Archaeological excavation at the Presidio Officers’ Club is allowing the public to see San Francisco history dating back to when Napoleon was exiled. Founded in 1776 it functioned as a remote outpost on the edge of the Spanish Colonies. After the Mexican war of Independence, in 1810, it was nearly forgotten by the colonial powers. In 1815 the Presidio’s commander Luis Argüello without permission decided to expand the fort. Later after the Mexican period came to an end in 1815, the US Army used the buildings until they were damaged in the 1906 earthquake. They were deem so badly damaged that much had to be demolished. In an area called Pershing Square the Presidio Trust archaeologists and volunteers are now working on two areas, uncovering the foundations of the 1815 walls that have been finally located. Before 1992 the exact dimensions of the Spanish fort were unknown.
Starting this past May a 20 year archaeological project is being laid out. The project is looking forward to excavating outside the walls in search of garbage. “Walls are significant, but trash has the best research value. We have the troop strength of El Presidio, but we don’t know who lived here, or how they lived. We’re hoping to find fragments of pottery, toys, food and everyday objects that were thrown away. Garbage gives us a real sense of people’s lives” said Jones the project director in the SF Gate.
One can also see the history of the Complex in the restored rooms of the Officers’ Club. The newer sections show the U.S. Army’s changing attitude toward the Spanish and their architecture. One section whitewashes over any Spanish characteristics while another highlights ceiling beams plastered to look hand hewn.