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Pretty Pictures

Treasure Island Naval History Mural

Too bad one of the strangest murals in the area sits in a limited access building on an island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay, but here’s hoping a quick snap shot sparks a bit of interest. The painting stretches the length of the east wall in Treasure Island’s Administration Building, a grand Art Deco exhibition hall built for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. Since it’s World’s Fair heyday the crescent-shaped building has served a number of purposes over the years, housing both Naval and city government offices, as well as masquerading as the Nazi dirigible terminal in Raiders of the Lost Ark. The mural itself was commissioned by the Navy sometime in the 1970s, and attempts to cover the scope of American Naval history in a sweepingly reductive wash of balls-out awesomeness, culminating in the inevitable, near-future exploration and colonization of the deep-sea floor (a clear dig at NASA, whose star-gazing poindexters and crazy landing pods required constant air support to pluck them from the ocean’s currents).

Treasure Island

Given the curvature of the wall and the compact depth of the room, it’s a difficult mural to photograph in its entirety. So if you’re nearby and curious, drive across the bridge or hop MUNI’s #108 from the Transbay Terminal and loiter in front of Building A until security shows up. At that point, though, it’s up to you to decide how you’d like to talk your way inside.

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