Guardian of the Golden Gate
Before there was San Francisco, there was the Presidio. The lands at the Golden Gate – and the events that transpired here – have shaped our nation's history, culture, and ways of engaging with nature and the environment.
The site was first occupied by the Ohlone for thousands of years before it was claimed as a military post that would ultimately serve under three flags: Spain, Mexico, and the United States. In its 148 years as an American military post, thousands of U.S. Army soldiers passed through the Presidio's gates, serving our nation around the world.
The Presidio ultimately became one of the most important military posts in the United States. As a result, the park is home to one of the nation's finest collections of fortifications, buildings, structures, and artifacts related to military history, including the campus at Fort Scott. In 1962, Congress named the Presidio a National Historic Landmark District
From Military Post to National Park
In 1972, Congress created one of the world's largest national parks in an urban setting – the Golden Gate National Recreation Area – and declared that the Presidio would join that park should the military ever leave. At the end of the Cold War in 1989, Congress decided to close the Presidio. Its tenure as a military post ended in 1994 when the U.S. Army lowered its flag for the last time and the Presidio became a national park.
Over the past two decades, the Presidio has undergone an exciting "post to park" transformation. The Presidio Trust, the National Park Service, and the non-profit Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy have rehabilitated hundreds of historic buildings as visitor destinations, homes, and workplaces; restored native habitats; built hiking and biking trails; and created destinations and programs to welcome visitors.
The Presidio Today
Today, the 1,491-acre Presidio is a unique national park managed through an innovative partnership model that brings together energy and resources from the government, nonprofit, and business sectors. The park is a major attraction, a national treasure, and a place for the exchange of ideas.
The Presidio welcomes more than five million visitors each year, and its historic buildings are home to 3,000 residents and 200 tenant organizations, from high-tech start-ups and foundations to visitor destinations.
Visitors can hike on a 24-mile trail network, discover art exhibitions indoors and out, including works by famed artist Andy Goldsworthy, visit one of San Francisco's oldest buildings reborn as a museum and cultural center, bird watch at restored wetlands, or host an inspiring conference in a historic venue.