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Presidio Timeline - Key Moments
A black and white image of soldiers standing in front of a building labeled Headquarters Sixth Army.
c. 700
The Ohlone people are the first known inhabitants of the land.
 
1776
Spanish colonists from northern Mexico establish El Presidio, a frontier fort, and build the first structure on the site of the Officers’ Club.
 
1812
An earthquake seriously damages the Presidio.
 
1822
A year after Mexican independence, the Presidio changes flags but not personnel, and becomes a Mexican frontier outpost.
 
1846
The United States seizes control of the Presidio, California, and the southwest.
 
1850
President Millard Fillmore reserves the Presidio for the U.S. Army.
 
1853-1861
Fort Point is built at the entrance to the Golden Gate.
 
1858-1886
The Presidio participates in the Indian Wars in the West.
 
1861
The Civil War establishes the Presidio as a strategic military post and touches off a period of expansion.
 
1883
Major Jones’ plan for foresting the Presidio is created.
 
1890s-1900s
Coastal defense batteries are built on the Presidio’s western bluffs.
 
1891-1914
Presidio cavalry units, including the African-American “Buffalo Soldiers,” patrol the national parks in the Sierras before the creation of the National Park Service.
 
1898
Volunteers train for the Spanish-American War in the Philippines.
 
1899
U.S. Army General Hospital (renamed Letterman Hospital in 1911) opens to care for soldiers from the Philippine-American War.
 
1906
The Presidio serves as a refuge for San Franciscans following the earthquake and fire.
 
1907
Major Harts creates the first master plan for the Presidio.
 
1909
Fort Winfield Scott is constructed in the Mission style to support the most extensive coastal fortifications on the West Coast.
 
1915
Portions of the Presidio shoreline and the adjacent Marina are filled in to host the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.
 
1917
The Presidio serves as an officers’ training center during World War I.
 
1921
Crissy Army Air Field is established.
 
1937
The Golden Gate Bridge is completed.
 
1941-1945
The Presidio serves at the U.S. Western Defense Command Headquarters and trains troops for the Pacific Theater. Letterman Hospital receives the returning wounded. General DeWitt signs the order for the internment of Japanese and Japanese-Americans.
 
1962
The Presidio is designated a National Historic Landmark District.
 
1969
The new Letterman Army Medical Center opens to serve the wounded returning from Vietnam.
 
1972
The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is established; legislation determines that the Presidio will join the GGNRA should it become excess to the military's needs.
 
1989
The Base Realignment and Closure Commission designates the Presidio for closure.
 
1994
The U.S. Sixth Army departs and the Presidio officially transfers to the National Park Service (NPS).
 
1996
Congress creates the Presidio Trust.
 
1998
The Presidio Trust assumes management responsibility for the interior lands of the park.
 
2001
Crissy Field marsh and the historic air field are restored by the NPS, the Parks Conservancy, and community stewards; Presidio Vegetation Management Plan is adopted.
 
2002
The Presidio Trust Management Plan is adopted.
 
2005
Letterman Digital Arts Center and Bay School of San Francisco open at the Presidio.
 
2006
Presidio Trust earns Urban Land Institute Award for Excellence.
 
2009
The Walt Disney Family Museum opens following a complete historic rehabilitation of a Montgomery Street Barracks building.
 
2010
The Public Health Service District opens to the community as the Presidio’s first “green” neighborhood.
 
2011
Restoration at El Polin Spring and the Main Parade Ground is completed.
 
2012
The park’s first lodge, Inn at the Presidio, opens at Pershing Hall on the Main Post.
 
2013
The Presidio Trust will be independent of annual federal appropriations; Officers’ Club and Archaeology Lab will welcome the public.
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