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Cavallo Point

History: 
    Cavallo Point
 in San FranciscoHistory: 
    Cavallo Point
 in San Francisco

History

Built in the style of the "Endicott Period," an era of peace from 1885 through 1928, when the United States Army sought to modernize as well as re-arm the coastlines, Cavallo Point represented the rebirth of the dilapidated armed forces.

In order to stem desertion rates, which had skyrocketed during the Civil War, and attract high-caliber recruits, the United States Army elected to improve the living conditions of soldiers.

Designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style as permanent housing for the Coast Artillery Corps (active from 1907-1950), the Army lodgings were a far cry from the cramped barracks the soldiers had formerly known. Fort Baker offered clean water, modern plumbing, and large, open interiors. The Army continued its campaign to improve its soldiers' living conditions by adding a small hospital and a gymnasium which included a reading room, a bowling alley, and a post exchange.

As the United States prepared to enter World War II, the army created the Harbor Defenses of San Francisco, which was given command over most of the Bay Area fortifications including Fort Baker, Fort Cronkhite, and Fort Barry. Fort Baker's Horseshoe Cove became the hub of the Harbor Defense's mine depot, where soldiers would load almost 800 pounds of TNT into metal mines that would be planted out at sea. Horseshoe Cove also hosted the Marine Repair Shop, which provided maintenance work for the civilian boats conscripted for use in the mine depot.

After Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima, the threat of air attack surpassed that of naval assault and Fort Baker became the headquarters for the Sixth U.S. Army Air Defense Command Region, which housed and deployed anti-aircraft missiles.

From 1970 until the 1990s, the 91st Infantry Division, or "The Wild West Division," was stationed at Fort Baker under the command of the Travis Air Force Base. The 91st had been active in both world wars, but was deactivated in 1945. One year later, the 91st was reactivated as a part of the U.S. Army Reserve. The Wild West Division was responsible for creating the training exercises used by the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve Combat Support, and the Combat Service Support.

During the "Wild West Division" era, Fort Baker was designated for transfer to the National Park Service when it was no longer needed as a military base. In 1973, it was officially listed as a Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places.

In 1995, the armed forces transferred the land to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. By the end of 2000, there were no soldiers left at Fort Baker as the 91st moved on to Camp Parks, California.

As of 2002, Fort Baker was no longer a military post; it was a park.

In January of 2005, an agreement was reached between the city, the National Park Service, and developers that Fort Baker be renovated and turned into a retreat and conference center. Thirteen historic lodgings have been renovated as well as seven historic commons buildings.

Cavallo Point opened in July of 2008.


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