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Was the Embarcadero ever a military base in the late 1800''s or early 1900's?

-- Mary-Anne Banks (banksma@cadvision.com), June 07, 1998


Although never a true military base, the Embarcadero has a long history as a port facility for military vessels. Beginning in 1898 with the Spanish-American War, the US government started using a pier at the foot of Howard Street as a "Quartermaster Transport Dock." Later, in 1911, a the Army established a General Depot for troops and cargo at Fort Mason. This facility consisted of three huge piers and a cluster of warehouses, and eventually became known as the Army's "San Francisco Port of Embarcation."

During World War II, more pier space was needed by the military, and troop ships and naval vessels tied up all along the Embarcadero. In addition, the military briefly set up antiaircraft guns and searchlights at piers along the waterfront during 1941-'42.

-- John Martini (John_Martini@nps.gov), June 08, 1998.

The street, "The Embarcadero", was named I believe in 1909. It was previously called East Street, and lies southeast to northwest along the downtown waterfront from China Basin to Fisherman's Wharf (which is a little east of Fort Mason). In addition to Mr. Martini's excellent reply, the government also owned a reserve that encompassed Rincon Point before 1850. But, to my knowledge, it was never used for military purposes.

As a sidenote, there were other military bases further to the west. Some of those include the Presidio, Fort Miley, Fort Point, and Crissy Field (used as an airport).

-- Ron Filion (rfilion@geocities.com), June 08, 1998.

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