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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

9/25/2010 - Protecting the Gate

We spent Friday night visiting with my old high school classmate, Randy, his wife Andrea and their daughter, Kate. Also visiting Randy & Andrea were their friends from Germany, Martina & Blanca. The weather was perfect in Walnut Creek and we spent the evening sitting around a campfire digesting the sausage-chicken-shrimp gumbo Lulu had made for dinner.

Saturday morning we all went to San Francisco for a brunch of dim sum at the City View Restaurant just outside of Chinatown. Although the traffic was quite light for a sunny Saturday morning, I was still really glad that Randy was driving. Way too many cars going way too fast across way to many lanes of traffic for me.

After we ate we headed out to the western edge of the base of the Golden Gate Bridge to visit Fort Point. The traffic definitely began to increase as we headed there. This was a very rare sunny AND warm day in The City and everyone was out to enjoy it.

Before the Golden Gate Bridge was built, there were forts on both sides of the San Francisco Strait to control who could and couldn't pass through the Golden Gate. BTW, the Golden Gate does not refer to the bridge. It refers to the opening to the Bay and was named because it resembled a similar opening in Turkey which also had the word "gold" in its name. The discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill a few years later just reinforced the name.

Anyway, the Fort on the south side of the entrance, Fort Point, is a very cool old structure made of an incredible amount of brick.

Although they're gone now, the top of the fort was once bristling with cannons like these and others:

The structure itself is built sort of like a castle. The outer walls are very thick and house all the living and working quarters as well as the powder magazines, the brig, etc. The walls surround a central open area:

At various times through history the fort also housed the lighthouse warning sailors off the point. And, btw, those raised cylindrical things were all gun mounts. This baby flat bristled with armaments!

As you can see, the fort is right under the bridge. It was originally planned to tear the fort down when the bridge was built in the early 30s. Fortunately, the bridge designer took a shine to the beautiful example of the masons' art that the fort exemplified and redesigned the west end of the bridge so the fort could be saved.

The view from the fort is amazing:

Hopefully this blog entry wasn't too photo-heavy. My apologies to the dial-up readers. I bought a new pocket-size camera so I could include more photos and may have gotten a little carried away. I'm sure I'll learn the art of editing soon.


Anonymous said...

Good morning, Steve & Lulu: Lulu: Happy Birthday.
Steve: Thanks for the history lesson and pictures - as a native Californian I did not know this about the fort and also about "Golden" Gate. Glad you are enjoying your time - take care and my love to both of you - Nancy

Anonymous said...

So good to hear from you again. You must of gotten the problem taken care of. Sounds like you two are having a good time. I am happy to hear you let someone else drive to San Fancisco. I know I was always a bundle of nerves when Dad would drive us up there. Love, Mom

frisette et cranedoeuf said...

Nous avons l'adresse du blog alors maintenant vous devez nous emmener avec vous jusqu'au Mexique. Nous pourrons voyager encore un peu après notre retour en France ! Contents de vous avoir rencontré, profitez de la vie et des futurs samedis...
Régis et Virginie

Steve and Lulu said...

Regis & Virginie,

Good to meet you two. We have added your blog to our Bookmarks. Now we need to go back to the beginning and read it all the way through. It might take a little while since we will have to translate as we go along. Happy traveling.

-Steve & Lulu

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, Lulu! A memorable one, for sure. Looks like you're having a great time in the Bay Area. Love all the photos and learned something new. Thanks, Stephen!


rod said...

I walked down to that fort on one of our trips to SF. It was being repaired and I couldn't get into it or past it so I had to turn around and hike up to get around the point. Can you get past it now? (BTW I for one appreciate the pictures.)

Anonymous said...

I have never been inside Fort Point. And a warm sunny day in SF is one to celebrate! Ilove the pictures too./Beverly