History & Culture

The history and culture of Golden Gate National Recreation Area is as varied and diverse as the stories of the Ohlone and Coast Miwok communities, Muir Woods redwood forest, successful Mexican and early American dairy farms, the U.S. Army's development of the Bay Area's expansive seacoast defenses, Alcatraz Island and elegant early 20th century recreational baths and gardens.

Golden Gate National Receation Area encompasses a wide variety of history and resources. The park manages over 700 historic buildings, including 5 National Historic Landmarks and represent one of the country's largest collection of military installations and fortifications. There are over 60 recorded archeological sites, including sites from the Spanish and Mexican periods. Visit the following pages to learn more about our history and available resources.

ornate building perched over ocean


Learn about the various historic military forts and recreational areas at Golden Gate, including Alcatraz, Fort Point, Fort Mason, Fort Baker, Fort Barry, Fort Cronkhite, Lands End, Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Sutro Gardens, Fort Mason, as well as the learning about the park's different architectural styles.

historic medicine bottles


Our park collections contains over 3 million historic objects, documents, images and specimens. Visit our collection page to see different on-line museum program exhibits, including the Alcatraz Island Exhibit, the Golden Gate's Military Story and the Parks for the People: 40 years of GGNRA Exhibit.

man on ladder inside building

Learn about how the park professionals preserve and rehabilitate historic buildings and military batteries, document and protect historic archeological sites, historic landscapes and landscape features, such as historic railroad tracks.
woman pulling maps from flat file drawer

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area's Park Archives and Records Center (PARC) is a valuable resource for research. We have finding aids for many of our historic sites and subjects and can help with all types of research including publications, exhibitions and student work.
cover of NPS publication
Cultural Resource Publications and Documents

To help us learn more about our resources, we have produced a wide variety of documents, including historic building reports, cultural landscape reports, preservation manuals and historic resource studies. Many of these documents are now available on-line for the public.

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