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The Historic Presidio
Hundreds of soldiers, circa 1915, stand on the Main Parade Ground with cavalry in front of the Montgomery Street Barracks.
The Presidio of San Francisco was designated a National Historic Landmark District (NHLD) – the nation’s highest classification of historic significance – in 1962 in recognition of its association with the Spanish settlement of California. In 1993 the significance of the NHLD was expanded to recognize the Presidio’s “more than two hundred years of military occupation [that] have resulted in the development of a complex historic district of several overlaid historic landscapes” and its status as “one of the longest-garrisoned posts in the country.”
Today, the 1,491 acre military post turned national park consists of more than 433 individually significant historic buildings, and more than 180 historic objects including roadways, cannon, gates, walls, and other features.
The Presidio is also home to archaeological deposits dating from the pre-European period to the 1930s, as well as important designed landscapes, and 300 acres of “historic forest” planted by the Army beginning in the 1880s.
Large areas of designed landscape are also considered historic resources, including the golf course, San Francisco National Cemetery, Crissy Airfield, and the parade grounds of Fort Scott and the Main Post. In all, this makes the Presidio of San Francisco a literal museum of historic military architecture and a rich tapestry of landscape design unparalleled in the American West.
To learn more about National Historic Landmarks and their role in preserving our nation’s heritage, visit the National Park Service’s website on the NHL program.
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