Presidio of San Francisco (May 18, 2011)
-- Two new tenants are helping to expand and create a dynamic recreation and education destination at West Crissy Field. Roaring Mouse Bikes and the University of San Francisco (USF) have taken up residence in two recently rehabilitated historic buildings along Mason Street in the Presidio. The buildings are the fourth and fifth of West Crissy’s buildings to have been rehabilitated and repurposed.
Originally built in 1921, as part of the U.S. Army Air Service’s Air Coast defense station at Crissy Field, the two buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and contribute to the Presidio’s National Historic Landmark status. Both received seismic upgrades, improved access for people with disabilities, and other improvements to accommodate contemporary uses. Much of the buildings’ historic fabric remains intact. Some elements retained from the historic aviation use have been incorporated into the rehabilitations, such as the large swinging doors formerly used to bring in aircraft engines that now are reopened and filled with windows.
"Roaring Mouse and USF bring exciting new recreation and education opportunities to West Crissy Field," says Scott Ward, development project manager for the Presidio Trust. "Their addition continues the transformation of the district into a vibrant community that welcomes visitors to exercise, explore, and learn amidst the history and natural beauty of the surroundings."Roaring Mouse
found its way to the Presidio almost by chance. Owner Chris Lane was “googling around” the internet looking for a new home for his undersized but highly regarded and popular bicycle shop (the shop takes its name from the 1959 Peter Sellers movie, and 1955 novel, The Mouse That Roared
, which has come to symbolize the triumph of the underdog). His search brought him to Crissy Field’s Building 934, a former aircraft engine test facility. The unique building matched perfectly with Lane’s vision for his shop.
“I loved the building from day one,” he says. ”I felt a connection to the location’s history as an airfield. After all, it was two bike mechanics – the Wright brothers- that invented modern flight. The industrial nature of the building seemed the perfect setting for a new bike shop.”
“The Mouse,” as it is affectionately known to its fans and customers, opened in mid-January after ten years at 15th Ave. and Irving in the Inner Sunset. A high-service bike shop, Roaring Mouse sells a full line of bikes—from basic commuter bikes selling for a couple of hundred dollars, to high-end bicycles that run several thousand—for riders of all ages and abilities; as well as accessories and other gear. Lane prides himself on providing “excellent service and no attitude.”
The new store is four times the size of Roaring Mouse’s previous facility. And unlike the old store, which was remarkably easy to miss if you didn’t know it was there, the new shop feeds off the activity from the surrounding businesses.
“It’s great to be located on an actual bike pathway, and at the nexus of several businesses that focus on fitness and youth,” says Lane. “There’s a tremendous synergy with our neighbors.”
Those neighbors now include the University of San Francisco
(USF) which early this year opened a satellite campus called USF at the Presidio
, just a few doors down in Building 920, a former aircraft motor repair shop. The 8,000 square foot building with its stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, houses several graduate programs including, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Investor Relations, Master of Science (M.S.) in Financial Analysis and M.S in Risk Management.
“These programs have proven to be an immediate hit,” says USF Provost Jennifer Turpin. “The unique, off-campus location helps build a special community among the students and fosters better relationships with the faculty.”
In addition to the courses for USF students, the USF at the Presidio campus will collaborate with the Presidio Trust on a series of lectures, artistic displays, and films that will be open to the public. These programs will focus on a wide range of topics including San Francisco politics, Latino-American culture, and the history of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
“Establishing this state-of-the-art learning facility in one of the most beautiful places on earth increases our visibility within San Francisco and gives us a conduit to partnerships through any number of social, cultural, entrepreneurial, and community-oriented opportunities,” said Marcelo Camperi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at USF.
For more information on the public programs, please contact Anne-Marie Devine
, USF’s director of media relations at (415) 422-2697, or visit www.usfca.edu
Crissy Field was created in 1921 by the US Army Air Corps to support the defense of San Francisco Bay. It was the first air coast defense station on the Pacific Coast and is the only such airfield that remains virtually intact. As the Army’s westernmost airfield, Crissy Field was an important part of early transcontinental and trans-Pacific flights. The airfield closed in 1936 when the Golden Gate Bridge was completed.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to administer the Presidio of San Francisco, an urban national park site that is located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge The Presidio comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings and houses a community of tenant organizations and residents who provide the park its financial sustenance and offer a nucleus of daily activity that has brought back much of the vibrancy of the earlier military community. Today, over 2,700 people live in the park’s former military housing, and more than 200 organizations have located in Presidio buildings, attracted by the Presidio’s beauty and historic significance.