Temporary Closure of Waters Around Alcatraz Island
From 7/3 to 9/22 a 500’ marine buffer zone is in effect, closing the perimeter of Alcatraz Island to all private vessels to protect nesting seabirds during America's Cup racing. Tours to Alcatraz continue as usual during the races. More »
Muir Beach (but not nearby Muir Woods) closed July 8-November 2013, but local businesses are open
Though Muir Beach is closed from July 8-November 2013 due to construction, the PELICAN INN IS OPEN. Restrooms and parking are not available at Muir Beach. Pacific Way is closed except to residents. Check back for updates or call (415)561-3054. More »
CAUTION: Post Storm Damage to Coastal Trail
The Presidio Coastal Trail segment just north of the Pacific Overlook and adjacent to Lincoln Blvd remains CLOSED indefinitely. We have posted signage to alert bicyclists and hikers and with information for safe trail alternatives. More »
Harbor Defenses of San Francisco, 1891-1945
Endicott Era, 1891-1928 (including the Taft Era and World War I)
As the United States completed its westward expansion and continued to industrialize in the late 1800’s, the government turned its attention to establishing the United States among the world’s great military powers. The Navy expanded to become a truly international force, and the Army assumed responsibility for the defense of the nation’s coasts and ports. President Cleveland established the Endicott Board in 1885 for the purpose of modernizing fortifications. Chaired by Secretary of War William Endicott, the board recommended new defenses at 22 U.S. seaports. The new reinforced-concrete gun batteries that resulted are known as Endicott batteries, and in fact the Endicott Era of coastal defenses lasted 50 years, with some modification, until the end of World War II.
World War II Era, 1937-1948
Although airplanes were a minor factor in World War I, their threat prompted the Army to make additions to the defense system, including small, rapid-fire anti-aircraft guns and camouflage. The existing batteries could be covered with vegetation-colored netting, but if detected, they remained vulnerable to aerial bombing. Thus, the next, and last, generation of seacoast guns was mounted under thick concrete shields covered with vegetation to make them virtually invisible from above. Sixteen-inch guns, which fired 2,000 pound projectiles to a maximum range of 25 miles, were intended to keep the newest battleships from reaching striking range. Work on the first battery for guns of this type in the U.S. began in 1936 at Battery Davis in Ft. Funston, south of the Golden Gate. The first test firing took place in 1940, from Battery Townsley in Fort Cronkhite, north of the Gate and residents of San Francisco complained that the concussion broke their windows!
To learn more about World War II in the San Francisco Bay Area, visit the National Registry of Historic Places Travel Itinerary at www.nps.gov/history/nr/travel/WWIIbayarea/index.htm.
Did You Know?
Adolph Sutro built this Cliff House in 1909 to provide San Franciscians with a relaxing place to recreate. More...