In the early 1970s, fresh out of college and living in San Francisco, I was working at a job I didn’t much like. On Monday mornings I would wake up with a queasy stomach, dreading the week ahead. Soon it occurred to me that, because I was living in the inner Richmond and working in the outer Sunset, I could bicycle to work through Golden Gate Park. This proved to be the perfect antidote to Monday morning blues. After a half hour of pedaling through the calm, green, fog-shrouded park, I would arrive at work feeling peaceful and prepared to face the day’s challenges.
Thanks to this routine I learned the park’s landscape, followed its undulating topography, discovered hidden gems. Observing seasonal changes, plants and birds, the rhythm of the gardeners mowing, pruning and planting, I began to wonder about the park’s history, the folks who took care of it, the intricacies of its daily administration . . . and to fantasize about working there, instead of in the job I so disliked!
This idyllic commute was the catalyst for my becoming a landscape architect and landscape historian. I taught landscape architecture at UC Davis for many years and my research has focused on the parks movement that produced treasures like Golden Gate Park in cities around the world in the second half of the nineteenth century. http://www.amazon.com/Melodramatic-Landscapes-Urban-Nineteenth-Century/dp/0813928427 )
Now living in San Francisco, after years of living elsewhere, I am so delighted to be able to explore this great park again, with a renewed sense of discovery and a deeper appreciation of its history and ecology. My mission in this blog is simply to celebrate the park, to tell its stories (past and present), learn more about it, talk with people who run it and use it, share what I discover. I hope you will join me on this journey and contribute stories of your own about the park, via comments on the blog.