Presidio de San Bernardino, Arizona, was a Spanish fortress founded in 1776 that was located about 18 miles east of present-day Douglas, Arizona.
It was established by Irish mercenary Hugh O’Conor, as part of a network of presidios and missions in present-day southern Arizona. The other missions were:
Presidio of San Ignacio de Tubac (1752-1776)
Presidio of Tucson (1775-1756)
Presidio of Santa Cruz (1776-1780)
However, these forts were under constant attack from hostile Apache Indians and could not adequately protect themselves, much less build and protect any surrounding missions. Presidio de San Bernardino was abandoned just four years later, in 1780. In 1883, a temporary post was established by the United States Army at or near the Presidio site and was known as Camp San Bernardino Springs.
The Presidio was also known as Presidio de San Bernardino de Terrenate, Fort San Bernardino and Camp San Bernardino Springs.
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated February 2022.