Tunnel to Marin Headlands Closed
The tunnel on Bunker Road from Alexander Avenue in Sausalito towards the Marin Headlands is closed for construction. Please follow the detour signs to Conzelman Road (just above the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge) to go up over the hill. More »
Muir Beach (but not nearby Muir Woods) parking lot closed July 8-November 2013
Muir Beach parking lot will be closed from July 8-November 2013 due to construction. Restrooms and parking will not be available at Muir Beach during this period. 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 »
Portuguese Dairy Farmers
PARC, Golden Gate
The Marin Headlands, with its ideal climate for raising dairy cows, was once covered with prosperous dairy farms. By the 1880s, Marin County was California’s largest producer of fresh milk and butter.
Immigrants from the Azores Islands
Much of this success was based on the hard-work of recent Portuguese immigrants, known as the Azoreans. Originally from the Azores, an archipelago of 8 rural islands west of Iberian Portugal, these men arrived in California on whaling ships. Once the vessels docked in the San Francisco area, the allure of the Gold Rush, along with the dissatisfaction of life on a ship, prompted many Azoreans to “jump ship”. Those who did not find their fortune in gold were able to use their native dairy experience to get jobs in Marin’s newly-established dairy ranches.
J. Lehman, Golden Gate
The hard work of dairy farming
Dairy farming was hard work and everyone, including the women and children, were involved in the daily chores required to keep the operation running smoothly. Until electricity came in the 1930s, the cows were milked by hand, twice a day, at 4 AM and 4 PM. Depending on the number of cows, each milking time could take up to 3 hours. In between milking, the men would sanitize and prepare the milk for transportation, clean the barns and equipment, mend the fences or work in the fields while the women would feed their family, clean and can food, and tend to the vegetable garden and livestock.
The chain of migrations from the Azores to the Sausalito was sustained by the intermarriage and strong social connections, largely based in the Roman Catholic Church. In particular, Sausalito’s Saint Mary’s Star of the Sea, founded in 1881, was where the Portuguese were most visible as a community. Every year, the Azorean community celebrated the Holy Ghost Festa, which involved a procession through town, with a musical band, a herd of brightly-decorated cows, and Portuguese cowboys dressed in their finest riding clothes. The celebration culminated in a religious mass and with the crowning of a young girl.
Did You Know?
The GGNRA museum collection, one of the larger and more diverse museum collections in the National Park Service system, contains historic documents, photographs, natural history specimens, archeological artifacts, fine and decorative art objects, furniture, vehicles, uniforms and historic firearms.