bridge by Joseph Strauss in 1921

“Launched midst a thousand hopes and fears; Damned by a thousand hostile sneers,” – Joseph B. Strauss, chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge in a poem he wrote to mark its completion in 1937. He died less than a year later.

Frederick Funston – the man who saved San Francisco

General Funston in San Francisco, 1906. Photo: California State ParksThe Inn at the Presidio’s historic Funston House is a renovated officer’s quarters that provides a glimpse into the Presidio at the turn of the century, when it was the epicenter of Army efforts to save San Francisco at its time of greatest need. But who was “Funston”?

Brigadier General Frederick Funston (1865-1917) and his wife Eda Blankart Funston played a pivotal role in saving the city after the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. A decorated veteran of the war in the Philippines, Funston was known for his ability to make swift decisions under pressure, an ability that may have saved tens of thousands of lives in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. The Funston family’s importance to the city is memorialized in such places as Funston Avenue, Funston playground, and Fort Funston, as well as the Inn at the Presidio’s Funston House.

The Summer of Love Knocks on the Gates of the Presidio

San Francisco Summer of Love - Circa 1967

50 years ago, the Presidio found itself surrounded by a city in the process of transformation, inspired by a simple four-letter word: LOVE.

In 1967, the world really began to take notice of the cultural revolution happening in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. A growing collection of young artists, musicians, anti-war activists and countercultural icons were breaking free of traditions in every way possible – Jefferson Airplane, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan were singing about love and LSD, anti-war protests were surging, civil rights were becoming the Black Power movement.

Protecting the Bay

These days, “protecting the San Francisco Bay” usually refers to improving water quality, restoring wetlands, or controlling invasive species. But for most of the 20th century, San Francisco Bay was America’s most valuable Pacific port, and the US Government and military invested an enormous amount of time and money building defenses against a feared enemy attack from the sea and air.

When Fear Was Stronger Than Justice

Seventy five years ago, ten weeks after the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which formed the basis for the mass forced removal and incarceration of over 110,000 Japanese Americans on the West Coast. Two-thirds were American citizens. The other third, not born in the US, were prohibited by law from becoming US citizens. Over half were children or infants.

Exploring the Golden Gate NRA Park Archives & Records Center

One of the best-kept secrets in the Presidio is in a modest brick building that used to be a stable for 102 Army mules and horses. Inside is an amazing trove of photographs, maps, building plans, and other historical treasures – about 5 million items documenting the history of the Presidio and other important historical sites within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. This is the Park Archives and Records Center (PARC), and if you are a history buff, graduate student, or are just fascinated by old maps and photographs, you owe it to yourself to come spend a few hours – or days – exploring this place.

The Presidio Celebrates 100 Years of National Parks

August 25th marks the 100th Anniversary of America’s National Park Service, and celebrations are happening at some of the best-known natural wonders in this country. Places like Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and the Great Smoky Mountains. Among these famous national treasures are some lesser known gems like the Presidio that hold not just great historical importance, but also a glimpse into how the National Parks are evolving and making themselves sustainable for the future.

Mountain Lake: A Restored Natural Jewel

If you had visited Mountain Lake 20 years ago, you would have been underwhelmed. This small urban lake at the southern tip of the Presidio was severely polluted and choked with algae. Resident bird and fish populations were dying off. It was a sad state of affairs for one of the most important natural and historical sites in the city.

San Francisco Left Its Heart in El Polín Spring

Just up the road to the south of the Inn there is a peaceful green glade full of the sound of birds and the trickle of a water. The waters spring from the underlying serpentine rock and sustain a lush riparian habitat that is one of San Francisco’s most diverse spots for birds, butterflies, and native flora. This spot, El Polín Spring, has been the heart of the human and natural history of San Francisco for many centuries. With its native plant and animal life restored as part of the complex Tennessee Hollow Watershed restoration project, the waters of El Polín now nourish a new generation of San Francisco residents and visitors.