Association moves to protect historic Presidio
from monied self-interest
"This precious historical site must be protected...
from incompatible structures and uses
that would destroy its integrity forever"
Billionaire Republican Gap, Inc. founder Donald Fisher's proposal
to build a museum to house his personal art collection on public
land in the historic Presidio, has come under fire from the Presidio
Photo by Luke
By Maya Strausberg
January 10, 2008
In a move to stop the building of a new 100,000 square foot
structure, the Presidio Historical Association has requested the
Presidio of San Francisco be considered for Most Endangered Historic
The request was submitted Tuesday to the National Trust, which
is creating its 2008 list of the country's 11 Most Endangered
Historic Places. In August, the Presidio trust requested a proposal
from billionaire Gap Inc. founder Donald
Fisher, 80, to build a memorial museum to house his personal
art collection at the Presidio's Main Post.
"This precious historical site must be preserved for future
generations and protected from incompatible structures and uses
that would destroy its integrity forever," said PHA President
The Presidio was recognized by Congress as a National Historic
Landmark District, the highest historic designation that can be
given in the U.S. This designation is given to a collection of
structures and the surrounding lands that have nationally important
historical integrity. The 1996 Presidio Trust Act calls for the
"preservation of the cultural and historic integrity of the
Presidio for public use."
"The design ... is absurdly inappropriate," landscape
architect Lawrence Halprin said of Fisher's proposed structure.
"It would ruin the unique architectural character of the
According to the Presidio Trust, Fisher and his wife would pay
for the construction and operations of the memorial museum, which
would house works by Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Gerhard Richter
and Ellsworth Kelly among others.
"The presence of a major cultural institution, such as the
one proposed by the Fishers, would be an important catalyst for
attracting other vibrant, public-serving uses to the Main Post,"
said Craig Middleton, Presidio Trust Executive Director. "The
Trust envisions the Main Post, once the ceremonial and administrative
center for a military community, as the cultural and civic center
for this unique national park."
Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, a staunch preservationist,
his vociferous opposition to Fisher's proposal and said he would
aggressively work to oppose the destruction of public lands at
the hands of private self-interest.
"All options are on the table," Peskin told Fog City
Journal in December.
San Francisco Board President Aaron Peskin
Luke Thomas contributed to this report.
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