Category Archives: history

golden gate park in the context of san francisco history

murphy windmill stub on the verge of renovation

“During the next month neighbors of the Murphy Windmill in Golden Gate Park can watch workers finally cast the old stub’s fourth, fifth and sixth floors. A large crane installed the windmill’s eight main posts during the weekend and now … Continue reading

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the old beach chalet in golden gate park

The current Beach Chalet in Golden Gate Park dates to 1925.  It’s a building in the Spanish Colonial Revival style and one of the landmark historic structures in the park.  Few people know that there was another Beach Chalet, predating … Continue reading

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urban legend: the ghost in the park

Stories about ghosts seem to haunt public parks.  In Chapultepec Park in Mexico City, La Llorona (The Weeping Woman) is said to wander through the ancient forest, exiled from heaven and eternally weeping for her drowned children and her lover. In Central … Continue reading

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benches in the park for hugging?

The following editorial, quoted by Raymond Clary in The Making of Golden Gate Park, The Early Years:  1865-1906 (p. 39) is from The San Francisco WASP April 30, 1881.  Goodness gracious! “The law-abiding people of this community were startled a few days … Continue reading

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quail in golden gate park

According to the Golden Gate Audubon Society web page: “The haunting call of the California Quail, the California State bird, is now rarely heard in Golden Gate Park. Historically, San Francisco’s streams and coastal scrub vegetation provided the food, cover, … Continue reading

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horses and the founding of golden gate park

A horse actually played a key role in the founding of Golden Gate Park.  The story goes like this: In the early 1870s, faced with the daunting task of establishing a vegetative cover on the sand dunes that had been … Continue reading

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horse stable to open in central park

The following excerpt is from a recent article in the New York Times: ‘Central Park is laced with bridle paths and dotted with pastures, and its plants were once fertilized with manure. But though carriage horses trot through it, police … Continue reading

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chicken point: a long-forgotten story involving chickens and coyotes

In The Making of Golden Gate Park:  The Early Years, 1865 – 1906, Raymond Clary recounted some fascinating anecdotes from the early history of Golden Gate Park.  Many of them have long been forgotten.  One story that caught my eye … Continue reading

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perils of the park: man beaten in early morning attack

Lately there have been reports of some violent incidents in Golden Gate Park, fueling official discussions about possibly restricting use of the park at night.  This echoes for me a long journalistic tradition, commencing in the nineteenth century, focusing on … Continue reading

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who really designed golden gate park?

Frederick Law Olmsted did not actually design Golden Gate Park, but given the many similarities between Golden Gate Park and Central Park in New York City (which Olmsted did design, famously!), I think he deserves a lot of the credit! … Continue reading

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