In 1972 Congress created the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that included Fort Mason. Lower Fort Mason consists of 3 piers and warehouses, 4 additional warehouse buildings and 4 other buildings for a total 344,608 square feet. It was the U.S. Army San Francisco Port of Embarkation from the Spanish American War, through World War 2 and Korea until the U.S. Army closed the facility in 1962. The area is now designated as a National Historic Landmark District.
In 1976 business and civic leaders formed the Fort Mason Foundation to administer a wide variety of non-profit programs and events and renovate lower Fort Mason. The National Park Service entered into a cooperative relationship with the Fort Mason Foundation in 1976 that continues even today.
The Fort Mason Foundation's mission statement is: "To create and preserve a cultural, educational and recreational center that reflects the unique history, talents and interests of the people in the Bay Area, in partnership with the National Park Service."
Toward this end the Fort Mason Center houses nearly 40 non-profit organizations and is the setting for more than 15,000 meetings, conferences, performances, and special events attended by 1.6 million visitors each year. The Fort Mason Foundation ensures the existing historic structures are restored, preserved and maintained for long term continued and expanded visitor experience of its recreational, educational and cultural programs.
Over its 27-year history the Fort Mason Foundation has made an investment of approximately $18,000,000 in the preservation, restoration and capital improvement of the Fort Mason Center above its cooperative agreement requirements.
- June 2004