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 »
Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War, 1898-1902
On April 21, 1898, the United States declared war against Spain. The causes of the conflict were many, but the immediate ones were America's support of Cuba's ongoing struggle against Spanish rule and the mysterious explosion of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor. It would be the first overseas war fought by the United States, involving campaigns in both Cuba and the Philippine Islands.
The Spanish fleet guarding the Philippines was defeated by the U.S. Navy under the command of Commodore George Dewey on May 1, 1898. Ignorant of Dewey’s success, President McKinley authorized the assembling of troops in order to mount a campaign against the capital of Manila. The military base best suited as the staging point for troops bound for the Philippines was the Presidio of San Francisco. The majority of these soldiers were volunteers, originating from all over the United States, gathering and training at the Presidio before the long sea voyage to the Philippines and their part in, as Secretary of State John Hay put it, the "splendid little war."
The Presidio's Role
The Presidio was a natural staging point because of its proximity to the finest harbor on the west coast, and possessed enough land to house and train large numbers of troops for service in the Philippines. The first soldiers left the Presidio in May 1898, and consisted of the 1st California Infantry and the 2nd Oregon Infantry Regiments. Soon soldiers from Washington, Montana, Iowa, Wyoming, Kansas, Tennessee, and Utah would be stationed at the Presidio in addition to the regular garrison. From the beginning of the war to 1900, some 80,000 men passed through the post on their way to the Philippines. At the turn of the century, San Francisco offered many attractions, but army life at the Presidio was cramped, and sickness often flared up in the temporary tent camps. This situation prompted the military to improve troop facilities and helped change the face of the Presidio over the ensuing years.
Most Presidio troops got to the islands too late to fight the Spanish in the brief war. However Philippine rebels had been waging guerrilla warfare against Spanish colonialism long before the U.S. became involved. Their exiled leader, Emilio Aquinaldo, quickly made contact with the attacking force already on its way to the Philippines, in the belief that the United States would help the "Insurrectos" gain independence from Spain. But expansionists in the U.S. government had other plans. After the signing of the Treaty of Paris, on December 10, 1898, which ended the war against Spain, the United States opted to give Cuba its independence but keep the Philippines, to the dismay of the Philippine nationalists.
The Philippine Fight for Independence
The United States’ drive to extend influence across the Pacific instigated a Philippine American War. Fighting broke out on Feb. 4, 1899, and eventually far exceeded that against Spain. At the outbreak, the U.S. had only a small amount of troops in the Philippines compared to Aquinaldo’s 40,000 fighters. American troop strength increased until 1901 when it numbered 75,000. Nearly all of the troops sent to fight in the Philippines spent time at the Presidio.
The United States' Role in World Politics
The Spanish-American War and its aftermath delayed Philippine independence until after World War II, but established a relationship that fostered a substantial Filipino population within U.S. borders. The United States emerged as an influential world power with its new overseas possessions, and started on a path that would affect its role in international affairs for the future century.
Did You Know?
During World War II, Fort Baker’s Horseshoe Cove was home to the Mine Planting Depot, where soldiers loaded dynamite into electrically-triggered mines that were then arranged in the water just outside the Golden Gate Bridge.