Then + Now: El Presidio de San Francisco

Monday, Jun 13, 2016 Category History

The 1,500-acre Presidio we know today has its roots in the first small fort established under the Spanish flag in 1776 by the Juan Bautista de Anza Expedition – a party of 193 men, women, and children who walked overland from Sonora, Mexico all the way to the San Francisco Bay and established the first military fort in the Presidio. This fort was initially named​ El Presidio de San Francisco, and is considered by many as the birthplace of San Francisco.

Remnants from the old adobe (mud-brick) buildings can be found inside and immediately around the Presidio Officers' Club on the Main Post. This site is still a hot spot for archaeology research today. In June, the Presidio hosts "Pasados del Presidio" events, special programs commemorating the founding of the Presidio and the people of early California. Learn more and join us!

In honor of Pasados del Presidio, let's take a look at El Presidio, then and now.


Then: 1792 – An artist conception of El Presidio in 1792, looking south.


Then: 1993 – Just before the Army departed the Presidio, they discovered the foundations of the early Spanish fort. Shown here is Lieutenant Colonel Steven Fredericks, Chief of Public Affairs at the Presidio of San Francisco, behind Building 12 on Funston Avenue.

Photo credit: San Francisco Chronicle


Now: Summer 2016 – Presidio archaeologists are conducting research at an excavation site across from the Presidio Officers' Club to learn more about the original El Presidio fort. Visitors are invited to witness archaeology in action every Friday and Saturday, 10 am to 2 pm, from June 24 through October 15.
Learn more >>​