The Presidio’s elegant gateways – Arguello Gate, Lombard Gate, Presidio Gate, and Broadway Gate – signal that visitors are entering a place of history, beauty, and national significance. To honor the importance of these symbols, the Presidio Trust completed an award-winning restoration of two of the monuments, returning them to their previous grandeur.
The Arguello Gate was built by the Army in 1896. Over the decades, it experienced much wear and tear, including being hit by a truck in 1996. This collision knocked off one of the beautifully carved sandstone capstones. Additionally, one of the large piers upon which the capstones sit had a crack so sizable that a passerby could see through to the other side.
In 2008, the Presidio Trust worked with master carver Oleg Lobykin, founder of Stonesculpt, to repair the historic gate and its adjacent walls, and to recreate the intricate carvings on the capstone. "We very much respect the labor which went into creating something like that. It’s a monument. It’s an artifact. It’s a piece of history. So we try to preserve it as much as we can,” said Lobykin.
In 2009, the Presidio Trust was honored with a Preservation Design Award in the Craftsmanship Category from the California Preservation Foundation its efforts.
In 2009, with a grant from the S.H. Cowell Foundation, repair work began on the traditional entrance to the Presidio - the Lombard Gate. Built around the same time as the Arguello Gate, Lombard was restored to a more vintage appearance. For example, replicas of the original 1930s-era light globes now adorn the capstones. Part of the gate’s southern wall, damaged several years ago by a car, was replaced with sandstone. Lobykin of Stonesculpt was brought back to restore the capstones of this gate as well.
Interestingly, a mystery remains. Like at the Arguello Gate, the “winged angel of victory” carved into one of the gate’s capstones was left unfinished. “We still don’t know what she’s holding in her hand,” explains Christiana Wallace, Presidio Trust conservator. “We never re-created it at the Arguello Gate and we won’t re-create it here because we don’t have any good evidence of what it looked like. If we are able to figure out what it is, then we’ll have it resculpted.”