Greetings from Fort Point National Historic Site

Standing proudly against the rugged backdrop of San Francisco Bay’s windswept coastline lies Fort Point, a testament to 1850s military engineering. Built by the US Army to safeguard bustling trading ports from potential invasion, the fortress holds a captivating history of strategic defense plans that anticipated the bloodiest of battles. Despite San Francisco’s pivotal role in West Coast economic activities, Fort Point remained untouched during the Civil War years, gradually fading from historical prominence as decades passed.

What strikes me most about this historic site isn’t merely its past significance, but the unexpected challenge it faces today. The very engineers who meticulously crafted this bastion against human foes couldn’t have foreseen its struggle against an unseen enemy—nature itself. As our planet warms and sea levels rise, the once-sturdy fortress now contends with relentless waves, ironically creating unexpected opportunities, such as a burgeoning surfing spot in the bay.

During my stroll along the coastline towards the fort, I encountered a scene that juxtaposed the fort’s history with the present—ten surfers poised on their boards, eagerly awaiting the next wave.

This experience at Fort Point left a deep mark on me, serving as a stark reminder of the threat posed by our changing climate, not just to historical landmarks but to our collective future. While acknowledging the erosion of the fort’s bricks as a tangible consequence, it’s a larger warning bell ringing in my consciousness about our well-being in the face of climate change.

Despite the uncertainties, I hold onto a sense of gratitude for being at this national historic treasure. Yet, this privilege might not be guaranteed for future generations, and that realization compels me to consider our responsibility to preserve these treasures for the times ahead.

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Fort Point National Historic Site

Fort Point has stood guard over the narrow entry into San Francisco Bay for 150 years, and served as a base for architects and builders of the Golden Gate Bridge.

State(s): California

Established: 1970

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