San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park

Take a Voyage Through Time!

The San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park, also called the San Francisco Maritime Museum, is one of those cultural institutions that most visitors walk right into without knowing about it beforehand. Located near Fisherman’s Wharf on San Francisco Bay, this unique museum is not only a collection of artifacts, photographs and exhibits, it also features six major vessels moored at the Hyde Street Pier that were once vital to the area’s economy and growth. These vessels include:

  • The Eppleton Hall
    This paddlewheel tugboat was built in 1914 and was built to tow colliers, or barges filled with coal, from seafaring ships to docks, where the coal would be unloaded.
  • The Hercules
    The Hercules is a steam tugboat that was built in 1907 that hauled everything from ships to lumber to barges and other payloads up and down the west coast and other destinations.
  • The Alma
    A scow schooner that is now a National Historic Landmark, the Alma was built in San Francisco in 1891 to haul freight from one side of San Francisco Bay to the other. Her flat bottom allowed her to pick up loads and transport them in shallow waters throughout the area.
  • The Eureka
    This 1890 side-wheel paddleboat steamer was built across the Bay in Tiburon to transport passengers during the day and cargo at night. Later, she was reconfigured as a ferry for automobiles, as the Golden Gate Bridge and other Bay Area bridges had not yet been built.
  • The C.A. Thayer
    The C.A. Thayer was built in 1895 to haul lumber up and down the west coast. An impressive vessel, this three-masted schooner later served as a fishing vessel before being restored and declared a National Historic Landmark.
  • The Balclutha
    This square-rigged sailing vessel was built in Scotland in 1886 to haul passengers and cargo all over the world. She has performed many roles since then, including movie star, as she was the Bounty in the 1933 film Mutiny on the Bounty with Clark Gable.

In addition to seeing, and in some cases, boarding, these magnificent ships, visitors to this interesting museum can also journey through San Francisco history at the Visitor’s Center and see how these and other vessels helped shape San Francisco into the world-class city it is today. There are interactive exhibits located in the Visitor’s Center, on the Balclutha and throughout Hyde Street Pier, where guests can experience what life was like on board these vessels and dockside as well. Hours for the Visitor’s Center, Museum and Hyde Street Pier vary by season, venue and holidays, so your best bet is to visit the official site for scheduling at Admission to the various venues within the Park is either free or a very affordable $5 to gain access to the vessels on the Pier.