PHA Events





Mare Island Naval Shipyard Tour With Brendan Riley
Saturday, September 28, 2019
Anticipated Itinerary:
9:40AM  |  Meet at Ferry Building Peet’s
10:ooAM |  Onboard for Ferry Departure
3:45PM   |  Return via Mare Island Ferry (there is also a 2:15PM Ferry for anyone who cannot stay longer.)
(if driving meet at Mare Island Ferry Building at 11:15AM)

Last fall PHA hosted a fantastic tour of historical Vallejo guided by Brendan Riley, journalist and author of Lower Georgia Street. This September we are thrilled to invite PHA members on a tour of Mare Island Naval Shipyard rich with history and details of the island’s restoration.

Christened by General Mariano Vallejo in 1836 and established as the first United States Naval installation on the west coast by Commander Farragut in 1852, Mare Island Naval Shipyard has had a long and vibrant history extending through its closure in 1996. One of the busiest shipyards in the world and the second largest Navy Yard in the U.S, 513 vessels were built and another 1,227 repaired or overhauled over the Shipyard’s vast lifetime, including warships, nuclear submarines, and the Navy’s first aircraft landing decks. The island is also home to St. Peter’s Chapel, the Navy’s oldest chapel in the Pacific, storied for its exquisite Tiffany Studio stained glass windows.

Mare Island Museum will be part of this tour, including access to USS LCS 102, one of the last remaining 130 Landing Craft Support vessels built for the U.S. Navy.




The Coit Tower Murals:  Visual Feast, Political Controversy, Decades of Neglect, and a Spectacular Restoration, a lecture with Professor Emeritus Robert Cherny
Thursday, October 3, 2019 at 6:30PM
Presidio Interfaith Chapel
130 Fisher Loop
San Francisco, CA 94129
RSVP For This Event Here.


The murals at Coit Tower were completed 85 years ago, in the early summer of 1934.  They were, at the time, the largest art project funded by the New Deal, and they influenced other New Deal art across the country.  On Thursday, October 3 Robert Cherny will give us a virtual tour of the murals, tell us about the controversy at the time they were completed (spoiler:  it involved a hammer and sickle), and describe the decades of neglect and vandalism that followed as well as the most recent restoration of the murals.  Coit Tower is currently being considered as a National Historic Landmark because of the significance of the murals.


Robert Cherny is professor emeritus of history at San Francisco State University.  He is the author of Victor Arnautoff and the Politics of Art (2017), “The Controversy at Coit Tower in 1934,” The Argonaut (Summer 2017), and “San Francisco’s New-Deal Murals in Long-term Perspective:  Controversy, Neglect, and Restoration,” forthcoming in California History (February 2020).  He is also co-author of the recent nomination of Coit Tower as a National Historic Landmark.


The Interfaith Center at the Presidio, originally the Protestant Chapel, is the site of a spectacular mural of its own, by Victor Arnautoff, who was technical coordinator at Coit Tower.  Arnautoff’s assistants at the Presidio Chapel included several of the Coit Tower artists.  Come a few minutes early to admire that mural, which depicts the history and contemporary (1934-35) activities of the Presidio.  Following the formal presentation, Cherny will be happy to take questions and comments about Coit Tower, the Presidio Chapel mural, or the current controversy over the murals at George Washington High School.




Celebration of Portola’s Discovery in concert with the San Mateo Historical Society

Historical hike of Sweeney Ridge, led by San Mateo County Historical Association president Mitch Postel. This 2.5 mile hike (round trip) offers immersive historical context of this important trail and the Ohlone-Portolá sighting.

The Palo Alto Campground



Presidio Historical Association Holiday Party