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Letterman District

‚ÄčThe Letterman District welcomes visitors as they arrive through the Presidio's primary entrance at the Lombard Gate. It was here that the Army built its first permanent general hospital, serving military personnel during a century that included five wars. The district was named in 1911 for Major Jonathan Letterman, who created the first effective ambulance service for the evactuation of casualties during the Civil War.


The Letterman District has undergone constant change and continues to evolve today. Here visitors can connect with important stories about the Presidio's history and enjoy unique views toward San Francisco Bay, the Palace of Fine Arts, and the Golden Gate Bridge.

A History of Healing

A black and white historic photo showing the exterior of the original wood-frame Letterman Hospital with a red cross on the roof and a flagpole in front.

Working for the Sake of Mankind

For a century Letterman Hospital offered compassionate and innovative care to soldiers returning from war. Read More >>

See, Do, Learn, Explore

A photo of the exterior and gardens at the Letterman Digital Arts Center. The photo features water, trees, and a white building.

Letterman Digital Arts Center

Lovely gardens highlight this campus devoted to innovation in the arts.
A photo of the exterior of the Thoreau Center, with a flag pole, pathway,and lawn in front. The buildings have three stories and a red-tile roof.

Thoreau Center for Sustainability

A thriving home for non-profits is located inside the original Letterman Hospital.
A photo of the Wayburn Redwood Grove featuring trees and benches for visitors.

Wayburn Redwood Grove

A grove of Redwood trees honors Dr. Edgar and Peggy Wayburn, passionate open space advocates.
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