Roald Amundsen and Gjoa memorial

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Dutch Windmill 1910s View from Great Highway, Sailing ship Gjoa opensfhistory wnp27.0458.jpg

Queen Wilhelmina Windmill with the sailing ship Gjoa which occupied this spot near today's site of the Beach Chalet for many years.

Photo: wnp27.0458

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Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian polar explorer, was the first to locate the magnetic North Pole and to navigate the Northwest Passage, the Arctic water route from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He left Norway with a crew of six on June 16, 1903 in a 69-foot-long converted herring boat named Gjoa. Amundsen spent three years on the perilous journey. The Gjoa continued on, sailing through the Bering Straits and anchored off Point Bonita, outside the Golden Gate, on October 19, 1906. The San Francisco Norwegian community purchased the Gjoa from Amundsen and donated the ship to the people of San Francisco in 1909. In 1911, Amundsen became the first explorer to reach the South Pole. The Gjoa remained on this site at the western end of Golden Gate Park until 1972, when it was returned to Norway. The restored ship is now on display at the Maritime Museum in Oslo.

The Amundsen monument is a bauta, or stone shaft, or Norwegian granite which was donated by Bay Area Norwegians, March 1, 1930.

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Photos: Chris Carlsson