• View of the Golden Gate Bridge, taken from the Marin Headlands, looking across the bay back towards San Francisco, seen in the distance.

    Golden Gate

    National Recreation Area California

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    Every year people drown in the surf off Northern California beaches - don't let it be you! Be extra alert on park beaches during the winter storm season. Do not turn your back on the shoreline and watch for extra powerful “sneaker” waves.

Fort Cronkhite

image of Fort Cronkhite


Fort Cronkhite, a former World War II military post located in the Marin Headlands, is the park's best preserved example of a World War II "mobilization post". Starting in 1939, the U.S. Army built hundreds of similar wood-frame, temporary military posts around the country for the wartime training and housing of soldiers. By some estimates, more than 100,000 of these buildings were constructed between 1940 and 1945.

The buildings at Fort Cronkhite, completed in 1941, are typical of thousands of wartime barracks, mess halls, supply buildings once constructed from coast to coast. Fort Cronkhite originally housed hundreds of Coast Artillery soldiers assigned to the army's sprawling Harbor Defenses of San Francisco. Their mission was to protect San Francisco Bay against enemy attack and during World War II, the soldiers manned gun batteries, radar sites, and other fortifications on the high ridges overlooking the fort.

photo of soldiers in front of a truck at Fort Cronkhite

To learn more about Fort Cronkhite history, download the Fort Cronkhite History Walk: A World War II Army Post that Helped Defend San Francisco (PDF file, 3.6 MB)

photo of Battery Townsley
Learn more about Battery Townsley, Fort Cronkhite's secret weapon.

Did You Know?

Jessie Fremont on her porch at her home at Fort Mason

John Fremont, the explorer, and his wife Jessie Benton Fremont, lived at Fort Mason. Both were abolitionists and their home, once located at the edge of the post, became a center of San Francisco’s intellectual life.