Presidio of San Francisco

Sights to See

The Buffalo Soldiers Exhibit

Although the Buffalo Soldiers never served at Fort Point, this National Historic Site has a permanent exhibit of photographs and associated text on the history of African Americans in the Army. The exhibit focuses in particular on the Buffalo Soldier regiments. This exhibit is located on the second floor (this area is not wheelchair accessible).

Post Interfaith Chapel

Built in the early 1930s, this cruciform-shaped sanctuary is a fine example of Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture, with features that embellished early mission churches. Stained glass windows depict virtues of military character, and a large wall mural by Victor Arnautoff (famed Coit Tower muralist) depicts the peacetime activities of the Army. The Chapel is now available for public ceremonies, weddings, events, and memorials, and is under the stewardship of the Interfaith Center at the Presidio, a nonprofit corporation organized for the purpose of interfaith collaboration and friendship. Call 415-561-3930 to confirm open hours: Mondays through Thursdays.

Visit the Post Interfaith Chapel Website

Fort Scott: Battery Blaney (1900-1920)

General Information

This Endicott-era battery was built to protect the inner harbor and completed and armed in 1900 with four 3-inch, 15-pounder rapid-fire guns on balanced pillar mounts. These guns had a range of 5 miles and could fire at the rate of twenty to thirty rounds per minute for short periods. After the early abandonment of this battery—when the submarine mines were moved to outside the Golden Gate—its magazines were used for storage and the Fort Scott boundary was redrawn to place the battery within the Presidio of San Francisco.

Origin of Name

Battery Blaney was named in honor of Lieutenant Daniel Blaney, Third Artillery, who was killed by the British at Fort Oswego, New York, in 1814.

Access and Current Condition

Battery Blaney is located near the San Francisco National Cemetery and the cavalry stables. It can be reached via a foot trail extending several hundred yards east from an unimproved parking area under the Golden Gate Bridge approach. Limited parking is available near the intersection of Crissy Field Avenue and Incinerator Road. The interior magazines can not be accessed.


Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary

Housed in an historic Coast Guard Station, the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Visitor Center features hands-on educational exhibits about local marine life. Located at the west end of Crissy Field, the building was used by the Coast Guard from 1890 to 1990.

The Marine Sanctuary is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. For additional information, call (415) 561-6622.


East Cantonment

The East Cantonment* was an area in the southeastern Presidio where troops were quartered temporarily as they rotated through the Presidio on their way to and from duty in the Philippine Islands during the 1898 Spanish American War, the following Philippine War, and in the early 1900s after these conflicts. All of the Buffalo Soldier regiments passed through this area in transit during those years. Initially troops camped here in tents, and then barracks were constructed in 1903 to house primarily those returning from the Philippines. Only three of these barracks remain today; one is shown above. Buffalo Soldiers may have stayed in one of the remaining buildings, but there are no records of who stayed where.

There is also an outdoor exhibit panel interpreting the Buffalo Soldiers at the Presidio located here on Lombard Street near the Lombard Gate.

* Pronounced: "kan-TONment". Cantonment is an old British Army term, first used by troops in India.

Lobos Creek Valley

Containing the last free-flowing stream in San Francisco, Lobos Creek Valley provides important native plant and wildlife habitat in an otherwise urban area. The creek has long been a source of water for the Presidio, and a flume from the creek to San Francisco provided water to the town in its early days. Restoration of the coastal scrub community in the valley is helping to bring rare plant species back to the area.

Pet Cemetery

Surrounded by a white picket fence and shaded by a dozen Monterey pines, the pet cemetery contains a variety of grave markers, most of which mimic those found in official military cemeteries. Most markers are wooden, painted white with large black stenciled lettering. Some headstones provide evidence of the pets' military lifestyle, listing birthplaces like China, England, Australia, and Germany. Many markers include family names and owners' ranks, which include majors, colonels and generals. Some contain only a simple epitaph, such as "A GI pet. He did his time." Like many military cemeteries, there are markers and tributes to several "unknowns"

Although many visitors are surprised to find a pet cemetery located here in the Presidio, perhaps it is not all that remarkable. Most of us have had a beloved pet that has died, and we then find a special place to bury it. For many military pet owners stationed here through the years, the Presidio and its pet cemetery is that special place. However, the small cemetery plot not only symbolizes this poignant aspect of Presidio military family life, but also represents the cemetery's shadowy origins and controversies regarding the Presidio's status as a national park. Located under the Golden Gate Bridge approach (see map on back), the half-acre plot is the final resting place for hundreds of military pets. The majority of animals buried at the Presidio pet cemetery are dogs and cats, but there are also parakeets, canaries, pigeons, macaws, rabbits, hamsters, rats, lizards, goldfish, and mice.

While the Presidio's pet cemetery is clear evidence of the love that exists between families and their pets, the origins of the cemetery itself remains mysterious. A pet cemetery is not unknown on an Army base, but there are no existing records for the Presidio's pet cemetery. Consequently legends have developed alluding to burial grounds for 19th century cavalry horses or World War II guard dogs. The oldest markers date only to the early 1950s, when the Presidio was under command of Lt. General Joseph M. Swing, and some give him credit for the authorization of the pet cemetery. Most pet owners don't recall any particular Army regulations for pet burial; they simply found a suitable spot for their pet's final resting place.

In the 1970s the cemetery fell into disrepair. Legend tells of an anonymous retired Navy man who became its guardian. He tended to the deteriorating headstones and repainted the fence. It is believed that he placed the military-style cautionary sign seen at the cemetery entrance today.

The Presidio pet cemetery itself became a notable and controversial symbol during the 1994 Congressional budgetary sessions. Representative John J. Duncan Jr., (R) of Tennessee used the conversion of the Presidio to a national park to draw attention to the federal deficit and referred to the Presidio as the country's "smallest and most expensive national park." Duncan sent letters to his supporters with a photo of the Presidio pet cemetery and the headline asking "Is This Your Vision of a National Park?"

Although the Presidio became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area later that year, the pet cemetery argument may have helped influence Congress to establish the Presidio Trust, a public-private government agency which is charged with making the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. This joint venture between the National Park Service and the Presidio Trust, is unique among our national parks.

Today the tiny cemetery is officially closed. In 2001, the Presidio Trust appointed the nonprofit organization Swords to Plowshares as the official caretaker of the cemetery and its Presidio affiliate now maintains the site. However, the cemetery's fate during the planned construction of a new bridge approach is uncertain.

The Presidio pet cemetery has enchanted and intrigued Presidio visitors and residents for fifty years. The cemetery provides insight into the loving personal relationships between military personnel and their pets. Its mysterious origins and continued maintenance contribute to its fascination. Finally, the role it played in the establishment of a new form of park management in the national park system adds to its significance and notoriety.

 

Golden Gate Bridge

The Golden Gate bridge is one of the most famous and beautiful bridges in the world because of its spectacular location, graceful lines, Art Deco detailing, and emblematic color. With towers extending 700 feet into the sky and over 100 feet beneath the bay, the bridge is also an engineering marvel. You may walk or bike the entire length of the 1.2 mile-long bridge, but dress warmly! A gift center and a café welcome visitors at the south end. Bridge walk is open between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Visit the Golden Gate Bridge web site

 

El Polin Spring

El Polin spring water bubbles from a rock wall at the head of this riparian valley. The spring provided a source of fresh water for the Spanish Presidio, and Spanish and Mexican families built their homes in this sheltered valley. Later, in 1898, the First Tennessee Volunteer Infantry Regiment camped here during the Spanish-American War. Today, you can picnic in the bucolic meadows near the spring or explore the surrounding forest and grasslands.

The Cavalry Barracks

This barracks was built in 1902 to house enlisted men in the Coast Artillery Corps before Fort Winfield Scott was constructed in the 1910s. After those soldiers moved to Fort Scott, cavalry troops lived here because it was adjacent to the new stables built in 1914. It is very unlikely that the 9th Cavalry soldiers lived here during their stay in 1903-04, but Buffalo Soldier units passing through the Presidio during later rotations in and out of the Philippines may have lived here for short periods.

Spanish Artillery: San Pedro

The San Pedro is an 8-pound cannon cast in Lima, Peru, in 1673 and brought to San Francisco from the Spanish ordinance depot in San Blas, Mexico. During the Spanish period, the San Pedro was emplaced at the Castillo de San Joaquin to guard the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.

Fremont's men "spiked" the San Pedro (rendered it inoperable) during the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt. The remains of the file that disabled the cannon can still be seen in its touch-hole.

The San Pedro is located outside the Officers' Club, Building 50.

The Alameda

Halfway down Funston Avenue, the Alameda (Spanish for "avenue") served as the official entrance to the Presidio from the 1860's until 1895. During this period, cannonballs lined the streets as a form of decorative curbing and soldiers stood guard at the U.S. Army's preeminent western post.

Today, little evidence of the Alameda remains other than the four large Victorian houses that border the old post entrance where Presidio Boulevard meets Funston Avenue.


Spanish Artillery: San Domingo

Cast in 1628 in Lima, Peru, the San Domingo bears the coat of arms of Don Diego Fernandez de Cordoba, 17th Viceroy of Peru. Though spiked (rendered inoperable) by Fremont's men during the Bear Flag Revolt, the San Domingo was later re-vented.

The San Domingo is located outside of Building 2.

Funston Avenue Officers' Houses

Constructed during the Civil War to house officers’ and their families, these homes on Funston Avenue were originally designed to face the new Civil War parade ground to the west. In 1878, however, the front porch on each house was reattached to the back side, reorienting the houses to provide a more pleasing appearance to visitors from San Francisco entering the Presidio on the Alameda. By the mid-1880’s, the addition of white picket fences, street lamps, and gardens further enhanced the beauty of Funston Avenue, and over the years, bay windows, gables, and dormers were added to create the charming homes seen today.

The Stables

The stables at the Presidio were built in 1914 after the 9th Cavalry was garrisoned here in 1903.

The original stables were located in what would become known as Crissy Field. They were moved to their present location when the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition was built on the bay front.

In the later years, Buffalo Soldier cavalry regiments on their rotations to and from the Philippines did use these stables for short periods.

Today, Building 661 houses horses for the Park Police mounted patrol and is not open to the public.

However, an interactive educational exhibit on the Buffalo Soldiers is located there. This exhibit is for middle school students. Teachers can call 415-561-4329 for details on the program and to arrange a visit to the exhibit.

The Buffalo Soldier exhibit (a small section is shown below) includes hands on items, like the replica McClellan saddle that can be mounted, a buffalo hide that can be worn, and audio segments to teach youngsters about the life of the Buffalo Soldier.

Spanish Artillery: Birgen de Barbaneda

Cast in Lima, Peru in 1693, the Birgen de Barbaneda bears the coat of arms of Don Melchor Puertocarrero Laso de la Vega, 27th Viceroy of Peru. In 1793, the cannon was brought to the Castillo de San Joaquin to fortify the San Francisco Bay. It reamained in service until 1846, when it was "spiked" (rendered inoperable) by Fremont's men during the Bear Flag Revolt. Later that year, Captain John B. Montgomery of the U.S.S. Portsmouth successfully re-vented the cannon to restore its firing capabilities.

The Birgen de Barbaneda is located near the flag pole in Pershing Square.

Old Post Hospital

This 1864 building displays both Italianate and Greek Revival architectural styles. The original structure was modified by adding wings and enclosing the porches.

Constructed during the Civil War, the Post Hospital is one of the oldest standing buildings on the Presidio. It served as the first general hospital on the Presidio, Wright General Hospital. After being downgraded to a post hospital after the war in 1865, the original facility was expanded from 10 rooms, plus kitchen and dining room, to four wards, plus prisoner ward and morgue. In 1897, an octagonal surgical tower with windows on all sides was added to provide a well-lit operating room. Patients had use of a hospital library, and a vegetable garden and milk cow supplied the kitchen.

After Letterman General Hospital opened in 1898, the building was used as a dentist office, post dispensary and drug rehabilitation center. It housed the Presidio Army Museum from 1974 until February 2000.

Artillery ranging in age from the 17th century to World War I, and 1906 earthquake cottages are still on display outside this historic building

World War II Memorial

Dedicated November 29, 1960, the West Coast World War II Memorial is a curved wall of California granite set in a grove of Monterey pine and cypress. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, it bears the names of 413 members of the armed forces who were lost or buried at sea in U.S. Pacific waters between 1941 and 1945.

The memorial was built by the American Battle Monuments Commission, a governmental agency also responsible for its maintenance. Cemeteries and memorials maintained by the A.B.M.C. preserve the legacy of American servicemen whose remains were not returned to this country for final interment. The West Coast Memorial is one of three A.B.M.C. memorials on U.S. soil dedicated to missing soldiers of World War II; the others are the East Coast Memorial at Battery Park in New York City and the Honolulu Memorial in Hawaii.

Fort Scott: Battery Chamberlin (1904-1948)

General Information

Built to protect underwater minefields laid outside the Golden Gate, this Endicott-era battery was and completed and armed in 1904. Fortifications included four 6-inch guns mounted on disappearing carriages; these guns had a range of nine miles and could fire at the rate of two rounds per minute. The original guns were dismounted in 1917 for use in World War I, but the battery was modified to receive two 6-inch guns on simple barbette carriages in 1920. During World War II, the Sixth Coast Artillery Regiment manned the two guns at Battery Chamberlin, which were placed under camouflage netting to deter potential air attack. In 1948, the Coast Artillery Corps was deactivated, the battery disarmed, and the guns scrapped.

Origin of Name

Battery Chamberlin named in honor of Captain Lowell A. Chamberlin, First Artillery, who served with distinction in the Civil War and remained an artillery officer until the 1890's. He died in 1899.

Access and Current Condition

In 1977, the National Park Service received a 6-inch gun and disappearing carriage from the Smithsonian Institution and installed them in gun emplacement No. 4. Demonstrations of this 50-ton rifle--similar to the original armament--are conducted on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. An underground cartridge room also is open for inspection and contains photos and small exhibits on the coastal defenses of San Francisco.

Battery Chamberlin is located at the north end of the Baker Beach parking lot.


Mountain Lake

Mountain Lake lies nearly hidden at the southern edge of the Presidio. The campsite of the Anza settlement party in 1776, it became a source of fresh water for San Francisco during the early years. Much of the lake's shoreline was buried in the 1930s to provide a freeway approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, but ducks and waterfowl still make their home among the tule reeds. Mountain Lake today fronts a popular neighborhood park with playground equipment, tennis courts and a Par Course.

Buffalo Soldiers in The National Cemetery

The San Francisco National Cemetery is the final resting place for over 450 African American soldiers known as the Buffalo Soldiers.

Most are buried in the West Section of the cemetery. Among them is Medal of Honor recipient, William H. Thompkins, who voluntarily went ashore in the face enemy fire to rescue wounded U.S. and Cuban comrades at Tayabacoa, Cuba.

There is an outdoor exhibit panel with information on notable figures buried at the cemetery, including Thompkins, near the entrance gates.

 

Fort Scott: Battery Sherwood (1900-1917)

General Information

Completed in 1900, Battery Sherwood was built to protect the inner harbor with two rapid fire 5-inch guns mounted on pedestal mounts. These guns--part of a new generation of light caliber artillery--were the only such weapons in the bay area at the time. They could fire up to thirty rounds per minute for short periods of time and had a range of approximately seven and a half miles.

When the submarine mines were moved to outside the Golden Gate, the Fort Scott boundary was redrawn to place Battery Sherwood within the Presidio of San Francisco. In 1917, the battery's guns were moved to Battery Bruff at Fort Funston.

Origin of Name

Battery Sherwood was named in honor of Lieutenant Walter Sherwood, Seventh Infantry, who was killed in 1840 during a battle with Seminole Indians in Florida.

Access and Current Condition

Battery Sherwood is located at the Presidio near the San Francisco National Cemetery and the cavalry stables. It can be reached via a foot trail extending several hundred yards east from a parking area under the Golden Gate Bridge approach near the intersection of Crissy Field Avenue and Incinerator Road. Though access to the interior magazines is not allowed, the battery's exterior is well preserved.


Spanish Artillery: Poder

The Poder is an 8-pound cannon cast in Peru in 1673. Originally emplaced at the Castillo de San Joaquin to guard the entrance to the San Francisco Bay, the cannon was subsequently moved to Sonoma at the request of the Mexican Governor of Alta California.

On July 20, 1846, Captain Montgomery of the U.S.S. Portsmouth sent a military detachment to retrieve the cannon and return it to the Presidio.

The Poder is located outside of the Officers' Club, Building 50.

 

Battery East

Built in the 1870's, Battery East was constructed to withstand the heavy ordinance that had made multi-tiered masonry forts like Fort Point obsolete in the Civil War. You can view the earthen works and brick-lined magazines built to protect large Rodman guns and their ammunition. There are beautiful vistas of the Golden Gate, the San Francisco Bay and downtown. Picnic tables are nearby.


Spanish Artillery: San Martin

Cast in Lima, Peru in 1684, the San Martin bears the coat of arms of Don Meleher de Navarra y Rocafal, 26th Viceroy of Peru. After years of neglect, this 12-pound brass cannon was recovered from the Presidio shore on July 12, 1846, by Captain John B. Montgomery.

The San Martin is located at Fort Point.

Fort Scott: Battery Boutelle (1900-1917)

General Information

This Endicott-era battery was completed and armed in 1900 with three 5-inch rapid fire guns mounted on balanced pillar mounts, which were designed to defend against mine sweepers and fast torpedo boats. These guns had a range of seven miles and could be fired at the rate of up to thirty rounds per minute. Like most light artillery, these guns were loaded with ammunition cases similar to the cartridges used in infantry rifles. The weight of one cartridge was nearly sixty pounds.

The three guns were dismounted in 1917 for service as field artillery during World War I. In the original plans, this battery was to have four emplacements--but the No.1 gun pit, on the right, was never built. The battery was constructed on the former site of Battery West and incorporated three of the old battery's magazines for storage of non-explosive articles and to shelter the gun crews.

Origin of Name

Battery Boutelle was named in honor of Lieutenant Henry M. Boutelle, who was killed in action near Aliago, Philippine Islands in 1899.

Access and Current Condition

Battery Boutelle is located on the coastal bluffs near the Golden Gate toll plaza. It can be reached via Lincoln Boulevard to Merchant Street; the Coastal Trail runs adjacent to the gun battery. Parking is available along Merchant Road in a graveled parking area. Access to the interior magazines is not allowed.

Encroaching vegetation was recently removed from around the battery and preservation work to stabilize the battery's condition was carried out. Safety railings have been installed.


Fort Scott: Battery Howe-Wagner (1895-1920)

General Information

Initially named Battery Howe, this Endicott-era battery was built to provide both seaward and harbor defenses against enemy warships. Completed in 1895, the battery consisted of four pits, each armed with four 12-inch mortars. The guns had a range of approximately 8 miles.

In 1902 the battery was divided--the two eastern pits retained the name Battery Howe and the two western pits were renamed Battery Arthur Wagner. Designed in the shaped of a cross, this type of battery is called an "Abbott Cross" after General Henry Abbott, Corps of Engineers, who advocated the use of mortars for seacoast defense. By contrast, the four other mortar batteries in the Harbor Defenses of San Francisco are linear in design. This battery had a 360-degree field of fire and could target the beaches in its range in addition to water. The mortars were dismounted in 1920.

Origin of Name

Battery Howe was named in honor of Colonel Howe, Fourth Artillery, a veteran of the Mexican-American War and the Civil War who also served in San Francisco. He died in 1897.

Battery Wagner was named in honor of Colonel Wagner, military secretary who served with distinction in the Spanish-American War. For several years he was a professor at the Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and wrote several military textbooks.

Access and Current Condition

Battery Howe-Wagner is located northeast of the intersection of Ruckman and Ralston Avenues, adjacent to the Fort Winfield Scott barracks. The batteries are buried under a large earthen hill and heavy brush covers most of the area. A portion of gun pit #1 is visible but currently used for storage. Access to the battery and magazines is not permitted.


San Francisco National Cemetery

Shortly after the United States assumed control of the Presidio, the Army established a post cemetery on the current site of the National Cemetery. The first known American burial at this location occurred in 1854. After a petition to the War Department by Presidio commander Lt. Col. George P. Andrews, General Order 133 established "a part of the reservation at the Presidio, including the post cemetery thereon...to be known as the San Francisco National Cemetery." Originally less than ten acres large, it was placed under the control of the Quartermaster General's office in 1884 as the first National Cemetery on the west coast.

The cemetery experienced a great increase in both interments and acreage over the next fifty years. It also sported a number of architectural changes. In 1915, a concrete rostrum was built to hold official services, and in 1921 the Quartermaster Department built a mortuary chapel on the premises. In 1928, the cemetery walls were repositioned and the original main entrance was relocated to the west. The current main entrance dates to 1931. During a five-year improvement plan finished in 1929, the Army remodeled the lodge to conform to the Mission Revival style architecture prevalent throughout the Presidio. The final expansion of the cemetery occurred in 1932, when it reached its current size of 28.34 acres. In 1973, the cemetery officially closed to new interments except in reserved gravesites.

The Department of Veterans Affairs attends to gardening at the cemetery as well as the cleaning of tombstones. For more information about the San Francisco National Cemetery or to get help locating gravesites:

US Department Of Veterans Affairs
1300 Sneath Lane
San Bruno, CA 94066

Pershing Square

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.

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.


Fort Scott: Battery Saffold (1895-1943)

General Information

This Endicott-era battery was completed in 1895 and armed with two 12-inch guns mounted on barbette carriages. Initially, the guns had a range of 6.6 miles; however, by increasing the guns' vertical angle and reducing the projectiles' weight from 1100 to 800 pounds, an effective range of 12.5 miles was achieved. Built to defend the harbor against hostile warships, Battery Saffold was unique in that it could fire its guns both seaward and into the bay--though this range was eventually limited by the growth of trees and construction of buildings at the Presidio. In 1943, the War Department ordered the salvaging of this and 12 other batteries considered obsolete.

Origin of Name

Battery Saffold was named in honor of Captain Marion M. Saffold, 13th Infantry, who was killed in action at Cavite, Island of Luzon, Philippine Islands, in 1899.

Access and Current Condition

Battery Saffold is located on the coastal bluffs just south of Fort Scott. It can be reached by driving on Lincoln Boulevard and turning at Kobbe Avenue. The battery is located immediately east of the intersection of Kobbe Avenue and Washington Boulevard. Parking is available at a small lot above the World War II Memorial; however, access to the battery is not permitted.


Crissy Field Center

Located on the corner of Mason and Halleck Streets and overlooking the marsh, the Crissy Field Center includes an activity area, computer labs, a teaching kitchen, a library, an information center, and a bookstore. The center offers a rich array of educational programs that focus on the convergence of urban and natural environments. Its mission is to promote multicultural perspectives, environmental stewardship, and community service.

The Crissy Field Center is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Visit the Crissy Field Center website


Palace of Fine Arts

On land originally belonging to the Presidio, the Palace of Fine Arts was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition. Today the site, which belongs to the City of San Francisco, features a classical Roman rotunda with curved colonnades in an idyllic park setting. Visitors may picnic, stroll by the lake, or visit the Exploratorium's hands-on science exhibits in the adjacent museum.

Fort Point

Completed in 1861, Fort Point is a massive brick and granite fortification constructed to defend the San Francisco Bay from naval attack. Rendered obsolete with the development of rifled artillery during the Civil War, Fort Point's guns were removed by 1900. It never fired a shot in hostility.

The only fortification of its type on the Pacific coast, Fort Point stands beneath the soaring Golden Gate Bridge. Video orientations, guided tours, self-guiding materials, exhibits, and publication sales are offered Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Presidio Pet Cemetery

Surrounded by a white picket fence and shaded by Monterey pines, the pet cemetery is the final resting place for hundreds of loyal animals owned by families stationed at the Presidio. Most of the grave markers mimic those found in military cemeteries and sometimes reflect the pets' military lifestyle—listing birthplaces including China, England, Australia, and Germany. Many markers also include family names and owners' ranks, which include majors, colonels, and generals. Others contain only a simple epitaph, such as "A GI pet. He did his time." As in many military cemeteries, there are also markers to several "unknowns".

Grave markers in the pet cemetery date back to the 1950's, when the Presidio was home to approximately 2,000 army families. Though there are no official records regarding the site, some credit authorization of the pet cemetery to Lt. General Joseph M. Swing, who was the commander of the Presidio at the time. In any case, there are numerous legends surrounding the cemetery, which some believe was originally a burial ground for nineteenth-century cavalry horses or World War II guard dogs.

During the 1970's, the pet cemetery fell into disrepair. Legend has it that an anonymous former Navy man became the unofficial caretaker in those years and repaired the deteriorating headstones and repainted the fence. It is believed that he placed the military-style cautionary sign seen at the cemetery entrance.

Today, the pet cemetery is officially closed to new interments. In 2001, the Presidio Trust appointed the nonprofit organization Swords to Plowshares the official caretaker of the cemetery and its Presidio affiliate now maintains the site.