Way back in 1875, the Treasury Department built a U.S. Marine Hospital at the Presidio just west of Mountain Lake to provide for "the temporary relief . . . of sick or disabled seamen" from all around the world. Though located on the military post, the hospital was not run by the U.S. Army.
From 1881 until 1912, sailors who died here and who could not be returned home were laid to rest on a hillside behind the hospital. More than 500 mariners from 30 states and 43 countries were buried here. As the years passed, the cemetery was forgotten and turned into a landfill. It wasn't until 1989 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rediscovered the site.
History Meets Nature
In 2011, the area around the cemetery was restored to a dune habitat, and the Marine Cemetery Vista was created to ensure that the long-departed sailors would never be forgotten again.
As with many sites in the Presidio, this is a place where history and nature converge. The vista is located along the Mountain Lake Trail, a boardwalk that snakes through the native dune plants and grasses that now grow and thrive here. To recreate the dunes, the Presidio secured 25,000 cubic yards of native sand made available when the underground parking garage was built at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.
Visit the Marine Cemetery Vista
The Marine Cemetery Vista is immediately behind the former hospital, now a housing community known as the Presidio Landmark. The Presidio GO Shuttle stops nearby. If driving, paid parking can be found on Wedemeyer Street.
For further park exploration, take the Mountain Lake Trail to connect to the Park Trail or the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.