June 13, 2009

Best National Park Views: Fort Mason in San Francisco

What a glorious day in San Francisco at one of those beautiful urban settings that many tourists miss during their visit to the city. Fort Mason is a historic location and facility as well as ideal spot for the photographer in the family.

Fort Mason, also known as San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, in San Francisco, California is a former United States Army post located in the northern Marina District, alongside San Francisco Bay. Fort Mason served as an Army post for more than 100 years, initially as a coastal defense site and subsequently as a military port facility. During World War II, it handled most of the cargo for the Pacific campaign.

Today it is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and the site of several cultural facilities. It is a National Historic Landmark District with over 49 buildings of historic significance, spread over 1,200 acres.

For those of you who come to visit, a great lodging alternative is this little known hostel that is situated at Upper Fort Mason with its killer view of the bay. Starting at $26 a night this is a fabulous spot that is perfect for families or anyone wanting to feel the old maritime perspective of San Francisco's history, in a great location!

My family has been a part of this city a very long time. Upper Fort Mason has always been the "go to" place for any citywide emergency such as an earthquake because of it location on bedrock and its lack of overhead electrical wires.

Also you will find this beautiful open space that is wonderful for picnics, watching the sailboats on the bay or use it for a meeting place. You have distinctive landmarks that helps too. This location was ideal for meeting people during the infamous 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.

The piers and sheds of Lower Fort Mason were originally built from 1912 to warehouse army supplies and provide docking space for army transport ships. By this time, the US Army began to build new bases in Hawaii, the Philippines, and various other Pacific islands. Most of the material for those bases was shipped through San Francisco. By 1915, the three piers together with their associated warehouse had been a completed, and a railroad tunnel driven under Upper Fort Mason to connect with the railroad network along the Embarcadero.

With these new facilities, Fort Mason was transformed from a harbor defense post into a logistical and transport hub for American military operations in the Pacific.

During World War II, Fort Mason became the headquarters of the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, controlling a network of shipping facilities that spread across the Bay Area. Over the years of the war, 1,647,174 passengers and 23,589,472 measured tons moved from the port into the Pacific. This total represents two-thirds of all troops sent into the Pacific and more than one-half of all Army cargo moved through West Coast ports. The highest passenger count was logged in August 1945 when 93,986 outbound passengers were loaded.

My great aunt was notorious for her work during World War II and her driving troops from the Presidio to Fort Mason, and sometimes giving them a kiss goodbye. With the warmth of California and San Francisco hospitality, you may not get a kiss goodbye or hello, you will get help with directions or how to get a taxi or find a nice place to eat - just ask.

1 comment:

  1. Fort Baker... without a doubt! CHECK IT OUT!!!


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