Frozen in time? If Golden Gate Park were to be given historic-landmark status, the Stow Lake boathouse could be included in the designation. (Examiner file photo)
via Entire Golden Gate Park might be deemed historic | San Francisco Examiner.
What would it mean to designate Golden Gate Park a historic landmark? What are the pluses and minuses of such a designation? Given how much the landscape has changed and how many features have been added since the park was created in the nineteenth century, what would be the rationale for “freezing it” in its present form? Which parts of the park are most important historically? Can we privilege one period of its history over another? It looks like a lively debate is brewing around these and other questions of historic authenticity in the park.
In the case of a Park, some of the change is planned and expected — especially when you’re landscaping with trees. The designers expected the trees to grow and fill in the park. Once you lose respect for the Park’s history and purpose, it’s all too easy to view it as a tempting piece of open real estate. It’s unthinkable now, but some day some administration may consider selling off pieces of it (Panhandle, anyone?) to balance the budget, or driving a freeway through it, or relocating the sewage treatment plant from its precarious perch by Ocean Beach…
Or they might be inspired to do away with all that non-native invasive vegetation that must be irrigated with scarce groundwater, and revert it to native scrubland, complete with blowing sand.