Civilian Memories: 1950s and earlier

G.M. Dan Deitrick on horse in Presidio in 1926
Dan Deitrick between 7 and 11 years old jumping a horse at the Presidio in the 1920's.

Photo courtesy of G.M. Dan Deitrick

Posted: 09-Nov-08

Contributed by: Elizabeth

Year(s): 1906

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My grandmother remembers going to the presidio during the earthquake and she told me about waiting in the bread lines and I remember she was crying when she told me.

Contributed by: Richard Frisbie
Age at the time: 0
Live on the Presidio: MacArthur Blvd
Civilian: Memories of my mother, Alaizon Smith, who’s father was Major Jack Smith. My wife, Janet, and I returned to San Francisco to retire. This was never part of a plan that we were aware of but...The Presidio is now a wonderful part of my life

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Hearing my mother talk about living on The Presidio; the sounds of a military base in operation; the cold fog rolling over the hills; walking past the sand dunes where the Marina is to get to Galileo High; getting bread daily from the bakery on Alcatraz. It sounds like a magical place to have grown up. My personal highlight experience is July 4 each year and the parade to the cemetery where my grandfather and grandmother rest.

Posted: 22-May-08
Contributed by: Kathleen Allen
Year(s): 1951-1956
Age at the time: 0-6
Lived off the post.
Civilian: Father was stationed at the Presidio

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I was born at Letterman Army Hospital in November of 1951. My father (William E. Allen) was, at that time, the pipe major of the 6th army bagpipe band. Although I was very young, I do remember the bagpipe band. The drum major, Dan Healy, was my godfather.

Humorous memories: Most of the stories I have are my fathers stories that he told us. When my brother was born, the entire bagpipe band was at my parents’ home in San Francisco. They were playing the pipes and drums and when they finished, my dad went outside to make sure they weren't disturbing the neighbors and the entire neighborhood was in the front of the house listening to the music. They were good. I do remember that. We have may photographs of the band.

Posted: 24-Feb-08
Contributed by: Bud Legg
E-mail address:
Year(s): 1943-1945

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I have found and bought a desk that was used at headquarters by Pfc. Thomas J. Bradburn during WWII. What makes it of intrest is on the bottom of one of the drawers is a note from Pfc. Bradburn, it reads 4:00pm 14th August 1945. The War Is Over. I have been lucky enough to have found the widow and son of Pfc. Bradburn. Yes, he was posted at the fort during WWII. I'm sorry to say Pfc. Bradburn passed away in Jan. 2008. I am happy to be able to tell you that this wonderful piece of American WWII and Fort Scott history is safe and will be well taken care of.

Posted: 20-Feb-08
Age at the time: 6
Lived off the post.

Most vivid Presidio Memories:Sitting on a blanket on a weekend afternoon, listening to a band concert.

Posted: 25-Sep-07
Contributed By: G.M. Dan Deitrick
Email address:
Year(s): 1926 to 1930
Age at the time: 7 to 11
Lived on Presidio at: 189 Infantry Terrace
Civilian: Son of Col. L.L. Deitrick

Most vivid Presidio Memories: This will probably be one of your earliest reminiscences. My father, Col. L.L. Deitrick, was stationed at the Presidio from 1926 to 1930 as post quartermaster. I was 7 years old when we arrived there and 11 when my father was transferred to a new assignment as commanding officer of the Columbus General Depot in Columbus, Ohio. What a great place the Presidio was for children in those days. We had the run of the whole post and used to hike out to old Fort Point to explore the old structure, and all over the rest of the post. We built log cabins in the woods, and had a grand time.

Posted: 14-Jan-08
Contributed by: Paula Haroldsen
E-mail address:
Years: 1957-'59
Age at the time: 20-21
Civilian: Military wife. We lived off post at 12th & Balboa.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The absolutely stunning beauty of the location. Being awed by the officer's wives I'd see while shopping at the PX or commissary (their clothes, furs, and auras of superiority).

Humorous memories: My husband, El, was a SP-4,in C&A. He never wanted to pull duty in the kitchen or any other un-pleasant areas, so would pay others to take his place.

There was a fellow SP-4 in his area who had married a French girl and who, when he had Post Police duty would collect and ask others to collect the many snails on the grounds so he and his wife could have escargot.

Other Memories: El was one of the members of the"cannon firers" who saluted officers and dignitaries coming into S.F and/or the Presidio. Nikita Kruschev visited S.F. during this time and El and his fellow members of the group were designated as the "luggage carriers" for the Russians. On this particular day I was at work in my office at the Federal Reserve Bank, so didn't get to see this particular happening.

I attended other ceremonies at the Presidio, however, during which the cannons were fired and never ceased to be impressed. We have some pictures of this group and will keep them always.

On a more personal note, all service personnel and dependents at this time were ordered to have polio shots, given at the Presidio. After riding a bus from SansomeStreet back to the Presidio during a work day, I was given my shot in my left arm by a WAC who unfortunately broke the needle off in my arm by striking the bone. Very sore arm for awhile!

Posted: 17-Jun-07
Contributed By: M. Brazeau
Email address:
Years: 1957-1963
Age at the time: ages 1-7
Lived on the Presidio at: Funston Ave.
Civilian: My Dad was an Army Major.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I used to play around the brook where the little brick bridge goes over, where the eucalyptus groves are. There was a small patch of palm trees across the field with a neat little opening where a kid could hide and we pretended it was our fort. It has been removed now. I miss hearing the trumpet and cannons firing at the end of the day and seeing my dad come walking across the parking lot from his office to our home on Funston Ave.

Humorous memories: One Halloween night my sister and I were out trick or treating and came upon a house that offered a Hostess type pie or 45 rpm record all set out on a table with a dark cloth on it. A man's voice came out and said to choose only one or the other. After thinking for a moment my sister went to take a record and a pie and from the dark behind the table the man's voice issued forth a warning, "uh-uh-uh-take only one." My sister, surprised she was busted quickly returned the pie and took the record of Haley Mills in the Parent Trap and we took off.

Other Memories: In later years after we moved, my dad still had Army medical coverage and I stayed in LAMC hospital when I was 18 and though I was ill I have fond memories of staying there. I met a young G.I. in the solarium and we hit it off and walked around the hospital talking in our hospital issued clothes/pajamas something you don't do in civilian hospitals. After 5 weeks in the hospital the bill came to something like $108.00 total (for the food) All the tests they ran on me must have cost the taxpayers quite a bundle since they took a while to diagnose me. It was a strange case and at one point they had some kind of APB out all over the country for other people in military facilities with similar symptoms, but in the end it just turned out to be mono with a secondary hepatitis infection.

Posted: 01-May-07
Contributed By: John Hasie
Email address:
Age at the time: 4-10 years old
Lived on the Presidio at: Ft. Barry & Fort Baker
Civilian: Father was assigned @ Letterman Gen Hospital & 6th AARADCOM @ Fort Baker.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I and my sister were born in Letterman General (Army) Hospital. Being a return patient in LGH in 1957 with a sprained ankle. Walking and riding across the GGB, going thru Bunker Road Tunnel to Fort Barry. Having to wait outside the PX and Commissary due to a ban on underage dependents being allowed in. Thanksgiving & Christmas dinners in the Letterman Hospital dining facility (Mess Hall In those days).

Humorous memories: Having parents chase me and older brother around the parking lots. Getting lost in the hospital.

Other Memories: Transferring from military Housing Fort Barry to new Capehart/Wherry Quarters at Fort Baker. Saddest time was when Father received orders to Germany April 1960, enjoyed being in Germany, though. Returned to States April 1964 to Fort Ord. My Father tried to get his orders changed back to Presidio or Fort Baker without success. While in San Francisco, visiting Fort Baker and finding that the Capehart/Wherry housing had deteriorated so badly in four year period.

Posted: 22-Apr-07
Contributed By: Seale Bagnal Lea
Email address:
Age at the time: 7
Lived on Presidio at: 1515-B Pershing Drive, Wherry Housing
Civilian: Daughter of Army Lt. Col.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Attended Alamo School in 2nd grade with Carol Miller, Renita Mock, Stanley Van Dyke, Russell Turner, and others. Father died unexpectedly while on active duty there - my mother and I returned within 2 days of the death to the hometown of each of my parents' families in South Carolina so I was not able to tell my friends/neighbors goodbye. Friends of my parents includedMavis and Don Black, our neighbors, the Jane and Jim Pittaway, and civilians Rene and Archie Mock of San Mateo.

Other Memories: Orange California poppies blooming on the hillsides.Gateway Market, where my parents shopped.

Posted: 19-Dec-06
Contributed By: David Manning
Email address:
Age at the time: 5-9 yrs
Lived on the Presidio at: 1302 Kobbe Ave, Ft. Scott.
Civilian: Army Brat. Father was assigned to Provost Marshal General's Office; Retired at the Presidio, Lt. Colonel, Sept '62.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Riding the Army bus to the back gate and walking to Sutro School and back from there; walking through the Cemetery down to the Post theatre for Saturday movies.

Other Memories: Halloween parties at the NCO Club were always a lot of fun, and turning-in our collected pennies for UNICEF; watching the Fourth of July fireworks over Crissy Field. I remember seeing the hospital ship 'HOPE' come through the Golden Gate; getting the Salk Polio vaccine on a sugar cube at the Dispensary; looking through the little 'hatch' at the original adobe wall of the Officer's Club; getting to go up to Lt. Bill Nieder's room at the BOQ (also on Kobbe Dr.) and him showing us his Gold Medal for the Shot Put in the 1960 Olympics.

Posted: 08-Aug-07
Contributed By: Marilyn Allan
Email address:
Age at the time: I wasn't born
Did not live on the post: My Grandfather and Mother lived on post.

Most vivid Presidio Memory: I am writing about my grandfather, Frank M. Koch who was a Lt. Colonel at the Presidio during WWII. My mother, Jeanne Koch Hall, was working in San Francisco, and she and her friends would go to the Officer's Club at the Presidio and act as hostesses there. She met my Dad who was in the Navy at the time at the Officer's Club. Her father, Frank Koch, is buried at the Presidio.

Humorous memories: My father is from Hollandale, Mississippi, which is a very small town in Mississippi. My mother had already met him when another Naval officer came in one night, and he said he was from Mississippi. He said he was from Greenville, Miss. which is a little bigger than Hollandale and about 25 miles away. Mama asked him if it was anywhere near Hollandale? He couldn't believe she would have heard of Hollandale in San Francisco. It ended up he and my daddy had grown up together in Hollandale. My dad has since passed away, but the other man still tells this story to people. Small world!

Posted: 20-Mar-07
Contributed By: Ken Sproul
Email address:
Age at the time: 6-16
Lived near the Presidio
Was a civilian: Neighborhood kid

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I grew up and in the Marina; played in Presidio. After WWII the Presidio was open to civilian kids. We played all over the place. Army kids were bused to Winfield Scott Grammar school on Divisadero Street and I knew kids whose fathers were in the Army, from sergeants to Colonels. Some lived off base.

Humorous memories: During Korean War friend’s father had a printing business and couldn't get lead or copper for type. Going to the .45 pistol range on bikes with out newspaper saddle bags and mother's colanders and straining the sand for bullets. Loading up with as much as we could move, walking home and avoiding M.P.s. Getting $.05/pound.

Other Memories: Many. A wonderful place with many mysteries. Haircuts for $.50, trying to buy stuff at the P.X. The enlisted men's club with Dr. Pepper machines, only place in SF with D.P. "Clubhouse" in old brick gun batteries near GG Bridge toll plaza. Entering forbidden buildings/area. Ft. Point, range finder emplacements (with equipment),AA batteries with what appeared to be stored ammo. All 'off limits'. Fishing off Crissy pier, riding bikes everywhere, talking to lonely soldiers from all over the US. Picking up discarded Coke bottles and returning them for deposit. Having friends whose fathers did not come home from the war. Climbing down cliffs to the beach between FT. Point and Baker's Beach. Finding 'souvenirs', shell casings, etc.

Posted: 9/06/04
Contributed by:
Carol Putman
E-mail address:
Year: 1943
Age at the time: 0
Did not live on the post
Civilian: Father was a Sergeant? in U.S. Army stationed at Ft. McDowell, Angel Island
Connection with the Presidio: Born at Letterman Hospital and lived on Angel Island at Ft. McDowell

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The Presidio has always held a very special place in my heart. Aside from being born there in 1943, I received medical care there as a military dependant until I was 18, and my father returned to work there during the last days of his military career before retiring in 1964. Every visit to the Presidio was filled with excitement at seeing the picturesque white bungalows and stately general's quarters and hearing the creaking wooden floors in the old hospital with it's long corridors. The grounds were always beautiful groomed with all the lovely old trees and manicured, vast lawns making it a "park-like" setting even then.

Posted: 16-May-05
Contributed by: Laurie Oberhouse Housholder
E-mail address:
Year: 1944
Did not live on the post
Connection with the Presidio: Father was at Letterman Hospital

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My father, Robert Oberhouse passed away this Feb. (2005) at the age of 80 years old. He was a soldier during WWII, and was blinded and wounded on the island of Bougainville. When he was sent back to the states in 1944, he was at the Letterman General Hospital. I found your site because I was looking up the history of this place that so many wounded veterans passed thru. Although I have not a specific story to tell, I do have my father's address book, full of names of people he met during that time of recovery. Some were listed with rank, or with an address of the Nurses Quarters, others without title. I assume were either nurses or volunteers who visited the wards and brought friendship and cheer.

Other Memories: I'd like to share this list, in case any of these nurse's family members are searching for a small detail of their story:

Nina Brandt, 2Lt, ANC
Ann Campbell, Ward K1
Lena Campangna
Norma Chiaverinni
Mary Jane Davis
Sally Dover (address Nurses Qtrs)
Lillian Dexon (Nurse's Qtrs)
Marjorie Ratiu
Fran Robinson
Raymond Sullivan
Helen Wright (Nurse's Qtrs)
Betty Bird
Agnes Denegri
Jack Holt
Joanne Healy
FF Maxwell, Maj MC
Bee Norlon
Margaret Pendergast
Elsie Robedean
L.W. Fortner
Margaret Hale
Ruth Johnson (Nurse's Qtrs)
Wilhelmina H Kiest
Lemart W Korrid, PFC
John Miller
Elizabeth Newton

May God Bless these people who served our soldiers!!!!

Posted: 06-Dec-04
Contributed by: Chuck Mallary
E-mail address:
Year(s): 1947/1954
Age at the time: 10
Lived on the post at what is now called the USPHS Hospital but back then was the Marine Hospital. We first lived in building 1810 and then moved into building 1811, the Commanding Officers quarters, in about 1950.
Connection with the Presidio: My father was a medical officer in the USPHS.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My dad was a commissioned officer assigned to the Marine Hospital from 1947 thru 1954. He was promoted to MOC (Medical Officer in Charge/Commanding Officer) in the early 1950's when the new wings were added to the Marine Hospital. As I recall it was a 5 million dollar expansion. The construction project gave him an ulcer but he saw it through to completion.

The Marine Hospital, though not technically part of the Presidio, was on the edge of it and I often roamed the Presidio as a boy of age ten and into my early teenage years. Access for me was usually on my bike either through the Arguello Blvd gate or more often by a disused road immediately west of Park Presidio Blvd. My buddies and I explored the whole Presidio from Baker Beach, to Fort Point, to Crissy Field on foot and on our bikes. We used to hunt lost golf balls on the golf course and got chased off a number of times by irate golfers who thought we shouldn't be on the course. That is the only hassle I can recall in our hiking and biking around the Presidio.

A couple of memories stick in my mind. First was the wonderful 25 cent malted milk shakes available at a canteen adjacent to the parade ground. Next was the summer day in 1949 or 1950 when, having heard that the USS Boxer would be coming through the Golden Gate the next morning, I got up extra early, rode my bike to a vantage point somewhere up high in the Presidio and watched in awe as this huge aircraft carrier came out of the fog under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Aside from the natural beauty of the area my most vivid memory of the Presidio is the smell of Eucalyptus trees and Monterey Pines and the crunch of ice plant underfoot. To this day whenever I visit California and get a whiff of Eucalyptus it brings back fond memories of a kid cut loose in the Presidio in a kinder and gentler age. It must have been equally grand for the kids of army personnel who actually lived on base and not on the edge of it as I did.

Humorous memories: My most humorous memory is of the dread of the long uphill climb from the parade ground to the Arguello entrance. I don't recall ever making it to the top pedaling my one speed bike -- always had to stop and rest about halfway or less and then walk the bike to the top.

Other Memories: It is so nice to see that the Presidio has been preserved as a National Park. When it closed as an Army base I had an ugly vision of it being sold off to the highest bidder and redeveloped in the same style and density as the Sunset District! Also, it is great to read that plans are well advanced to rehabilitate and reuse the buildings in the PHSH area. I visited both the Presidio and the PHSH grounds a few years ago and though the Presidio looked well preserved it was sad to see the PHSH facilities so run down and vandalized.

Posted: 08-Jun-05
Contributed by: Chris Jesseman
E-mail address:
Year(s):1952 - 56
Age at the time: 2 - 6
Lived on the post in a row of duplex quarters on a hill.
Dad was a Lt. Col in the Medical Corps. He was a surgeon stationed at the Presidio.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: Making our way down to the beach to collect sand crabs. Going to Palace of Fine Arts and feeding the ducks. The Palace itself was fenced off due to structural damage. Walking across the huge parade ground on our way to and from the movie theater.

Humorous memories: Getting picked up by the MP's for going down to the beach by myself.

Other Memories: Walking through the woods in the back of our quarters. At night looking out my window and watching the Oakland skyline. Going to some fancy restaurant off post where it rained on stage during the shows.

Posted: 7/31/04
Contributed by:
Bruce Corley Jr.
E-mail address:
Year(s): 1953/1954, then after 1969
Age at the time: 0 -1 yrs, relocated and visited from age 16
Did not live on post
Was a civilian: Father was in the 6th Army Band, then was appointed to the United States Military Academy, West Point. Father was a SGT at a starting rank and career in the Army
Connection with the Presidio: I was born at the Letterman, also brother, John and sister Paula

Most vivid Presidio Memories: As an infant all my health and medical services were perform here as well for my mom and dad. Also I had visited a number of times as dad had medical treatment later on at the new Letterman hospital. I had health and medical review as I was applying to the United States Military Academy, West Point. My parents would do their shopping so they had continued to use the services after dad retired from the USMA Military Academy Band in West Point.

Other Memories: A nice landmark and historical event for my family. I have visited during different stages of my youth from 1969 over a 30 yr period. Now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Posted: 6/12/04
Contributed by:
Jean Carrie Fisher
Year(s): 1953 through 1955
Age at the time: 0-2 yrs.
Lived off-post at: a boarding house on Polk St.
Was a civilian: my father was Reg. Army -- Engineer Corps. He was Sgt. Roy L. Fisher, now deceased
Connection with the Presidio: My Father was a terminal cancer patient in the "Old Letterman" -- I spent most of the first 2 yrs. of my life

Most vivid Presidio Memories: I believe that my earliest conscious memories are of my being in the Old Letterman Hospital (the wooden building -- before they built the huge concrete one...)with my Mother -- visiting my Father in the "terminal ward" where he lay dying of cancer. I remember one time when, to keep me occupied and quiet, one of the WAC nurses, I suppose, had given me a Christmas stocking (the kind that used to come from the "dime store" that had pieces of hard candy, a couple of lollipops and some small toy -- like a set of jacks -- in it. They were made out of that red net material--like they make produce sacks out of...) I remember that I was underneath my Father's hospital bed, playing with the stocking, while my Mother visited with him (we spent nearly every day -- all day -- there with him for months and months before he passed away...) and I remember gazing down this long row of the underside of the beds in the ward-- and it reminded me of looking down a tunnel... A lot of times, to give my Mother some "private time" with my Father, the nurses would take me across the street for an hour or so to the Palace of Fine Arts -- I remember the pond there had swans in it... Being so little (less than two) I was (thankfully) mostly oblivious to the tragic scene that was going on around me -- but I knew that, whenever my Mother and I went to visit my Father at the hospital, that I must be on my very best behavior and not make too much noise so as not to disturb him or the other patients in the ward. Even after my Father died, the Presidio was a big part of our lives for my Mother and me. We still went there all the time to shop, to go to the doctor, to get our dependents' cards and other things... The site where my Father is buried in the Presidio Cemetery, overlooks San Quentin and the mouth of the Bay -- majestic looking trees rise up behind it and you can see the entire Golden Gate Bridge from his graveside -- it really is a beautiful, peaceful place...

Posted: 6/12/04
Age at the time: kindergarten age
Lived on the post at: Funston Avenue, right by the playground
Father was in the military: My Dad was a Captain in the Army
Connection with the Presidio: child of an Army officer

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The spaciousness and the sheer beauty of living there for three years with my family. Just last weekend, my two older brothers and I revisited our old home and reflected on our Dad's recent passing.

Humorous memories:
The various adventures my two older brothers' had living on the Presidio.

Posted: 30-Apr-05
Contributed by: Carolyn Longshore Duncan
E-mail address:
Year(s): 1955 and 1960-1967
Age at the time: 7 and 12-19
Live on the post for 13 mo. at 760 B Portola Street, then 1960-67 745-B Portola Street
Was a military dependent; Dad was 1st Sgt. of C Co. and was in charge of the Quartermaster
Connection with the Presidio: Lived there with my father, mother and brother

Most vivid Presidio Memories: When the fog was coming in, sun was setting and hearing the canon shots as the flag was being lowered on the parade ground.

The beauty and peaceful nature of the fort was unlike any other place we had been stationed.

Humorous memories: Not really humorous, but, well, you decide. A neighbor learned to time a rifle shot at the same time as the end of day canon salute when the flag was kill and eat the many pheasants or were they quail, that were everywhere. He wasn't on the base very long and I wasn't sorry to see him go.

Halloween is a funny happy memory; a bunch of "us" teen age kids rigged up a microphone in one of the above ground basements with a speaker hidden in the grill of a car parked, backward, in the driveway. As the little kid trick or treaters would come by the car would talk to them. The "voice" could look out the basement and talk about the costume, candy, etc. The little kids were in have to remember this was around the era of the TV show "My Mother The Car".

Other Memories: My mother having her life saved at the old Letterman wooden building; roller skating (4 wheels on each foot) around the circle planter in front of Letterman; watching the concrete Letterman be built; having my mother die there in 1980; standing in line at the dispensary (now the museum...I think) waiting for the polio sugar cube; working as a civil servant at post HQ above the snack bar (best fries in the world); working as a clerk at the old MP Station (little building across of the old and new Letterman); meeting my husband and getting married at the Post Chapel on the Hill; walking to swim at Letterman indoor pool and coming out exhausted because the water was super heated for hospital patients; playing in the old boys scouts building below the hills of Portola Street. It was vacant and was a kick to crawl up through the open floor boards to play on the stage; digging caves in the red clay hills behind the vacant building on MacArthur Steet (I think that was the name); walking to the PX, to the movies ($.25 a show); walking all the way to the GG Bridge and walking across it; waving to all the guys when the fleet came in; walking through the cemetery reading all the old tombstones; catching the Muni #45 and all the transfers to get to Marina Jr. Hi. and Lowell Hi;

My husband's grandfather had served with Gen. Pershing and was one of the men who helped try to save the General's family when their house (now where the Flag Pole is) caught on fire; then meeting my husband at flag pole long before we knew this fate! Karma!

Sunbathing (like there was ever a really warm day) on the roof of the quarters; swinging on the rope swing in the ravine between Liggett and Portola Steets; skateboarding down that big hill long before you could buy skateboards; (we made our own); so many memories! What a place to grow up!

Posted: 01-Sep-05
Contributed by: Bob Eastin
E-mail address:
Year(s):1956 - 1961
Age at the time: Age 4-9
Lived on the post at 1556 Pershing Drive and 338-B Infantry Terrace.
Was an Army Brat. My Father retired there as a Lt. Colonel
Later, I was drafted US Army 72-74

Most vivid Presidio Memories: View of the old, long-gone lighthouse from Wherry Housing on Pershing Drive. Then the view of Alcatraz (and searchlights) from my top floor bedroom at Infantry Terrace. The memories are vivid and rich and endless about the Presidio. The website isn't big enough to hold all my thoughts! The Parade Ground, Officer's Club (with fish tanks and all the popcorn you could eat), the Little League baseball diamond, the old commissary, the "big" gas station under the highway superstructure, salamanders and lizards, grass stains from sliding down iceplant hills, 25 cents would get you a matinee ticket AND popcorn at the base theater, the base barber shop close to headquarters, the haunting fog horns, the "secret" tennis court below Infantry Terrace, the little "toy store" open only during Christmas season in Fort Scott, the ramps and corridors of old Letterman, the beach by Crissy Field, the children's playground by the Presidio Wall, the old "roundtable" restaurant at the entrance to the GG Bridge, Saturday morning lessons at the golf course, Fort Point (who got to live in housing down there?), a Pet Cemetery with the best view in the country and the solemn National Cemetery in the mist at twilight.

Humorous memories: Grade school was off base first at Alamo School and then at Grant School in Pacific Heights. The military bus would take us only to the gate. Once, on the bus home from Grant School, the bus driver thought I was being too rowdy. So, he dropped me off at the MP Station. Keep in mind I was all of 7 years old. The MPs had to call my Dad at G4 Headquarters to send someone to pick me up. I never uttered a peep on any future bus trip!

Other Memories: The trees now, 50 years later, block the view from the housing on Infantry Terrace. But I can see the view in my memory at this very moment. My Father was allowed his choice of duty after WWII and Korea. My one brother was born in Tokyo (Camp Zama) and the other in Bad Kreuznach, Germany. Myself, and my sister, were children of Fort Ord (later, my site of basic training). I'm a grandfather now and my heart echoes in cadence to the 5:00 cannonade. God bless all who served, all who are serving this nation now. The Presidio is hallowed ground. May all who walk there do so in reverence and joyous peace. . .through the eyes of a child.

Posted: 6/12/04
Contributed by:
Lynn Davis Evans
Year(s): 1957-1960
Age at the time: 6-10 years old
Lived on the post at: 1549-E Pershing Drive
Was a military dependent
Connection with the Presidio: My dad was in the Army

Most vivid Presidio Memories: My Dad was a Captain at the time, teaching ROTC at several local high schools. One weekend there was a ROTC function of some sort at Ft. Point, which required my Dad to have a key to the old fort. The following day -- a Sunday -- before turning the key in, my Dad took me, my sister and my two brothers to see Ft. Point. We were the only people there. The sense of history of the place was palpable. The holes in the walls for rifle barrels. The tiny rooms. Were there doors? I don't recall any. I know there were no railings on the inner courtyard balconies, and I found it too easy to imagine the jostle of troops and someone pushed over the side. I remember my Dad said something about Ft. Point never seeing a shot fired in anger, and I had no idea what he meant. I imagined that any shots that had been fired were fired casually. Carelessly. I was a little frightened by Ft. Point. I swear I could almost hear the troops that had once been there. But I found it compelling too. A year or so later, as we were getting ready to leave the post, my brothers and sister and I hiked out to Ft. Point thinking we could just walk in and visit it again. It was locked, of course.

Other Memories: Walking down to the beach, crossing Lincoln Blvd. at the bottom of the hill, finding old sandbags turned to stone.

Posted: 28-Feb-05
Contributed by: Richard Lindsey
E-mail address:
Year(s): 57-76
Age at the time: 2 to 20
Lived on the post at 725A Liggett Avenue and 402nd MP Co
Grew up on the Presidio and then had first military assignment there as a PFC E3.

Most vivid Presidio Memories: The trees close to JK playground. We used to dig forts under the tree roots. The old rope swing at Mountain Lake. Going fishing with my best friend Jim Walker down at Fort Point. (Both Jim and I joined the Army and were assigned to PSFC)

Humorous memories: Almost backing my brother's car from garage driveway at back of residence into the extra garage building behind it. I managed to turn it enough to miss the brick building, but it rolled down the hill beside it and ended up in the field of tall grass where we kids would also make a fort to play in.

Oh, I'm simply going to have to submit a longer version of things and get an okay. My humorous memories could fill several pages.

Other Memories: Again, far too many. But the Presidio, from my earliest years until the military service, was like my front yard, my back yard, and my living room. Nearly twenty years, both on post, and living in nearby San Francisco, were where I developed into what I am. I thank the US Army for that chance.

Last updated: February 28, 2015

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