Introduction to the Site as a Cultural Landscape: Recognizing Cultural and Natural Resource Values
The Presidio of San Francisco, a unit of Golden Gate
National Recreation Area, is a cultural landscape that
is listed as a national historic landmark. Its historic
forest is an important contributing element to this
designation. Used continuously as a military garrison
for 220 years, the Presidio is unique among U.S. military
posts in that it contains buildings and artifacts from
its occupation first by Spanish and Mexican troops and
then by the U.S. Army from 1846 up to the recent past.
More than 500 of the Presidio's 870 buildings are considered
significant features. Many of the historic buildings
are leased for adaptive use by the Presidio Trust, an
independent federal agency established legislatively
in 1996 to co-manage the Presidio with the National
Historic buildings wtihin desgined landscape
The Presidio encompasses 1,480 acres on the northern tip of the San Francisco peninsula where San Francisco Bay empties into the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the Presidio is one of Bay Area residents' most beloved sites and a familiar landmark to visitors from around the world. Its fog-enshrouded historic forest, stately buildings, and dramatic views of Golden Gate Bridge provide a refuge and cultural landmark amid a densely urbanized setting.
The landscape of the Presidio today also holds many natural values. The land shelters some of San Francisco's last remaining native plant communities, important habitat for 12 rare or endangered plant species, and the last free-flowing stream in the city. Interspersed with these natural areas are clusters of buildings and patches of historic forest.