Tuesday, December 30, 2008
All the public - even those who admire Mr. Fisher's art collection- cannot find a single reason why the Fisher Museum has to be in a national park rather than in the thriving, arts-loving city nearby. That is because a contemporary art museum is alien to the values of the Presidio. It expresses the values of a modern city. It makes the Presidio someplace that is fundamentally different than when it was designated a national historic landmark.
So, how can we continue to keep the pressure on to save the Presidio? Write now to Congresswoman Pelosi to express your outrage that this struggle is still going on. Ask on what authority the Presidio would be a part of the only national park in the nation with a newly built contemporary art museum, when no other national park would have such an alien activity forced upon it. Ask her why the Presidio believes that it is not required to follow the laws concerning the protection of national park resources that guide all other other national parks. Does she support that position? Was the intent of Congress in the Presidio Trust Act for the Presidio to be in the parks system, but not follow the rules that define what a national park is? Is or is not the Presidio a national park? Send a copy of your letter to email@example.com .
Write! Continue to monitor this blog and presidioassociation.org.
Friday, November 21, 2008
1. The historic preservation authorities at Park Service, state, and national level have finally convinced the Trust that Fisher's museum cannot be built at the chosen bowling alley site and that it cannot be built elsewhere as a massive monument. Public opposition made it possible for these authorities to do their job in a difficult political situation. What government agency wants to buck the Speaker of the House? Public opposition paid off in this step toward preserving the historical Presidio- but we are a long way from having succeeded.
2. NPS and Trust got together to work out what MIGHT be acceptable for the art museum in the area of the Day Care Center across Moraga Street. Those ideas are now the subject of review. IMPORTANT: This does not say the art museum should be at that location: it only studies what it would have to look like if it were located there. I argue that there are very strong objections to having 100,000 square feet of two story construction within 160 yards of El Presidio and located at an elevation 26 feet above the objectionable bowling alley site and Main Parade.
3. This idea of relocating and redesigning does nothing to answer fundamental policy objections concerning the legality or appropriateness of a contemporary art museum in ANY national park.
4. The ideas do nothing to justify ANY construction in a national historic landmark when there is no clear statement of purpose and need. The Trust's propaganda "purpose and need" in the Main Post Update is meaningless with such phrases as "revitalization" and "making the Presidio a great urban park." This is marketing. These are not clear expressions of need that can be analyzed throughout the EIS. The public should be able to understand a convincing need that is expressed in clear terms such that when the project is done, the results can be measured, Objective analysis based on a purpose and need that is understandable should be able to guide the public in its analysis and support for one of the alternatives in the EIS. That is required by the National Environmental Policy Act.
5. There are many rumors that the schedule will be changed yet again, but that was denied by the Trust attorney at the recent meeting when the new design concepts were introduced. These concepts are posted on the Trust website presidiotrust.gov.
STAY TUNED. There is a key historic preservation consultation scheduled for preservation organizations and neighborhood groups on December 2. The situation should be clearer then.
I suggest waiting to write your comments due December 15 until after the December 2 meeting when I will update you. Meanwhile, look at the new concepts on the website. Review "purpose and need" in the Main Post Update, also available on the Trust website. If you think they don't make sense, then please write a letter saying that and mail it to the Trust. Overwhelming public objection or lack of understanding of the "purpose and need" would require the Trust to rewrite the Main Post Update and repeat most of the review process. PresidioPal
Friday, November 7, 2008
Please keep e-mails and letters to the Trust flowing in. You may write more than once if you have a new idea or another specific objection. Go to the Trust website presidiotrust.gov and look at the documents. The Main Post Update has screwy statements of need: what really is the need for a contemporary art museum and hotel? It has design guidelines to control building that are specific to Fisher's art museum. Do you object to those guidelines, and why? Pick an item or two that really bugs you from the Main Post Update and then write your concerns. Be specific and cite the page number that you are objecting to.
The tide is turning!
Friday, October 31, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
New Environmental Impact Study Ignores Objections of the National Park Service and National Trust for Historic Preservation
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Nation's Leading Voice for Historic Preservation Opposes Contemporary Art Museum and Hotel on the Presidio
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
For Immediate Release - January 9, 2008
For more information, contact:
Whit Hall, Director: 707/778-6975,
Gary Widman, President: 415/921-8193, firstname.lastname@example.org
Historical Association Seeks “Endangered” Status for San Francisco’s
The Presidio Historical Association (PHA) announced today that it is
seeking “Most Endangered Historic Site” status for San Francisco’s
On Tuesday, the Historical Association formally requested that the
National Trust for Historic Preservation include the Presidio on its 2008
list of the nation’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places.” The National
Trust, a prominent nonprofit organization, provides leadership, education,
advocacy, and resources to save America’s diverse historic places.
PHA President Gary Widman said the move was necessary because the
Presidio’s management requested a proposal from Gap founder Donald Fisher to build a 100,000 sq. ft. modernistic stone-and glass-structure
showcasing his contemporary art collection on the Presidio’s historic Main
Post. The Presidio Trust, a federal agency, manages that part of the
Presidio. It has already named a developer for another new building, an
80,000 sq. ft. hotel to be built nearby on the Post.
The Presidio was a military garrison from 1776 to 1994, and is designated
a National Historic Landmark District, the highest possible designation,
by the Secretary of the Interior. Its buildings and setting reflect 220
years of America’s heritage.
The Presidio has not had a history museum since 1994. PHA submitted a
plan for a “History Center at the Golden Gate” as an alternative to
Fisher’s much larger art museum.
“This precious historical site must be preserved for future generations
and protected from incompatible structures and uses that would destroy
its integrity forever,” said Widman. Widman noted the location sought for
the art museum lies in the heart of the Presidio, just yards from where
the Spaniards built their garrison in 1776.
Preeminent San Francisco landscape architect Lawrence Halprin said of
Fisher's proposed structure, "The design...is absurdly inappropriate. It
would ruin the unique architectural character of the Presidio..."
Charles A. Fracchia, Founder and President Emeritus of the San Francisco
Museum & Historical Society and author of three San Francisco history
books, wrote that “...the [Main Post] should be preserved as it exists.
The intrusion of a large hotel and museum in a contemporary style of
architecture into this delicate space would be a desecration, both to the
aesthetic and historic importance of the site. Such a mistake, if allowed
to continue, will be looked upon in ages to come as eyesores built by the
unfeeling and the insensitive.”
Boyd de Larios, speaking for the Descendants of the Anza and Portola
Expeditions, whose ancestors founded the original Presidio garrison in
1776, supported PHA’s request for endangered status to bring “national
attention to the irresponsible proposals for large-scale, new, and
inappropriately designed construction in the historic heart of an
irreplaceable national treasure.”
The controversy over building the art museum and hotel on the historic
Main Post, when many more appropriate sites are available on the Presidio,
has generated thousands of critical comments on the internet.
Founded in the 1950s, the nonprofit Presidio Historical Association (PHA)
has worked in cooperation with the National Park Service and Presidio
Trust since 1994 to advocate for preserving the integrity of the
Presidio’s National Historic Landmark District, located within the Golden
Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). PHA created a museum for the Army when it was based at the Presidio. Earlier, PHA helped restore historic
Fort Point at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge.