Golden Gate Park in San Francisco

Thursday, 13 October 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, San Francisco Bay Area
Reading Time:  7 minutes

Golden Gate Park © Taras Bobrovytsky

Golden Gate Park © Taras Bobrovytsky

Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, United States, is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres (412 ha) of public grounds. It is administered by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, which began in 1871 to oversee the development of Golden Gate Park. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape to but 20 percent larger than Central Park in New York City, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles (4.8 km) long east to west, and about half a mile (0.8 km) north to south. With 24 million visitors annually, Golden Gate is the third most-visited city park in the United States after Central Park and the Lincoln Memorial.

In the 1860s, San Franciscans began to feel the need for a spacious public park similar to Central Park, which was then taking shape in New York City. Golden Gate Park was carved out of unpromising sand and shore dunes that were known as the Outside Lands, in an unincorporated area west of San Francisco’s then-current borders. In 1865, Frederick Law Olmsted proposed a plan for a park using native species suited for San Francisco’s dry climate; however, the proposal was rejected in favor of a Central Park-style park needing extensive irrigation. Conceived ostensibly for recreation, the underlying purpose of the park was housing development and the westward expansion of the city. The tireless field engineer William Hammond Hall prepared a survey and topographic map of the park site in 1870 and became its commissioner in 1871. He was later named California’s first state engineer and developed an integrated flood control system for the Sacramento Valley. The park drew its name from the nearby Golden Gate Strait.

The plan and planting were developed by Hall and his assistant, John McLaren, who had apprenticed in Scotland, home of many of the 19th-century’s best professional gardeners. John McLaren, when asked by the Park Commission if he could make Golden Gate Park “one of the beauty spots of the world,” replied saying, “With your aid gentleman, and God be willing, that I shall do.” He also promised that he’d “go out into the country and walk along a stream until he found a farm, and that he’d come back to the garden and recreate what nature had done.” The initial plan called for grade separations of transverse roadways through the park, as Frederick Law Olmsted had provided for Central Park, but budget constraints and the positioning of the Arboretum and the Concourse ended the plan. In 1876, the plan was almost replaced by one for a racetrack, favored by “the Big Four” millionaires: Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington, and Charles Crocker. Stanford, who was president of the Southern Pacific Railroad, was also one of the owners of the Ocean Railroad Company, which ran from Haight Street across the park to its south border, then out to the beach and north to a point near Cliff House. It was Gus Mooney who claimed land adjacent to the park on Ocean Beach. Many of Mooney’s friends also staked claims and built shanties on the beach to sell refreshments to the patrons of the park. Hall resigned, and the remaining park commissioners followed. In 1882 Governor George C. Perkins appointed Frank M. Pixley, founder and editor of The Argonaut, to the board of commissioners of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Pixley was adamant that the Mooney’s shanties be eliminated, and he found support with the San Francisco Police for park security. Pixley favored Stanford’s company by granting a fifty-year lease on the route that closed the park on three sides to competition. The original plan, however, was back on track by 1886, when streetcars delivered over 47,000 people to Golden Gate Park on one weekend afternoon (out of a population of 250,000 in the city).

Conservatory of Flowers © panoramio.com - harley photo/cc-by-sa-3.0 Japanese Tea Garden © Caroline Culler/cc-by-sa-3.0 Kezar Stadium © flickr.com - Topher/cc-by-2.0 M. H. de Young Museum © Mark Miller Music Concouse with Spreckels Temple of Music © ABIJXY/cc-by-3.0 National AIDS Memorial Grove © Pax Ahimsa Gethen/cc-by-sa-4.0 San Francisco Botanical Garden - Great Lawn © Stan Shebs/cc-by-sa-3.0 Stow Lake Boathouse © Daderot Golden Gate Park © Taras Bobrovytsky Beach Chalet © Sanfranman59/cc-by-sa-3.0 California Academy of Sciences © flickr.com - Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0
<
>
California Academy of Sciences © flickr.com - Dennis Jarvis/cc-by-sa-2.0
The first stage of the park’s development centered on planting trees in order to stabilize the dunes that covered three-quarters of the park’s area. In order to transform the sand dunes into Greenland, John McLaren grew bent grass seeds obtained from France for two years. Once the seeds were grown, he planted them over the sand to hold the ground together. After this success, McLaren was able introduce new species of plants to the land, and is credited to have added over 700 new types of trees to California within the span of one year. By 1875, about 60,000 trees, mostly Eucalyptus globulus, Monterey pine, and Monterey cypress, had been planted. By 1879, that figure more than doubled to 155,000 trees over 1,000 acres (400 ha). Within his lifetime, McLaren is credited to have planted over two million trees within northern California as a whole. Another accomplishment of John McLaren is his creation of an open walking space along the Pacific shoreline on the western boundary of the park. Despite obstacles such as heavy tides and winds that carried sand inland towards the park, McLaren was able to build an esplanade by stacking thousands of tree boughs over the course of 20 years. When he refused to retire at the customary age of 60 the San Francisco city government was bombarded with letters: when he reached 70, a charter amendment was passed to exempt him from forced retirement. On his 92nd birthday, two thousand San Franciscans attended a testimonial dinner that honored him as San Francisco’s number one citizen. He lived in McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park until he died in 1943, aged 96. McLaren Avenue, in Sea Cliff, near Lincoln Park is named after him.
windmills were built at the extreme western end of the park. These pumped water throughout the park. The north windmill was restored to its original appearance in 1981 and is adjacent to Queen Wilhelmina tulip garden, a gift of Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands. These are planted with tulip bulbs for winter display and other flowers in appropriate seasons. The Murphy Windmill in the southwest corner of the park was restored in September 2011.

After the earthquake shook San Francisco in 1906, Golden Gate Park became a site of refuge for many who found themselves without shelter. The undeveloped Outside Lands became a prime location to house these masses of people, and “earthquake shacks” popped up all throughout the area. Of the 26 official homeless encampments in the Golden Gate Park region, 21 were under the control of the United States Army. The United States Army was able to house 20,000 people in military style encampments, and 16,000 of the 20,000 refugees were living at the Presidio. Within the Presidio were four major encampments including a camp exclusively for Chinese immigrants. Despite being simple lodgings the army organized 3,000 tents into a geometric grid complete with streets and addresses. “The Army constructed a virtual town with large residential barracks [with temporary] tented housing, latrines and bathhouses, laundries, and other services.” Not only was the standard of military organization high, but the social organization was also up to an acceptable standard despite the aftermath of the earthquake and fires. Reports indicate that small communities formed within the tent neighborhoods. The children of the refugees established play areas, and the adults congregated in the mess halls to socialize. Finally, in June 1906, the Presidio tent camps were shut down. To replace these tents the city of San Francisco built more permanent living quarters. As mentioned earlier these earthquake shacks were built to house those still homeless after the earthquake and subsequent fires. Army Union carpenters built these shacks, and residents paid off the cost of construction at a rate of two dollars a month for twenty-five months.

During the Great Depression, the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department ran out of public funds. Thus, the duties of the department were transferred to the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a government program designed to provide employment and community improvements during the economic woes of the 1930s. Within the park, the WPA is responsible for the creation of several features such as the Arboretum, the archery field, and the model yacht club. In addition, the WPA reconstructed 13 miles of roads throughout the park and the built the San Francisco Police Department’s horse stables. Another WPA contribution, Anglers Lodge and the adjoining fly casting pools, is still in use today. It is home to the Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club (formerly known as the San Francisco Fly Casting Club). The horseshoe pits were also entirely created by WPA employees. The pits also came with two sculptures, one of a gentleman tossing a horse shoe and one of a white horse (which has since crumbled), both created by artist Jesse S. “Vet” Anderson. Most of the water used for landscape watering and for various water features is now< provided by groundwater from the city's Westside Basin Aquifer. In the 1950s, the use of this effluent during cold weather caused some consternation, with the introduction of artificial detergents but before the advent of modern biodegradable products. These “hard” detergents would cause long-lasting billowing piles of foam to form on the creeks connecting the artificial lakes and could even be blown onto the roads, forming a traffic hazard. A sliver of park at the far east end of Golden Gate Park, the Panhandle, lies north of Haight-Ashbury, and it was the site of the Human Be-In of 1967, preceding the Summer of Love.

Read more on Wikipedia Golden Gate Park (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Overseas Museum Bremen

Overseas Museum Bremen

[caption id="attachment_240445" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Team Übersee-Museum Bremen/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Overseas Museum in Bremen (German: Übersee Museum Bremen) is a Natural History and ethnographic museum in northern Germany. In an integrated exhibition of Nature, Culture and Trading, the museum presents aspects of overseas regions with permanent exhibitions relating to Asia, South Pacific/Oceania, Americas and Africa. The building is protected by the monument protection act. [gallery ...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Bulgarian Black Sea Coast - Nesebar

Theme Week Bulgarian Black Sea Coast - Nesebar

[caption id="attachment_240771" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Happyna/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Nesebar (often transcribed as Nessebar and sometimes as Nesebur) is an ancient city and one of the major seaside resorts on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast, located in Burgas Province. It is the administrative centre of the homonymous Nesebar Municipality. As of December 2019, the town has a population of 13,600 inhabitants. Often referred to as the "Pearl of the Black Sea", Nesebar is a rich city-museum defin...

[ read more ]

The World Wonders Project

The World Wonders Project

[responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]From the archaeological areas of Pompeii to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, Google’s World Wonders Project aims to bring to life the wonders of the modern and ancient world. By using the Street View technology, Google has a unique opportunity to make world heritage sites available to users across the globe. Street View is a hugely popular feature of Google Maps which is already available in dozens of countries. It allows users to virtually explore and navigate a neighborhood through panoramic street-lev...

[ read more ]

Diest in Flemish Brabant

Diest in Flemish Brabant

[caption id="attachment_160733" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Market Square © Bescha[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Diest is a city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. Situated in the northeast of the Hageland region, Diest neighbours the provinces of Antwerp to its North, and Limburg to the East and is situated around 60km from Brussels. The municipality comprises the city of Diest proper and the towns of Deurne, Kaggevinne, Molenstede, Schaffen and Webbekom. Diest had a total population of 23,15...

[ read more ]

Theme Week China - Wuhan

Theme Week China - Wuhan

[caption id="attachment_200972" align="aligncenter" width="590"] East Lake © gugganij/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Wuhan is the capital of Hubei province, People's Republic of China. It's the most populous city in Central China, and one of the nine National Central Cities of China. It lies in the eastern Jianghan Plain on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River's intersection with the Han river. Arising out of the conglomeration of three cities, Wuchang, Hankou, and Hanyang, Wuhan is known as 'China's Thoroughfare', i...

[ read more ]

Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station

[caption id="attachment_24494" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © flickr.com - Muhammad/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Built in Beaux-Arts style, Grand Central Terminal (GCT) is a railroad terminal at 42nd Street and Park Avenue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City. Built by and named for the New York Central Railroad in the heyday of American long-distance passenger rail travel, it is the largest such facility in the world by number of platforms with 44 serving 67 tracks along them. They are on two levels, both below gro...

[ read more ]

Le Bon Marché, the first department store in the world

Le Bon Marché, the first department store in the world

[caption id="attachment_161307" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Le Bon Marché © François Rejeté[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Le Bon Marché ("the good market", or "the good deal" in French) is the name of one of the most famous department stores in Paris, France. It is sometimes regarded as the first department store in the world. Although this depends on what is meant by 'department store', it may have had the first specially-designed building for a store in Paris. The founder was Aristide Boucicaut. The store was fou...

[ read more ]

The Castro in San Francisco

The Castro in San Francisco

[caption id="attachment_230462" align="aligncenter" width="590"] LGBTQ Pride Flag Market Street and the Castro © flickr.com - tedeytan/cc-by-sa-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Castro District, commonly referred to as the Castro, is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco. The Castro was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. Having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro remains one of the most prominent symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender...

[ read more ]

The Bering Strait tunnel linking Asia and North America

The Bering Strait tunnel linking Asia and North America

[caption id="attachment_2659" align="aligncenter" width="385" caption="Bering Strait map © worldarchitecturenews.com"][/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]London to New York rail journey on horizon It was first mooted as long ago 1905 by Tsar Nicholas 11, but this week the Kremlin finally gave the green light for a 65 mile (106 km) tunnel linking Asia and North America, taking the epic project a step nearer reality. The conference in Yakutsk was hosted by Yegor Borisov the Governor and the project was ratified by President Medve...

[ read more ]

Pello in Finland

Pello in Finland

[caption id="attachment_239544" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Arctic circle in Juoksenki © panoramio.com - dr.eros/cc-by-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Pello (formerly Turtola) is a municipality of Finland. It is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of the Arctic Circle in the western part of the province of Lapland, and is part of the Lapland region. The municipality is on the national border with Sweden, by the Tornionjoki river. The municipality has a population of 3,260 (30 September 2023) and covers an area ...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
Ramesseum, the memorial temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II © Wouter Hagens/cc-by-sa-3.0
Thebes in Egypt

Thebes, known to the ancient Egyptians as Waset, was an ancient Egyptian city located along the Nile about 800 kilometers...

LGBTQ Pride Flag Market Street and the Castro © flickr.com - tedeytan/cc-by-sa-2.0
The Castro in San Francisco

The Castro District, commonly referred to as the Castro, is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco. The Castro...

© Giovanni Dall'Orto
Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan

Santa Maria delle Grazie ("Holy Mary of Grace") is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, and a...

Close