Panorama from Main Post, the main old military installation in San Francisco's Presidio. The panorama, taken from next to the main parade ground, shows the layout of the base. The Presidio tourist information and visitor center is on the southern end of the square. The park rangers in the center give advice on all aspects of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, of which Presidio is a part.
Main Post - San Francisco visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'Main Post' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from California.
Presidio is a National Historic Landmark. The longest serving military base in the USA (219 years) until closure in 1995, Presidio is regarded by San Franciscans as 'hallowed ground'. Senate permitted the Presidio Trust and the National Park Service to co-operate in managing the Presidio since 1996 with the requirements that it become a financially self-sufficient enterprise, thus encouraging private and commercial use, while still retaining its unique identity and faithful preservation of its historic status. While this has been accomplished years ahead of schedule, the process has been fraught with difficulty as the identity of Presidio evolves to find its place in contemporary San Francisco.
Main Post is the central point in Presidio's former army base. Since founding by the Spanish in 1776, through Asia-Pacific conquests, Civil War and two World Wars, Presidio has been the hub of military activity on the western coast. From support and protection of Mission Dolores through capture by America and the inception of Fort Point coastal defense, through the Spanish-American War and the 20th century world wars, Korean war and Vietnam conflict, Presidio has served as the main military base and hospital for troops and veterans. The final theatre of operations to which Presidio dispatched troops was Desert Storm during the Gulf War. To chart Presidio's involvement and so do justice to it's record of service and importance to the American people would be to chart volumes of illustrious history. The visitors center on site is informative, educational and emotionally moving, as is a visit to the National Cemetery to pay respects and offer a time of remembrance.
Nowadays, Presidio is still coming to terms with its new role as a community park, commercial and residential venue and historic landmark status. Crissy Beach airfield has been cleaned up and transformed into an urban environmental education and visitor center, overlooking the salt marshes. George Lucas' companies are amongst the first to site their business here, including Industrial Light and Magic. Gap chain store founder Donald Fisher served as a member of the Presidio Trust and has mooted plans to construct a massive museum to house his private collection here. Development and evolution of Presidio is progressive, perhaps tentative and certainly uncharted, yet it's importance in history and its outstanding panoramic vistas over spectacular scenery and the Golden Gate Bridge are treasured indefinitely.
Bus: Graham St & Moraga Ave (29)
Car: From central San Francisco take the 101 north to the Golden Gate Bridge. Just before the bridge, turn off to the Vista Access and then onto Lincoln Blvd. If coming south on the 101 from Marin Headlands, turn off the highway just after the toll station onto Merchant Road. Follow signs to Main Post.