We're big fans of the Presidio and Crissy Field here at Curbed SF. Welcome to In the Presidio, a weekly series covering what's going on at what may be the country's most far-ranging and complex examples of adaptive re-use.
Presidio Golf Course: A herd of Boer goats arrived yesterday at the Presidio Golf Course, hired to eat their way through invasive overgrowth– blackberries, thistles and hemlock– around the fairways. Not only will the effort make it easier to find lost golf balls, the Presidio plant biologists are hoping that by exposing the soil, seeds of native plants that have lain their dormant will get a chance to sprout. They started out at the driving range yesterday and will work their way over to the 4th hole overlooking Mountain Lake, where they will be "chomping through weeds and transforming them into natural fertilizer." The 250+ goats are expect to be on the golf course for the next two weeks, accompanied by goatherds and a herding dog, and will range over their assignment in large moveable wire pens as needed. Boer goats were originally bred in South Africa from native species– for meat rather than milk production– they're hardy, fertile, and can weigh up to 300 pounds.
Mexican Era Suburbs: Presidio archaeologists have begun a new dig along the old route between the Presidio and Mission Dolores through what we now call the Tennessee Hollow Watershed. In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and took over control of California, and here, just beyond the old Presidio's walls, married soldiers began the first of San Francisco's "suburbs" in the 1830s and '40s as the Presidio declined in importance as a military base. By 1834, General Vallejo had moved most of the troops to Sonoma to counter the perceived Russian threat at Fort Ross just north of Bodega Bay, and the Presidio began to take on more of an administrative function when the new Mexican government secularized Mission Dolores and reduced it to a parish church.
At the site called MacArthur Meadow, the Presidio Trust has just begun to excavate the site of what they think is the small rancho, or compound, of acting Commander Francisco Sanchez, located just downstream of El Polin spring and the Briones family compound. This small community just outside the walls would become a springboard for residents to acquire huge ranchos in the area- Juana Briones in Palo Alto, her brother Juan in Bolinas, the Miramontes family in Half Moon Bay, and Commander Sanchez in Pacifica.
The dig, still in its earliest phase, seeks to illuminate the years during Mexican rule before 1846, when the Anglos moved in. It's open to the public this August, Monday through Friday from 1:00PM to 5:00PM and Saturdays from 10:00AM to 2:00PM. Visits are encouraged, with staff and interns on hand to explain the meticulous process, plus it's only a short walk away from the restored El Polin Spring.
· Mountain Lakes Aquatic Refugees Moving to Sonoma County [Curbed SF]
· Archaeology Digs at MacArthur Meadow [Presidio Trust]
· Get your Birds & Bi-Lingual Ethnobotany On At El Polin [Curbed SF]