Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fort Funston



San Francisco, the land of the Power to the Peaceful fest and the Love Parade, still possesses the remains of what America once was on its coasts. A public reminder, Fort Funston is probably my pooch's favorite sniffing and digging doggie hangout. It's totally breathtakingly beautiful, but also gives me the heebie-jeebies the same way that when I'm sitting at a VFW hall with my dad and his buddies, shooting the breeze with him about Vietnam or with other old timers about the Korean War, I really understand how my generation has grown up without a sense of how this country used to operate with its physical reminders of war. I remember fall-out shelter signs in my church basement; a clear memory of WWII that later just turned into the place my class would go to during a tornado drill. Now though, with St. Leo's a long gone landmark, very few places in this country remind me of the wars of the past (or even that we're currently at war).

On Fort Funston's 1.5 miles of gorgeous trail, you really get a sense that you are standing between two old gun batteries.  A remnant of fears about protecting our coast after WWI, Fort Funston was built as a prototype for the Nation's borders. It was the example that the rest of the country was aiming to follow by its completion in 1939. By 1951, with the development of the Nike Missile, Fort Funston became one of the now defunct missile sites in a ring around the Bay Area.

It's funny, when you're walking around, carrying a eco-friendly bag of dog poop in one hand, and a large latte from Peet's in the other, it seems so strange to think that this now puppy packed park was once a site of military preparation.

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