SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 9, 2016) – A tri-agency partnership of the National Park Service (NPS), the Presidio Trust (Trust) and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (Conservancy) today ceremonially broke ground on the new William Penn Mott, Jr. Presidio Visitor Center. The move marks a major milestone in the Post to Park transformation of the Presidio, a historic U.S. Army post that is now a vibrant urban national park welcoming more than 5 million visitors each year
“The Visitor Center unveiling is a major milestone in the Presidio’s Post to Park transformation,” said Michael Boland, Presidio Trust Acting Executive Director. “It will be the starting point for enjoying the park and the adjacent Tunnel Tops – 14 acres of new parkland that will open in early 2019, with 360-degree views of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay, the City of San Francisco and the Presidio.”
The building rehabilitation will restore the historic two-room layout, including the original wood floors, bead board wainscoting, sheet metal ceiling and exposed brick walls. It will offer interactive exhibits and an information desk staffed by representatives from the NPS and Trust and park-related retail staffed by the Conservancy.
The focal point of the south room will be a large-scale model with touchscreen interpretive panels that help tell the story of the Presidio and its changing landscape. A video wall will feature maps, videos and a calendar of current events. In the north room, visitors will learn about the history and how to orient the four areas of the park: The Main Post, Golden Gate, Crissy Field and the Southern Wilds. The partitioned “trustees room” will feature an audio presentation, giving voice to the people who have helped shape the Presidio, from the Ohlone to present day.
“It is significant that this groundbreaking is occurring in the Centennial Year of the National Park Service. This visitor center will welcome future Presidio visitors in new ways, and prepare them to get the most out of their visit to both the Presidio and other areas of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.” said Chris Lehnertz, Golden Gate National Parks Superintendent.
Building 210 was built at the north end of the Main Post in 1900 as the Army post’s guardhouse, with cells to hold prisoners convicted of violating military laws and regulations. The Colonial Revival style and brick masonry construction mirrors that of the Main Post’s Montgomery Street Barracks. It was converted in 1951 to house a bank and United States Post Office to serve the needs of base residents. The temporary Presidio Visitor Center is located nearby in building 39 and is open four days a week.
“At long last, the Presidio is on its way to having the visitor center that this historic landmark and national park deserves: The William Penn Mott, Jr. Visitor Center…Located at the intersection of the history of the Main Post, the nature of Crissy Field and the scenery of the Golden Gate, and immediately adjacent to the transit center, this new hub of visitor gathering and orientation will also be part of the Presidio Tunnel Tops project. Our gratitude extends to the philanthropic donors who made this project possible: The Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, the Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation and the William Penn Mott, Jr. Memorial Fund.”
About William Penn Mott Jr.
William Penn Mott Jr. was a lifelong supporter of public parks, which he successfully championed during his tenures as superintendent of parks for the city of Oakland, general manager of the East Bay Regional Park District and director of California’s Department of Parks and Recreation. He founded the nonprofit California State Park Foundation in 1969 and mentored it until the time he was appointed by as director of the National Parks Service, a post he held from 1985-1989. As special assistant to the NPS, he was assigned to lead the conversion of the Presidio from military post to national park, which he committed himself to until his death in 1992.
About the National Park Service: More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 411 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. To learn more about the National Park Service, visitwww.nps.gov.
About the Presidio Trust:
The Presidio Trust is an innovative federal agency created to save the Presidio and employ a partnership approach to transform it into a new kind of national park. Spanning 1,500 acres in a spectacular setting at the Golden Gate, the Presidio now operates without taxpayer support, is home to a community of residents and commercial tenants, and offers unique recreation, hospitality, and educational opportunities to people throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and the world. To learn more please visit www.presidio.gov.
About the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy: The Parks Conservancy is the nonprofit membership organization created to preserve the Golden Gate National Parks, enhance the experiences of park visitors, and build a community dedicated to conserving the parks for the future. The Conservancy’s work is made possible through the dedication of its members and donors; contributions from foundations, businesses, public agencies, and generous individuals, as well as earned income from the operation of park stores, cafes, and tours. To learn more, please visit www.parksconservancy.org or call (415) 561-3000.