• East view from Crissy Field overlook with old Coast Guard station on left and city on right

    Presidio of San Francisco


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Pershing Square

Pershing Square
Pershing Square on the Presidio's main post. The flagpole marks the former site of the Pershing house, which was consumed by a deadly fire in 1915.

In the early years of the twentieth century, General John "Black Jack" Pershing was commander of the Presidio. While pursuing Mexican revolutionary Francisco "Pancho" Villa in 1915, a tragic fire at the Pershing home claimed the lives of his wife and three daughters. The flagpole in the center of Pershing square marks the site of the house.

El Birgen de Barbaneda, cast in 1693 in Lima, Peru.
One of two Spanish cannon at Pershing Square, El Birgen de Barbaneda was cast in 1693 in Lima, Peru.

The two bronze cannon at this site were originally mounted at Castillo de San Joaquin, a Spanish fort built to guard the Golden Gate. Forged in Peru in the 1600's, they are among six Spanish cannons at the Presidio and some of the oldest pieces of artillery in North America.

Just to the east of Pershing Square lies the site of the original Spanish Presidio, built in 1776 on this windswept slope. A boulder by the sidewalk approximates the northwest corner of the original Presidio, which formed a square about 300 feet (100 m) on each side.


Did You Know?

Fort Point, once called

In 1882, the fort now known as Fort Point was given the name "Fort Winfield Scott", a name it retained for four years before being downgraded to a sub-post of the Presidio. In 1912, the name was reused for the new coast artillery post at the Presidio, today's Fort Scott.