Formerly called the San Francisco Port of Embarkation, US Army, Fort Mason was once a US Army post situated in the northern Marina District, in close proximity to the San Francisco Bay. It was an army post for over 100 years, first as a shoreline defense facility and later on as a military ship dock. Fort Mason was one of the busiest military ports during World War II as it accommodated most of the supplies for the Pacific troops.
Fort Mason can be segmented into two different sections. The upper area is located on a cape and was the setting of the original coastal defense line. The lower portion on the other hand houses the Fort Mason Center and was the site of the military port once found here complete with piers and warehouses. There are two other San Francisco attractions found just a stone?s throw away from Fort Mason: the Marina Green to the west and the Aquatic Park to the east.
Fort Mason was established during the height of the Civil War from 1861 to 1865 when the US army took control of the terrain. During the great San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, Fort Mason served as the temporary shelter for the affected San Francisco residents. When World War II reached its peak, it served as the send off point for sailors and soldiers bound for Pacific and the Korean debacle. When it became non-operational in 1962, this 13 acre of land became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. An overseeing body called the Fort Mason Foundation was created in 1976 to come up with several projects for both locals and visitors which paved the way for Port Mason?s re-opening in the middle of 1977.
History and war architecture buffs will definitely enjoy the sights found in Fort Mason. There are nine Mission Revival inspired structures in the vicinity which boasts of more than 28,000 square meters of event space. Two piers were also converted to host big events such as musical performances that could fit up to 8,000 guests via two additional pavilions. In total, there are 49 historically important structures that are found within Fort Mason which made is a designated U.S. National Historic Landmark.
A modern indoor theatre called the Cowell Theater was added to Fort Mason in 1989 that has a seating capacity of 437 guests. This world-class entertainment facility is a popular venue for diverse shows such as multi-cultural performances, internationally acclaimed dance groups and regular numbers by the Pacific Chamber of Orchestra.
For the visual arts enthusiasts, Fort Mason offers numerous yearly art gatherings which include regular exhibits of homegrown artists. The treatment of these kinds of exhibits is very intimate where patrons can actually interact with the artists themselves. Fort Mason is also a favorite venue among non-profit organizations for many classes and workshops which range from Tai Chi to piano lessons.