Milagra Ridge is a 240 acre (.97 km²) parcel of land that is an isolated island ecosystem, located about 7 miles (11 km) south of San Francisco, near the city of Pacifica. It was first inhabited by the Ohlone indigenous people, and was later claimed by Spanish settlers and Mexican ranchers.
In 1942 the U.S. Army started construction of Battery #244 on top of Milagra Ridge, which was called Milagra Ridge Military Reservation at the time. The battery had two 6 inch (15 cm) T2M1 guns mounted on a shielded long-range Barbette M4 platform. This battery, along with similar fortifications in San Francisco, Angel Island and the Marin Headlands, was part of a defense network that protected San Francisco Bay. It was decommissioned in 1950.
In 1954 Nike missile site SF-51L was built here and was decommissioned in 1974 and turned over to the city of Pacifica. In the mid-1960s, Pacifica considered utilizing the WW-II era Battery 244 casemate (bunker) as their police station, but in 1969, a different location was chosen. However, Pacifica Police Department and other city municipal agencies did use the bunker for records storage. In April 1971, someone broke into the bunker and set the records on fire. Shortly afterward, Pacifica stopped using the bunker.
In 1984 the National Park Service acquired Milagra Ridge and made it a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Community based volunteer efforts have successfully improved the habitat of the Mission Blue and San Bruno elfin butterflies, the San Francisco garter snake and the California red-legged frog, all of which are endangered or threatened species. Today, it is a protected area and is open for hiking. In the late Spring, the area provides thousands of tiny wild coast strawberries interspersed with poison oak.
Milagra Ridge is home to a USGS seismometer that is very close to the city of San Francisco and provides nearly-real-time data to the public.
- Sea Coast Fortifications, published by the National Park Service
- From Frontier to Suburb, The Story of The San Mateo Peninsula, by Alan Hynding 1982, Star Publishing Co., Belmont, CA.
- The Land Called Pacifica, by Dema Savage, 1983. Friends of the Sanchez Adobe, Pacifica, CA
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