Exhibit in Visitor Center Beckons You to Enter
How would you like to explore the salty old waterfront of the town sailors used to call "Frisco"? You can! San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park has created a visitor experience that invites you to walk through time as you see, hear, and touch San Francisco's historic working waterfront. (The Visitor Center is at 499 Jefferson Street in SF, cross street Hyde, and open seven days a week from 9:30am to 5pm, 415-447-5000.)
Make your way south to the watery inlet of Channel Street. Not actually a street, today it's called Mission Creek and it feeds McCovey's Cove at the AT&T ballpark. Here, you'll find hay scows or lumber schooners, unloading fresh lumber from Puget Sound just over your head, while the clamor of steel shipyards waits for you further south.
View two slide presentations that are part of the exhibit on wooden shipbuilding on San Francisco Bay and the coastal lumber trade.
This exhibit was a labor of love for park staff, who worked with Academy Studios to design a visitor experience that avoided the walls and cases of a typical museum. It would take a year of research and design plus three more years to complete. Over 360 artifacts from the Park's collection are carefully tucked into ship facades, store front windows, and even ship passengers' luggage.
Did You Know?
This "Plimsoll Mark" is painted on the port side of Balclutha and named for Samuel Plimsoll, an Englishman who fought to pass the Merchant Shipping Act of 1876. Before this law, many ships were dangerously overloaded and many sank. These “coffin ships” claimed the lives of many sailors. More...