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Fort Point/Presidio

Pros: National Historic Site at the Southern anchorage of the Golden Gate Bridge
Cons: Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday only
Best For: The view from the top, historic military photos on second level, learning about the Buffalo Soldiers

Fort PointFort Point is the only brick artillery fort on the West Coast. Built between 1853 and 1861 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, it was part of the defense system designed to protect San Francisco Bay. Climb the stairs to the top for stunning views on a clear day, and be sure to tour the second level soldiers quarters where a fascinating installation of historic military photos, includes pictures of Buffalo Soldiers. The Native American Indians gave this name to African-American cavalrymen, whose hair resembled the coat of the buffalo, and who were courageous fighters.

Stop by the bookstore on the main level for a fine collection of Civil War literature. If you arrive early, you'll beat the tour buses, and might be let into the office next to the bookstore, which was originally the jail. The first cell as you enter, contains artwork on the wall, painted by an inmate. Note the original hardware on the cell doors.

Fortunately for us and generations to come, Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss, found a way to save the fort from demolition, when his Golden Gate Bridge project got underway.

Fort Point
South Anchorage of Golden Gate Bridge at the end of Marine Dr.
Hours: Friday Through Sunday, 10am-5pm
Bookstore: 415.673-5642
Buffalo Soldiers
Buffalo Soldiers