Copyright © 2010 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.
US Coast Guard HQ
San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Skyline
Fort Baker is one of the most famous components of California’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The Fort, which borders the City of Sausalito in Marin County and is connected to San Francisco by the Golden Gate Bridge,
served as an Army post until the mid-1990s, when the headquarters of the 91st Division moved to
Parks Reserve Forces Training Area. It is located opposite Fort Point at the entrance to the San Francisco Bay.
Fort Baker was classified as an historic district on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973
The military history of the area that is now Fort Baker began in 1850 when President Millard Fillmore created
The Lime Point Military Reservation, for coastal defense positions
and logistic support facilities, on the north side of the Golden Gate, across from Fort Point.
However, due to lengthy litigation the land was not acquired by the Federal Government until 1866. Between 1872
and 1876, four barbette batteries were built: at Point Cavallo (Battery Cavallo), on the ridge above Lime Point
(Cliff and Ridge Batteries), and on Gravelly Beach to the west (Gravelly Beach Battery).
The only buildings on the reservation were barracks-like quarters for construction crews, storehouses, and offices, to the west of Horseshoe Bay.
In 1890 plans were drawn up for modern “Endicott Type” coastal artillery batteries to be
built from Point Cavallo to Point Bonita. Four batteries were completed by 1901: Batteries Spencer, Kirby, Duncan, and Orlando Wagner.
In 1897 a tent camp was established where the present Main Post is today, and the reservation was renamed “Fort Baker”. Construction of permanent structures began in 1901.
By December 1942, during World War II, there were 159 structures at Fort Baker, many of them temporary.
For example, a temporary frame hospital, built near the beach at
the foot of the parade ground, was completed in October 1941 and demolished in 1981.
During the 1960’s and 1970’s part of the frame hospital was used as the reference laboratory for Letterman Army Hospital, and included the rabies laboratory.
In 2000, the final uniformed elements of the US Army left the Presidio of San Francisco and Fort Baker,
a subpost of the Presidio. The 91st Division (Training Support), an Army Reserve unit, moved its headquarters from Fort Baker to Parks Reserve Forces Training Area,
in Dublin, California.
Many of the Army-built buildings still stand, and current institutions in the area include an active
United States Coast Guard station, the Travis Marina (an Air Force rest and recreation facility), and the Bay Area Discovery Museum.