Montgomery Street, with its row of majestic barracks, is one of the Presidio’s most iconic streetscapes. Standing proudly alongside the recently-restored Main Parade Ground, several of these buildings have been brought back to life through careful rehabilitation.
Built in 1895, the majestic Montgomery Street Barracks are among the Presidio’s signature structures. Known colloquially as “infantry row,” they line the historic Main Parade Ground and once housed hundreds of soldiers en route to conflicts from the Spanish-American War and the conquest of the Philippines to Vietnam. The streetscape features five 42,000 square foot buildings (Buildings 101 to 105), each divided in half by a fire wall. A company of 109 soldiers lived in each half of each building, which had its own kitchen, stairs, rooms, and latrines. Two end buildings were formerly band barracks and have a different design and layout.
Today, five of the seven barracks have been rehabilitated and are home to Futures Without Violence (Building 100), the Walt Disney Family Museum (Building 104), and the Presidio Trust headquarters (Building 103). Buildings 101 and 106 provide space for a variety of organizations.
In October 2012, a pioneering approach to the seismic strengthening of two of these historic buildings earned the Presidio Trust a prestigious Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF). The Trust and its partner, Holmes-Culley Associates, were honored in the Craftsmanship/Preservation Technology category at the CPF’s 29th annual awards ceremony.
The Trust was honored for its groundbreaking approach in applying state-of-the-art technology to the historic rehabilitation of Buildings 101 and 103. To strengthen the unreinforced brick buildings, the Trust employed a process known as “fiber wrapping,” in which fiber-reinforced polymers were used to strengthen the buildings’ walls. It’s a technique that uses a lighter touch and better maintains the buildings’ historic character than more traditional methods. As a result, the Trust was able to preserve the buildings’ stately facades and other historic details, while leaving no visible trace of the structural repairs.
Since the seismic upgrade is almost completely hidden from view, the Trust added a “discovery window” to showcase its unusual solution. Visitors can look behind a tiny door on the wall adjacent to the reception desk in building 103 to see a small part of the carbon fiber installation.