I had a chance to visit San Francisco this past July with my boyfriend. I had been there before in 2016 and it was the sort of city where I had fantasized about it so much in my head that ultimately it didn’t live p to my own hype. Back then I had gone in August and it was so cold and windy that I had to wear a winter jacket to be remotely comfortable (and finally understood why Frank Sinatra had once said, “The coldest winter of my life was a summer in San Francisco,”).
Despite that, the city still houses one of my most favourite bridges of all time, The Golden Gate Bridge. So when I went there in July, I had to revisit the bridge. In doing so, we discovered Fort Point.
Fort Point is a military port located on the southern side of The Golden Gate Bridge at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. To say that it was cold and windy is an understatement. However, getting a chance to explore this fort was extremely interesting for the history buff in me. This fort was completed right before the Civil War as a way to defend San Francisco from any outside invaders.
A Brief History
Spain occupied San Francisco in 1769, and by 1776 had settled the area. To help protect the area from the Russians or British invaders, the Spanish first built a fort where Fort Point stands today and it housed around thirteen cannons. When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, it gained control of that region, including the fort. Only the Mexicans didn’t upkeep the fort, allowing it to crumble amidst the rain and wind. During the Mexican-American War in 1846, the Americans captured the fort and disabled the cannons, gaining control of the fort. But it wasn’t until 1853 that the American Army began working on rebuilding the fort. This took the effort of 200 men in an 8-year span. During the Civil War, it was thought that the Confederate raider would attack, but this never occurred.
Throughout the years the fort has been used for barracks, training, and storage. And although the fort today holds no real value to the military, it has been chosen to be preserved as a national monument.
Recently, Fort Point was featured in 2014’s film Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, where the humans use Fort Point’s armory to increase their weaponry against the apes. And British indie band Editors used a photo of Fort Point as their album cover in 2005, for The Back Room.
If you’re in San Francisco, I highly recommend visiting Fort Point as it’s interesting to see how soldiers (and many times even their wives and children) were living during the 1800’s. It’s a little piece of California history that I didn’t know about, and the plus side is that admission is free! So check it out, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two. It’s the perfect place for a family outing or school field trips.
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