This park includes several marine-themed sites within a few blocks of each other. Although the park's signature Maritime Museum -- on Beach Street at Polk Street, shaped like an Art Deco ship, and filled with sea-faring memorabilia -- is undergoing its planned 2006- to 2009 renovations, it's worth walking by just to admire the building. Head 2 blocks east to the corner of Hyde and Jefferson and you'll find SFMNHP's state-of-the-art Visitor's Center, which offers a fun, interactive look at the city's maritime heritage. Housed in the historic Haslett Warehouse building, the Center tells the stories of voyage, discovery, and cultural diversity. Across the street, at the park's Hyde Street Pier, are several historic ships, which are moored and open to the public.
The Balclutha, one of the last surviving square-riggers and the handsomest vessel in San Francisco Bay, was built in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1886 and carried grain from California at a near-record speed of 300 miles a day. The ship is now completely restored.
The 1890 Eureka still carries a cargo of nostalgia for San Franciscans. It was the last of 50 paddle-wheel ferries that regularly plied the bay; it made its final trip in 1957. Restored to its original splendor at the height of the ferryboat era, the side-wheeler is loaded with deck cargo, including antique cars and trucks.
The black-hulled, three-masted C. A. Thayer, built in 1895 and recently restored, was crafted for the lumber trade and carried logs felled in the Pacific Northwest to the carpentry shops of California.
Other historic ships docked here include the tiny two-masted Alma, one of the last scow schooners to bring hay to the horses of San Francisco; the Hercules, a huge 1907 oceangoing steam tug; and the Eppleton Hall, a side-wheel tugboat built in England in 1914 to operate on London's River Thames.
At the pier's small-boat shop, visitors can follow the restoration progress of historic boats from the museum's collection. It's behind the maritime bookstore on your right as you approach the ships.
- © Frommer's 2013
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Ask San Francisco Locals about San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
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- visit website
- tel: +1 415 447 5000
- fax: +1 415 556 1624
- 499 Jefferson Street
- Visitor's Center: Hyde and Jefferson Sts (near Fisherman's Wharf)
- San Francisco, CA 94109
- Visitor's Center: Memorial Day to Sept 30 daily 9:30am-5:30pm; Oct 1 to Memorial Day daily 9:30am-5pm. Ships on Hyde St. Pier: Memorial Day to Sept 30 daily 9:30am-5:30pm; Oct 1 to Memorial Day daily 9am-5pm
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