Situated near the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausalito is a popular city in Marin County with a rich history, particularly during World War II. At the time, the city primarily functioned as a vital shipbuilding center. Post-war, Sausalito developed into a wealthy, picturesque, suburban community and a tourist hotspot. Today, it's full of several notable historical sites and landmarks for residents and visitors who want to learn more about the city's fascinating history.
Constructed in 1918, the Sausalito Woman's Club is a Craftsman-style building designed by Julia Morgan, California's first licensed female architect. The building remains open today, where the public is welcome to take educational guided tours. Nested in Sausalito's Old Town, the Woman's Club offers breathtaking views of the San Francisco skyline. While the builders finished constructing the main floor in 1918, they did not complete the upstairs room, sun porch, furnace room, or under-the-stage dressing room until 1923.
Located at the entrance of the San Francisco Bay in the Marin Headlands, the Point Bonita Lighthouse was the third lighthouse built on the West Coast. It was also the last manned lighthouse on the California coast. It was erected to aid with guiding ships through the Golden Gate Strait during the California Gold Rush. The lighthouse is still active today, where it is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. Many visitors enjoy hiking the half-mile trail to see it up-close.
The National Register of Historic Places officially listed the Marinship Machine Shop in December 2016. During World War II, shipbuilding was a vital part of the San Francisco Bay Area's war efforts. The Marinship Machine Shop was one of six wartime shipyards constructed in the Bay Area. Today, it is the best surviving example of a WWII emergency shipyard building in the area. It also showcases the period's wartime materials and construction techniques.
The Charles Griswold House received its status as a historic landmark thanks to being one of the only houses still standing in Sausalito from the 19th century, surviving the 1919 fire and the uptick in suburban development post-construction of the Golden Gate Bridge. No other house has the same type of style and detailing in Marin County. Constructed by Charles Griswold, a local millwright, the house was built using multiple carpentry forms, helping it retain its unique character throughout the years.
Together, Forts Baker, Barry, and Cronkhite make up a nationally-registered historic site. Fort Baker is a significant part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. While it's not technically in Sausalito, the historic site does border the Marin County city. The time between the two World Wars saw these sites fortified as early coastal defense structures, especially since they were excellent locations for observing the bay.
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