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1890's Capstone Returns to Presidio's Historic Arguello Gate Wall After 18-Year Absence


Presidio of San Francisco (June 9, 2008) — The Presidio Trust is pleased to announce that an historic capstone will be returned to the Presidio’s Arguello Gate, located at Arguello Boulevard and West Pacific Avenue, at approximately 8:15 am on Tuesday, June 10.
The Trust has been working with a team of stone carvers and conservationists to restore and replace the sandstone capstone, missing since 1990 when the wall was damaged by a truck. The capstone tops the wall at the Arguello Gate entrance to the Presidio.
Arguello Boulevard and the Arguello Gate are named after Lt. Jose Dario Arguello, an officer of the Spanish Army who commanded the Presidio from June 1787 to March, 1806.
The Trust has contracted with the artisan stonecarving and restoration group, Stonesculpt , to restore the capstone and damaged sections of the wall. The company’s founder, Oleg Lobykin is originally from St. Petersburg, Russia and worked for six years on the Cathedral Church, St. John the Divine, in New York City. The Stonesculpt team is repairing the sandstone with mortar and recarving missing details. Because much of the carving is still in place, conservationists can recreate the missing sections without threatening the historic integrity of the wall.
“It is wonderful to see the capstone restoration in such good hands,” said Christina Wallace, Trust Conservator. “We take our responsibility for the protection of the Presidio’s history very seriously and it is important to work with those who share our commitment.”
The capstone was knocked from the Presidio wall in 1990, when one of the piers was hit by a truck. At the time the National Park Service (NPS) managed the Presidio and repaired damage to the wall, but did not repair and replace the capstone. The capstone remained in storage until the Trust received permission in March for its return to the Presidio.
The Presidio Trust was established by the United States Congress in 1996 to manage the Presidio of San Francisco, a former army base located at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge. The 1,500-acre site contains the infrastructure of a small city as well as expansive open space, a 300-acre historic forest, spectacular views, and rare and endangered plants and wildlife. It comprises nearly 6 million square feet of buildings, including 469 historic structures that contribute to its status as a National Historic Landmark District, making it unlike any other national park. In establishing the Trust, Congress mandated that it make the park financially self-sufficient by 2013. The Trust is the only federal agency with this mandate.”

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