2005 CPEO Installation Reuse Forum Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 28 Jun 2005 05:53:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-irf
Subject: [CPEO-IRF] Presidio/preserving the past
As the article below shows, closed military bases contain valuable
relics of the past. This is perhaps most obvious at historic forts such
as the Presidio of San Francisco or Ft. Monroe, the Virginia base on the
proposed BRAC 2005 list. But many a base played a significant role in
its day, or contains missile silos, blimp hangars, or other structures
that may never be built again.

Sometimes those who seek to redevelop bases choose to overlook the past.
This appears to be true at New Jersey's former Millville Army Airfield -
"America's First Defense Airport" - where a developer proposes to
destroy historic buildings to make way for a motorsports park. Some of
those structures could actually enhance the value of the new development.

In other locations, people appear not to recognize the significance of
events that took place just decades ago. For example, construction of
the Alaskan Highway was one of the great engineering feats of World War
II. Not too long ago I saw a fascinating documentary on the subject,
pointing out the epochal success of African-American Army Engineers in
that hostile environment. Yet as I drove along the rebuilt highway just
a few years ago, I saw no markers, museums, or other signs of that
wartime achievement.

The rules that govern base closure require an archaeological review of
base property, but it takes imagination, not just filling in the blanks,
to turn history into a lasting asset.


Presidio's walls speak of past 
>From officer's quarters to Officers Club, building dates over 200 years 

Carl Nolte
San Francisco Chronicle 
June 27, 2005 

Slowly and very carefully, a team of archaeologists has been taking
apart a room at the Officers Club at the Presidio of San Francisco to
see if they can learn the secrets of what may be the oldest building in
the Bay Area. 

Their work will be open to the public today, as part of the ceremonies
marking the 229th anniversary of the founding of the Presidio by Spanish
soldiers on June 27, 1776. The accompanying Catholic Mission San
Francisco de Asis, commonly known as Mission Dolores, celebrates its
229th birthday two days later, on Wednesday. 

Working all spring, the Presidio archaeologists so far have uncovered
layers and layers of history -- remodeling done by the modern U.S. Army,
rebuilding in the days of the cavalry, and back to the Civil War, to the
Mexican era, and finally to the adobe brick walls put up by Indian
workers under Spanish direction. 


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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