Tuesday, May 15, 2007

California Historical Landmark #82

Castillo de San Joaquin
California State Historical Landmark #82

Fort Point National Historic Site
National Register of Historic Places #1970000146

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This landmark is located at the end of Marine Drive in San Francisco in San Francisco County. There are 48 other California State Historical Landmarks in San Francsico County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 37° 48.629 W 122° 28.621.

The first ship to enter San Francisco Bay, the San Carlos (Captain Ayala), dropped anchor off this point August 5, 1775. Lieutenant-Colonel Don Juan Bautista de Anza planted the cross on Cantil Blanco (White Cliff) March 28, 1776. The first fortification, Castillo de San Joaquín, was completed December 8, 1794 by José Joaquín de Arrillaga, sixth Governor of California. In 1853 United States Army engineers cut down the cliff and built Fort Point, renamed Fort Winfield Scott in 1882. This fort, a partial replica of Fort Sumter, is the only brick fort west of the Mississippi, its seawall has stood undamaged for over a hundred years.

Fort Point is considered one of the finest examples of military architecture in the United States and is San Francisco's only major building constructed before the civil war which has remained basically unchanged since it was completed and garrisoned in February 1861. Two months later the firing of Fort Sumter, South Carolina, marked the beginning of the Civil War. But the bombardment also clearly deomnstrated that brick and granite fortresses could not withstand the devastating power of rifled cannon. Fort Point was the last such fortress to be constructed.

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