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. Explore the following links to learn more about the people, places and stories of Golden Gate.

men in jumpsuits standing in front of biplane
Learn about the Native Americans, the officers and soldiers, the immigrants, the influential women and the innovators who have shaped the history of Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
historic brick fort under iconic bridge


Learn about the park's historic military forts and recreational areas.

Alcatraz occupiers in front of dock building


The park's history includes a wide range of stories, including military defense of San Francisco Bay, historic political struggles, environmental conservation, agriculture and transporation, recreation and shared events with both the City of San Francisco and the entire nation.

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 rehabilitate, preserve and maintain historic buildings, landscapes, structures and archeological sites.
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

The park has 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.
brown booklet cover

Take a History Tour!

Visit the Self-Guided Brochure page and download these walking tours for your next visit. Learn about historic army posts from 1905 up through World War II, be able to identify different military architectural styles and experience living in a 1906 San Francisco Earthquake survivors camp.


Learn more about how the National Park Service celebrates American history!

To learn more the National Park Service's American History, various Heritage Initiatives, Thematic Frameworks and service-wide historic preservation prjoects, please visit Discover History and Historic Preservation in the National Park Service.


Last updated: February 28, 2017

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Building 201, Fort Mason

San Francisco, CA 94123-0022


(415) 561-4700
Pacific West Region Information Center (415) 561-4700 Special Event & Commercial Film Permits (415) 561-4300

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