San Francisco Maritime National Historic Park
Lower Fort Mason, Bldg. E
San Francisco, CA 94123
WELCOME to Bay Ark
The San Francisco Bay Ark, also known as the Lewis Ark, located
near the entrance of Hyde Street Pier.
This little houseboat, referred to locally as an ark, was one of
several dozen boats moored out as summer hideaways for San Francisco
families in Belvedere Lagoon, near Tiburon in Marin County during
the early 1900s.
Reputedly built for the McGinnis family sometime prior to 1900,
this ark was hauled ashore about 1923 and passed through several
hands before being donated to the park in 1969.
Summer aboard the arks was an idyllic time. The boats were
brightly painted, and glowed at night with colorful Japanese
lanterns. Evenings were spent visiting between boats in neatly
finished Whitehall rowboats.
The San Francisco Bay Ark is a wooden houseboat, 44 feet long, 25
feet wide, with a rounded, barge-like bottom and a two-foot draft.
The builder and date are unknown, but it was probably constructed
between 1890 and 1900.
This ark is typical of the ark common around the turn of the last
century in the San Francisco Bay and was mostly berthed in a cove
near Belvedere, CA.
The interior is panelled with a dark wood. In the front room, or
parlor, is a brick and iron fireplace. Sliding doors lead to two
bedrooms with built-in beds. A narrow hallway leads to the rear of
The ark is open for visiting during park hours free of charge.
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