In the middle of San Francisco Bay sits Angel Island State Park, offering spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline, the Marin... more » Headlands and Mount Tamalpais. The island is also alive with history. Three thousand years ago the island was a fishing and hunting site for Coastal Miwok Indians. It was later a haven for Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala, a cattle ranch, and a U.S. Army post.
From 1910 to 1940, the island processed hundreds of thousands of immigrants, the majority from China. During World War II, Japanese, and German POWs were held on the island, which was also used as a jumping-off point for American soldiers returning from the Pacific. In the '50s and '60s, the island was home to a Nike missile base.
Today, there is one automated active Coast Guard station - at Point Blunt - on the island (this area is off limits). Angel Island became a State Park in 1954.
On October 12, 2008, Angel Island was ravaged by a wildfire. In just 2 days, 303 acres went up in smoke. We're visiting the island a year later to see how the land is recovering and learn how the fire helped one scientist unearth a bit of the island's history.
This Exploration created in collaboration with the Exploratorium. less «