City and industry leaders trumpet incessantly about the innovation and progress happening in San Francisco. But let's take a moment to think of our past, a past that makes us realize that our City was founded on the ideals of exploration, curiosity, and risk-taking. Sadly, many of our early historical markers have crumbled over time, but one relic remains standing.
First established in 1776 by Spanish conquistadors, the adobe Presidio Officers' Club stands as San Francisco's oldest edifice, even predating Mission Dolores. Throughout the 20th century, the building was an exclusive gathering place for Army brass and their families. Now, it has been transformed into a multifaceted cultural destination that not only welcomes the residents of San Francisco, but anyone who has the privilege of visiting.
From 2011 to 2014, the Presidio Trust conducted a comprehensive restoration of the 36,895 square-foot Presidio Officers' Club. The project has protected and revealed the building's defining characteristics, restored the original adobe, and enabled public access to long-closed spaces.
The 230-year-old building is amalgam of adobe, wood-frame, concrete, and steel structures, with additions built over the course of its existence. Over time, the edifice has housed Spanish, Mexican, and American soldiers and been converted into a mess room, ballroom, and restaurant bar. The property has also hosted famous guests such as former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev, General Omar Bradley, and former vice president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore.
After the United States Army departed in 1994, the Presidio became part of the national park system and therefore part of the public domain. In keeping with the ideals set forth by the National Park System, the Presidio Officers' Club houses a cultural museum with artifacts from the building's different eras, an education resource center for children and parents, and open access to the historical rooms and libraries inside. There is also a new restaurant, Arguello, now open in the Officers' Club.
The Presidio Officers' Club is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is located at 50 Moraga Avenue at Arguello Boulevard, on the Presidio's Main Post.