Crissy Field, a former U.S. Army airfield, is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, California, United States. Historically part of the Presidio of San Francisco, Crissy Field closed as an airfield after 1974. Under Army control, the site was affected by dumping of hazardous materials. The National Park Service took control of the area in 1994 and, together with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, worked to restore the site until 2001, when the Crissy Field Center was opened to the public. While most buildings have been preserved as they were in the 1920s, some have been transformed into offices, retail space, and residences.
The land Crissy Field resides on is an ancient 130-acre (53 ha) salt marsh and estuary. Prior to European settlement, the Ohlone people used the area for harvesting shellfish and fish. They also lived in seasonal camps in the area, leaving behind shell middens in the archaeological record. The Spanish arrived in 1776 and called the area El Presidio. They began to use the area for livestock grazing and agriculture. The 127-acre marsh site was filled in during the 1870s. This alteration was finished in time for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition. The U.S. Army took control of the Presidio in 1846, using the tidal wetland as a wasteland for dumping and draining. After filling in the marshlands, the Army covered over it and created an aerodrome.
During World War I the Army constructed numerous temporary buildings on the site of the 1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition at the Presidio of San Francisco and linked it to Fort Mason with a rail spur. In July 1918 Congress passed Public Law 189 to establish eight "air coast defense stations" and appropriated $1.5 million for the construction of one of them at the Presidio, to protect San Francisco Bay. In June 1919 the Army assigned Colonel Henry H. Arnold of the Air Service as Air Officer, Western Department, and directed him to convene a board of four officers to select the site. The board chose the former exposition site as much for its sheltered beach to protect seaplane operations as the fact that the infield of its racetrack was already in use as an aviation field. Although the wartime appropriations were reduced by the end of the war, demolition of buildings posing a landing hazard began in the fall of 1919.
The east-west clay and sand landing field was kidney-shaped with the outline of the racetrack still visible. The western end of the field featured hangars, workshops and a garage for the army. To the immediate east along the southern edge was the guardhouse in Classical/Mediterranean Revival Style architecture, the administrative building in American Craftsman/Mediterranean Revival, and a two-story enlisted barracks in Mission Revival Style. The bluff overlooking the field had the row of officer's quarters. Arnold led the effort to name the facility "Crissy Field" in memory of Major Dana H. Crissy, the base commander of Mather Field, California. Crissy and his observer died on 8 October 1919 in the crash of their de Havilland DH-4B while attempting a landing at Salt Lake City, Utah, during a 61-airplane "transcontinental reliability and endurance test" conducted by the Air Service from the Presidio's field and Roosevelt Field, New York. Construction proceeded throughout 1920, including a seaplane ramp adjacent to the Coast Guard Station on the grounds, and the Army accepted the facility on June 24, 1921, as a sub-post of the Presidio. The first unit assigned to the field, the 91st Observation Squadron, arrived from Mather in August, and the first commanding officer, Major George H. Brett, in October.
In the early years, Crissy Field involved mainly the viewing of artillery fire, aerial photography, liaison flights for headquarter personnel, special civilian missions such as publicity flights and search and rescues, and a support field for U.S. Air Mail. The first Western aerial forest fire patrols took place from Crissy Field.
The first successful dawn-to-dusk transcontinental flight across the United States ended at Crissy Field in June 1924. That same year, the army's first aerial circumnavigation of the world stopped at Crissy Field, and Lowell H. Smith, who was stationed at the field, led the flyers upon their return. In 1925, two Navy flying boats led by Commander John Rodgers took off from Crissy Field, marking the first attempt to fly from the continental United States to Hawaii. The flight was expected to take 26-hours, but it took twelve days when the PN-9 ran out of fuel short of land, and crew and aircraft had to be rescued at sea. Two years later Air Corps Lieutenants Lester Maitland and Albert Hegenberger flew non-stop to Hawaii in the Bird of Paradise, a specially modified transport plane, after staging at Crissy Field.
Originally, Crissy Field was considered ideal for air operations. However, wind and fog often made for poor flying conditions, construction of the Golden Gate Bridge threatened to make local flights more difficult, and the 3,000-foot (910 m) runway was too short for more heavily loaded aircraft. The Army also considered Crissy Field vulnerable to possible enemy ship attacks due to its location on the water's edge of the San Francisco Bay. In 1936, Hamilton Field opened in Marin County, and while Crissy Field ceased to be a first-line air base, air operations continued until the 1970s.
When the air corps left, the administration building served as the headquarters for the 30th Infantry Regiment, and the landing field was used as an assembly area for troop mobilization. During World War II, temporary wooden barracks and classrooms were built on site for the army's Military Intelligence Service Language School. Nisei soldiers were also trained as battlefield interpreters, as well.
After World War II a paved runway replaced the grass landing field and the Sixth Army Flight Detachment used Crissy Field for light utility and passenger planes, and helicopter operations. During the Vietnam war the Army used Crissy Field for liaison flights and MedEvac flights to transport wounded Vietnam soldiers 40 miles from Travis Air Force Base to the Presidio's Letterman Army Hospital, a trip by ambulance on surface roads would take too long and possibly be delayed by traffic into San Francisco. At the end of the Vietnam war in 1974 the Army closed Crissy Field to airplanes, though helicopter operations continued for several years.
As part of a national reduction in the number of functioning military bases, the Army decommissioned the Presidio in 1994, leaving Crissy Field “a jumble of asphalt and forsaken buildings” in the hands of the National Park Service."
In 1994 the National Park Service (NPS) took over the Presidio, and Crissy Field was declared a "derelict concrete wasteland" by NPS. Due to environmental concerns about the former airfield, NPS and the Environmental Protection Agency used funds to monitor the area's chemical, biological and physical variables. NPS eventually worked with the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy to revitalize the area and the Crissy Field Center was opened to the public in 2001.
San Francisco landscape architecture firm Hargreaves Associates was in charge of restoration of Crissy Field. The principal landscape architects were George Hargreaves and Mary Margaret Jones. Hargreaves and Jones advocated an "ecological approach to planning, the preservation and restoration of natural systems, and the notion of sustainable landscape." During the planning stages of the project, Hargreaves and Associates participated in public meetings and feedback session to interface with the local community.
The largest contribution for the restoration of Crissy Field came from the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. and Harold and Mimi Haas Foundations, totaling $18 million ($13.5 million from the Haas, Jr. Fund and $4.5 million from Colleen and Robert Haas), eclipsing the NPS’s $16 million. Pledged in 1997 this grant was the largest cash gift in National Park Service history at that time. The rest of the money came from members of the public. Some 2,400 people made donations towards the $34.4 million raised for Crissy Field, of which 2,200 were $100 or less. Since it reopened in 2001, the Haas Fund granted an additional $1.5 million in 2007 and $2.5 million in 2015.
Experts handled specialized work such as the design and construction process, removal of hazardous materials, and testing and monitoring of the estuary and marsh, but those parts of the project that could be shared were delegated to the wider community of stakeholders. Approximately 3,000 volunteers, ranging from neighbors to elementary students, spent 2,400 hours planting 100,000 plants representing 73 native species.
Crissy Field presented the challenge of the “restoration of a culturally significant grass military airfield” overlapping much of the same landscape as the tidal marsh, effecting “the ability to restore the marsh to the pre-military configuration, to an idealized ‘natural’ condition." In order to create the new site, 87,000 tons of hazardous materials were removed from the site itself and the tidal wetlands were redesigned to simulate the wetlands that existed before the military appropriated the site and used the area as a dump and landfill location. The site provides great views of the San Francisco bay area, Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge.
The completed Crissy Field reopened in 2001. New and rebuilt sidewalks, boardwalks, and trails connect the field north to Fort Point, the Warming Hut (a cafe), and south to the Crissy Field Center, an environmental education center, and the Marina District. Since that time many buildings were restored and leased out as housing, office space, retail, and recreational facilities. The old temporary wood barracks were demolished and the grass airfield restored. Letterman Army Hospital, a large concrete structure, literally was ground to dust and the concrete recycled. In its place George Lucas relocated Industrial Light & Magic.
Crissy Field is now part of an urban national park, which, due to its location and scenic views, is popular with both locals and tourists.
The Adopt-An-Alleyway Youth Empowerment Project is a non-profit project of the Chinatown Community Development Center that is based in the San Francisco Chinatown area.Volunteers clean the alleyways of San Francisco's Chinatown, organize monthly programs for seniors and children, and provide tours with Chinatown Alleyway Tours.Are Years What? (for Marianne Moore)
Are Years What? (for Marianne Moore) is a sculpture by American artist Mark di Suvero. It is in the collection of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, in Washington, D.C., United States. The sculpture is named after poet Marianne Moore's "What Are Years". From May 22, 2013 through May 26, 2014, the sculpture resided temporarily in San Francisco, as part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's Mark di Suvero exhibition at Crissy Field.Cliff House, San Francisco
The Cliff House is a restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue perched on the headland above the cliffs just north of Ocean Beach, in the Outer Richmond neighborhood of San Francisco, California. It has had five major incarnations since its beginnings in 1858. It now overlooks the site of the former Sutro Baths and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, operated by the National Park Service. On the terrace of the Cliff House is a room-sized camera obscura.Crissy Marsh
Crissy Marsh is a wetland area in San Francisco, California, United States. Crissy Marsh has brackish waters, making an ideal habitat for many bird species along the Pacific Flyway. Here, fresh river water meets the salt water of the bay. It is 130-acres and located on the northern end of the San Francisco Peninsula. This salt marsh was largely destroyed to build Crissy Field, an airfield used during World War I and World War II. It has since been restored, with the airfield being removed. It now hosts abundant and recovering wildlife on the northern San Francisco coast.Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund
Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund is a private foundation established in 1953 by Evelyn D. Haas and Walter A. Haas Jr. Based in San Francisco, the Fund is committed to advancing rights and creating opportunities so that all people can live, work, and raise their families with dignity. Guided by its founders’ values, the Fund works with funders, nonprofit organizations and movement partners on issues including: immigrant and gay and lesbian rights; education equity; nonprofit leadership; and Bay Area partnerships and initiatives.
The Haas, Jr. Fund is known for its leadership in the campaign for marriage equality in the United States, which resulted in the Supreme Court’s historic 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. The Fund also is recognized for pioneering work on the issue of immigrant rights—for example, by funding the first scholarships for undocumented Dreamer students at U.C. Berkeley. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the Fund has played a key role in many high-profile community initiatives, including the transformation of Crissy Field from an abandoned military airbase into a beloved National Park that attracts 1 million visitors every year.Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy
Founded in 1981, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit cooperating association that supports park stewardship and conservation in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area—the most visited national park in the U.S.Recognized as one of the largest park partners in the country, the Parks Conservancy has provided nearly $300 million in aid to support San Francisco Bay Area parks including the Presidio of San Francisco, Crissy Field, Muir Woods National Monument, Lands End, and Alcatraz Island. The organization has received a Three-Star Charity rating from Charity Navigator.Considered a model for urban park management worldwide, the Parks Conservancy's work is made possible through the support of its members and donors, contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and individuals; as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. Parks Conservancy-funded projects are visible across the parks' 80,000 acres as part of site transformations, trail improvements, habitat restoration, research and conservation, volunteer and youth engagement, and interpretive and educational programs.The Parks Conservancy works closely with several partners including the National Park Service (NPS) and the Presidio Trust to accomplish its mission to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experience of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Parks Conservancy is the official support organization for the Golden Gate National Recreation area, and is one of more than 70 such nonprofit organizations working with national parks across the U.S.
Recent projects include the Tamalpais Lands Collaborative (TLC), a new public-private partnership that will bring together the resources, skills, and philanthropy of the National Park Service, California State Parks, Marin Municipal Water District, Marin County Parks, and the Parks Conservancy to support conservation, stewardship, and public enjoyment of the Mount Tamalpais region in Marin County, California. The Parks Conservancy is also collaborating with the Presidio Trust and the NPS on the New Presidio Parklands Project, that will create 10 acres of new national parkland in the Presidio of San Francisco, bridging the new Presidio Parkway tunnel that connects the Golden Gate Bridge to the city street grid.House of Air
House of Air is an indoor trampoline park located in San Francisco's Crissy Field. Opened in 2010, it is located in a converted Presidio air hangar. The facility features over 8,000 square feet (740 m2) of trampoline space in all directions. Its creation is a result of the Presidio Trust, an agreement to restore and create recreational facilities in San Francisco's national park.Joey Gibson (political activist)
Joseph Gibson (born c. 1983–84) is an American far-right political activist. He is the founder of Patriot Prayer, a group which has organized protests in Portland, Oregon, and other cities.Lafayette Park (San Francisco)
Lafayette Park is an 11.49 acres (4.65 ha) park in San Francisco, California, United States. Originally created in 1936, it is located in the neighborhood of Pacific Heights between the streets of Washington, Sacramento, Gough, and Laguna. Located on a hill, the park offers views of many areas, including the city's Marina district, Alcatraz Island and the San Francisco Bay, Buena Vista Park, and Twin Peaks. In addition to both open and treed green spaces, the park includes two tennis courts, a children's playground, an off-leash dog area, restroom facilities, and a picnic area.Military Intelligence Service (United States)
The Military Intelligence Service (Japanese: 陸軍情報部) was a World War II U.S. military unit consisting of two branches, the Japanese American Unit described here and the German-Austrian Unit based at Camp Ritchie, described partly in Ritchie Boys. The unit described here was primarily composed of Nisei (second-generation Japanese Americans) who were trained as linguists. Graduates of the MIS language school (MISLS) were attached to other military units to provide translation, interpretation, and interrogation services.
The MISLS (initially known as the Fourth Army Intelligence School) began operation in November 1941, about a month before the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. The school initially operated at Crissy Field in San Francisco, but moved to Savage, Minnesota in 1942. There were more than 6000 graduates of MISLS.
The first MISLS students came from the army, but later students were also recruited from Japanese internment camps. MIS members attached to the joint Australian/American Allied Translator and Interpreter Section were instrumental in deciphering and translating the Z plan, an important captured document that described Japanese plans for a counterattack in the central pacific.
In March 1942, the Military Intelligence Division was reorganized as the Military Intelligence Service (MIS). Originally comprising just 26 people, 16 of them officers, it was quickly expanded to include 342 officers and 1,000 enlisted men and civilians. It was tasked with collecting, analyzing, and disseminating intelligence. Initially it included:
an Administrative Group
an Intelligence Group
a Counterintelligence Group
an Operations GroupIn May 1942, Alfred McCormack, established the Special Branch of MIS which specialised in COMINT.
Nisei servicemen of the Military Intelligence Service Civil Censorship Detachment helped implement censorship during the Allied occupation of Japan. The Allied occupation forces suppressed news of criminal activities such as rape; on September 10, 1945, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers "issued press and pre-censorship codes outlawing the publication of all reports and statistics 'inimical to the objectives of the Occupation'."According to David M. Rosenfeld:
Not only did Occupation censorship forbid criticism of the United States or other Allied nations, but the mention of censorship itself was forbidden. This means, as Donald Keene observes, that for some producers of texts "the Occupation censorship was even more exasperating than Japanese military censorship had been because it insisted that all traces of censorship be concealed. This meant that articles had to be rewritten in full, rather than merely submitting XXs for the offending phrases."Museum of the African Diaspora
The Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) is a museum in San Francisco, California, documenting the history, art, and culture of the African diaspora. Their focus spans the migration of Africans across history, from the diaspora at the origin of human existence through the contemporary African Diaspora around the world. It is located at 685 Mission St. next to the St. Regis Museum Tower. The museum, and the building, opened in 2005. With a small staff of 12 (as of 2019), it primarily focuses on presenting the work of other institutions.Patriot Prayer
Patriot Prayer is a far-right group based in the Portland, Oregon area. Patriot Prayer describes itself as advocating in favor of free speech, and opposing big government. The group has organized pro-Trump rallies and far-right protests in predominantly liberal areas, in which it has been met with large numbers of counter-protesters. White nationalists and far-right groups, such as Proud Boys, have attended the rallies organized by Patriot Prayer, sparking controversy and violence.Pier 39
Pier 39 is a shopping center and popular tourist attraction built on a pier in San Francisco, California. At Pier 39, there are shops, restaurants, a video arcade, street performances, the Aquarium of the Bay, virtual 3D rides, and views of California sea lions hauled out on docks on Pier 39's marina. A two-story carousel is one of the pier's more dominant features, although it is not directly visible from the street and sits towards the end of the pier. The family-oriented entertainment and presence of marine mammals make this a popular tourist location for families with kids.
The pier is located at the edge of the Fisherman's Wharf district and is close to North Beach, Chinatown, and the Embarcadero. The area is easily accessible with the historic F Market streetcars.
From the pier one can see Angel Island, Alcatraz Island, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the Bay Bridge. Blue & Gold Fleet's bay cruises leave from Pier 39.Presidio of San Francisco
The Presidio of San Francisco (originally, El Presidio Real de San Francisco or The Royal Fortress of Saint Francis) is a park and former U.S. Army military fort on the northern tip of the San Francisco Peninsula in San Francisco, California, and is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
It had been a fortified location since September 17, 1776, when New Spain established the presidio to gain a foothold in Alta California and the San Francisco Bay. It passed to Mexico, which in turn passed it to the United States in 1848. As part of a 1989 military reduction program under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, Congress voted to end the Presidio's status as an active military installation of the U.S. Army. On October 1, 1994, it was transferred to the National Park Service, ending 219 years of military use and beginning its next phase of mixed commercial and public use.In 1996, the United States Congress created the Presidio Trust to oversee and manage the interior 80% of the park's lands, with the National Park Service managing the coastal 20%. In a first-of-its-kind structure, Congress mandated that the Presidio Trust make the Presidio financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Presidio achieved the goal in 2005, eight years ahead of the scheduled deadline.The park is characterized by many wooded areas, hills, and scenic vistas overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, and the Pacific Ocean. It was recognized as a California Historical Landmark in 1933 and as a National Historic Landmark in 1962.San Francisco Nature Education
San Francisco Nature Education is a non-profit environmental education organization in San Francisco, California that provides interactive environmental education programs for the development of leadership and stewardship in youth and adults.
San Francisco Nature Education provides educational programs that focus primarily on students from underserved communities. The programs expose students to nature and educate them about local and migratory birds, recycling, and conservation. Local parks, such as Golden Gate Park and Crissy Field, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, are used as natural classrooms to observe local and migratory birds and to provide inspiring and engaging natural experiences. San Francisco Nature Education supports and augments the State of California’s Content Standards by teaching Kindergarten through 5th grade students through science, language arts, creative arts, and theater.Tank Hill
Tank Hill Park is located in San Francisco near the intersection of Clayton Street and Twin Peaks Boulevard, which circumscribes the hill to the south and east. A rocky outcropping defines the north side, which falls in cliffs to houses below.
From the south, and higher side of the hill, along Twin Peaks Boulevard, steps and a path lead to the top of the hill, which offers wonderful views of downtown San Francisco and the Golden Gate.
The top of the hill offers flat and paved areas that date back to civic waterworks that once existed on the top of the hill.
Tank Hill is a popular area for local residents to gather to watch municipal fireworks on the 4th of July. Crissy Field, to the north, is the usual site of a large San Francisco fireworks display, but the hills also offers views of fireworks in Oakland and the East Bay.Tonga Room
The Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar is a restaurant and tiki bar in the Fairmont San Francisco hotel in San Francisco, California. Named after the South Pacific nation of Tonga, this dining and entertainment venue opened in 1945.
The Tonga Room replaced the Terrace Plunge, an indoor swimming pool that was installed in the Fairmont in 1929. The pool was transformed into the Tonga Room's lagoon. The restaurant was redesigned again in 1967.
A report by the City of San Francisco Planning Department called the Tonga Room a "historical resource." Citing the Polynesian-themed bar's artificial lagoon, rainstorms, and lava rock, the report said: "The Tonga Room exhibits exceptional importance due to its rarity and as one of the best examples of 'high-style' Tiki bar/restaurant in San Francisco."Top of the Mark
The Top of the Mark is a penthouse level bar located on the nineteenth floor of the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill at California and Mason Streets in San Francisco, California. Located at the highest point of downtown San Francisco, on fog-free days the Top of the Mark has views of the financial district, Chinatown, North Beach, The San Francisco Bay, and of Grace Cathedral and Huntington Park.Wave Organ
The Wave Organ is a sculpture constructed on the shore of San Francisco Bay in May 1986 by the Exploratorium.Through a series of pipes, the Wave Organ interacts with the waves of the bay and conveys their sound to listeners at several different stations. The effects produced vary depending on the level of the tide but include rumbles, gurgles, sloshes, hisses, and other more typical wave sounds. The structure incorporates stone platforms and benches where visitors may sit near the mouths of pipes, listening.
The Wave Organ is located at the end of a spit of land extending from the Golden Gate Yacht Club. The stone pieces used in its construction were salvaged from the demolition of the Laurel Hill Cemetery in San Francisco. Exploratorium artist in residence Peter Richards conceived and designed the organ, working with sculptor and mason George Gonzales.There is a panoramic view of the city across the narrow channel into the St. Francis and Golden Gate yacht clubs, bounded on the left by the Fort Mason piers and to the right by a towering eucalyptus grove bordering Crissy Field. The park and trail to it are wheelchair accessible, with the trailhead at the Marina Green park.The Wave Organ includes 25 PVC organ pipes and is dedicated to Frank Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was the founding director of the Exploratorium, led the fundraising efforts for the Wave Organ, and died seven months before construction started.
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