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Inn at the Presidio

    Inn at the Presidio
 in San FranciscoHistory: 
    Inn at the Presidio
 in San Francisco


1776 - Spanish Captain Juan Bautista de Anza led 193 soldiers, women, and children on a trek from present day Tubac, Arizona to San Francisco Bay.

September 17 (1776?) - The Presidio began as a Spanish garrison to defend Spain’s claim to San Francisco Bay and to support Mission Dolores; it was the northernmost outpost of New Spain in the declining Spanish Empire.

1794 - Castillo de San Joaquin, an artillery emplacement was built above present-day Fort Point, San Francisco, complete with iron or bronze cannon. Six cannons may be seen in the Presidio today.

1776-1821 - The Presidio was a simple fort made of adobe, brush, and wood. It often was damaged by earthquakes or heavy rains. In 1783, its company was only 33 men. Presidio soldiers’ duties were to support Mission Dolores by controlling Indian workers in the Mission, and also farming, ranching, and hunting in order to supply themselves and their families. Support from Spanish authorities in Mexico was very limited.

1821 - Mexico became independent of Spain. The Presidio received even less support from Mexico. Residents of Alta California, which include the Presidio, debated separating entirely from Mexico.

1827 - In January, there was a minor earthquake in San Francisco, where some buildings were damaged extensively.

1835 - The Presidio garrison, led by Mariano Vallejo, relocated to Sonoma. A small detachment remained at the Presidio, which was in decline.

1846 - American settlers and adventurers in Sonoma revolted against Mexican rule. Mariano Vallejo was imprisoned for a brief time. (Bear Flag Revolt) Lieutenant John C. Fremont, a U.S. Army officer, with a small detachment of soldiers and frontiersmen crossed the Golden Gate in a boat to “capture” the Presidio against no resistance. A cannon that was “spiked” by Fremont remains on the Presidio today.

1846-1848 - The U.S. Army occupied the Presidio. The Presidio began a long era directing operations to control and protect Native Americans as headquarters for scattered Army units on the West Coast.

1853 - Work was begun on Fort Point, which became a fine example of coastal defenses of its time. Fort Point, located at the foot of the Golden Gate in the Presidio, was the keystone of an elaborate network of fortifications to defend San Francisco Bay. These fortifications now reflect 150 years of military concern for defense of the West Coast.

1861-1865 - The American Civil War involved the Presidio. Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston protected Union weapons from being taken by Southern sympathizers in San Francisco. Later, he resigned from the Union Army and became a general in the Confederate Army. He was killed at the Battle of Shiloh. The Presidio organized regiments of volunteers for the Civil War and to control Indians in California and Oregon during the absence of federal troops.

1869-1870 - Major General George Henry Thomas, who was an American Civil War hero, led the Division of the Pacific. General Thomas died in 1870 and was buried in Troy, New York.

1872-1873 - Modoc Indian Campaign (Lava Beds War) involved some Presidio troops and command in this major battle, the last large scale U.S. Army operation against Native Americans in the Far West.

1890-1914 - Presidio soldiers became the nation’s first “park rangers” by patrolling the new Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

1898-1906 - The Presidio became the nation’s center for assembling, training, and shipping out forces to the Spanish-American War in the Philippine Islands and the subsequent Philippine-American War (Philippine Insurrection). Letterman Army Hospital was modernized and expanded to care for the many wounded and seriously ill soldiers from these campaigns. The Philippine campaign was an early major U.S. military intervention in the Asia/Pacific region. The Presidio repeated this role as a launching point for forces or a receiving point for war wounded in later interventions and World War II in Asia as well as the Vietnam War and the Korean War.

1903 - President Theodore Roosevelt visited the Presidio. His honor guard was from the African American “Buffalo Soldier” 10th Cavalry Regiment, then at the Presidio. This regiment took a role in Roosevelt’s famous charge of San Juan Hill in Cuba.

1906 - The San Francisco Earthquake of April, 1906, led to an immediate Army response directed by General Frederick Funston, who had earned the Medal of Honor for his bravery in the Philippines. Army units provided security and fought fires at the direction of the city government. After the fire that resulted from the earthquake, Presidio soldiers gave aid, food, and shelter to refugees. Temporary camps for refugees were set up on the Presidio.

1912 - Fort Winfield Scott was established in the western part of the Presidio as a coast artillery post and the headquarters of the Artillery District of San Francisco.

1914-1916 - The Presidio Commander, General John J. Pershing commanded the Mexican Punitive Expedition to eliminate the threat of Pancho Villa, a Mexican rebel and bandit, who conducted raids across the U.S. border. General Pershing’s family died in a tragic fire while he was away. As a result of the tragic 1915 fire in General Pershing's quarters, the Presidio Fire Department was established as the first fire station staffed 24 hours per day on a military post.

1915 - Part of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition was located on the Presidio waterfront, which was expanded by landfill for the purpose. Soldiers supported the Exposition with parades, honor guards, and artillery demonstrations. The Exposition was to celebrate opening of the Panama Canal.

1917-1918 - The Presidio rapidly expanded with new cantonments and training areas for World War I. Recruiting, training, and deploying units again become the Presidio’s role. An officers training camp was located here. The waterfront area was covered by quickly assembled buildings and the railroad track into the Presidio was busy with wartime traffic. During the war, the 30th Infantry Regiment, “San Francisco’s Own,” whose motto, "OUR COUNTRY NOT OURSELVES," fought with distinction in World War I as a key fighting element of the 3rd Infantry Division who earned the title “Rock of the Marne.” The 30th Infantry Regiment frequently was based at the Presidio.

1918-1920 - The Presidio was the center for forming and training the American Expeditionary Force Siberia. This was a little-remembered force that moved into Siberia during the Russian Civil War. The mission of this force changed often. It encountered hostility from another part of the Expeditionary Force, Japan, while fighting bandits, and protecting Allied civilians.

1920-1932 - The Presidio became home to Crissy Field, the major pioneering military aviation field located on the West Coast. Trailbreaking transpacific and transcontinental flights occurred here. At Crissy, future General “Hap” Arnold developed techniques for the new military aviation.. Arnold later commanded the Army Air Corps in World War II.

1941-1946 - World War II saw intense activity at the Presidio. It continued as a coordinating headquarters, deployment center, and training site, as it was for most of its existence. The Western Defense Command was responsible for the defense of the West Coast. For a time this included supervising combat in the Aleutian Islands. The Presidio again was crowded with temporary barracks and training facilities. Letterman Army Hospital was filled with casualties. At one point, entire trains filled with war wounded arrived at the Presidio from the battles of Okinawa and Iwo Jima. A Japanese Language School was set up to train Japanese-Americans to be interpreters in the war against Japan. Ironically, some of these soldiers had their families interned in camps for the rest of the war, while they performed bravely in the Pacific.

1941-1945 - The Commanding General of the Western Defense Command, General John L. DeWitt, responded to public hysteria directed against all Japanese on the West Coast. He recommended removing all Japanese, including citizens, from the Western Seaboard. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and some Western politicians also expressed alarm, although no incidents of sabotage occurred. President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 on February 19, 1942, to direct removal of ethnic Japanese residents to internment camps.

1946 - After World War II, the Presidio command was redesignated the Sixth U.S. Army. It was responsible, again, for Army forces in the Western U.S., training, supplies, and deployment. It also was the federal agency to coordinate disaster relief by the military. During this year, President Harry Truman had offered the Presidio as the site for the future United Nations Headquarters.[13] A United Nations Committee visited the Presidio for the purpose of examining its suitability for the site, but the UN General Assembly ultimately voted in favor of its current New York City location instead.

1950-1953 - The Korean War again tasked the Presidio’s headquarters and support functions. Again, Letterman Army Hospital was mobilized to care for casualties from the war.

1951 - The Presidio hosted ceremonies for signing the ANZUS Treaty, a security pact of Australia, New Zealand, and the U.S. The Japan-US security treaty was signed at the Presidio, while the Japanese Peace Treaty was signed in downtown San Francisco. These events again showed the Presidio’s role in America’s growing involvement in Asia and the Pacific.

1961-1973 - The Presidio filled a supporting role in the Vietnam War. Antiwar demonstrations took place at the Presidio’s gates. A mutiny occurred at the Presidio stockade prison.

1968 - Richard Bunch shot, initiating the Presidio Mutiny.

1969-1974 - Letterman Army Hospital (LAMC) was modernized and Letterman Army Institute of Research (LAIR) was built.

1991 - The Presidio sent its few remaining units to war for the last time in Desert Storm, the First Gulf War. The role of Sixth Army was management of training and coordinating deployment of National Guard and Reserve units in the Western U.S. for Desert Storm.

1994 - Sixth Army was deactivated. The Presidio was transferred to the National Park Service.

1996 - Park becomes privatized through congressional action.

2001 - Letterman Army Hospital was demolished. Later, the Letterman Digital Arts Center was constructed on the site.

2005 - The Bay School of San Francisco opens in Building 35.

2009 - Demolition of the Doyle Drive viaduct which is to be replaced with a 8 lane boulevard and Tunnel under Crissy Field. Costing $1 billion, it is scheduled to be completed by 2013.

Inn at the Presidio, a member of Historic Hotels of America since 2011, dates back to 1903.

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