Fort Point

This Page Relates to Marshall’s Beach, World’s Most Interesting Nude Beach

Tucked directly under the world famous Golden Gate bridge is a three-story brick building. You can walk right up to it when the tide is low. Even if you’re so close you’re touching the building, you may not realize what it is.

This building is Fort Point. Construction started in 1853, twelve years before President Lincoln freed the slaves. It took 200 men eight years to complete the fortress.

Some say that it was built to protect the ’49ers. These were the people who rushed to California to mine gold. Pirate ships could have sailed into San Francisco Bay, and made the miners’ lives difficult. Other historians say it was built to the California Bay Area against general military invasion. At that time, there was still some concern that British or Spanish navies could cause trouble.

You can drive a car to the other side of Fort Point, and walk right into the building during regular hours. There are National Park personnel there who are docents. Once in the building, you’ll discover the fascinating history.

Perhaps you can imagine the shock of the tourists in the building when they look out one of the south-facing windows onto the beach and see naked, sexual activity!

The building was filled with cannon aimed out the little windows, firing balls up to 5 inches in diameter. A hundred or more men lived and worked in the building which had no central heat. In San Francisco, that can be significant, since some winter nights can fall below freezing. The super-thick brick walls promote echoes. Can you imagine being in there when a cannon was fired?

There were never any battles fought from the fort. Other than practice, no military action was ever taken.

Inside Fort Point under the Golden Gate Bridge

Lighthouse on the roof of the fort

View from the roof of the fort.