Category: The Outside Lands

San Souci Roadhouse

December 3rd, 2010

Maps are so unreliable. Even when they are well drawn—which hilly places never were before the advent of contour lines in the 1850s—they don’t necessarily have a key telling useful details. Sometimes a map shows what a place has or had, or what the mapmaker thought was once there. All too often, though not captioned as ‘fantasy’, they tell what someone wishes to encourage into existence in the future. (“Please invest!”)

On my tours I almost always refer to the Lower Haight neighborhood and Panhandle area of San Francisco as “San […]

Laguna Honda watershed

November 8th, 2010

Check out what interesting stuff I’ve sleuthed up for the “trek” I’m leading with Nature in the City on November 14th.

The tour will start in Golden Gate Park, because since the late 1800s, the Laguna Honda watershed has been a main source of water for irrigation of the Park.

The creation of the irrigation system happened at the time when the Park was being entirely re-configured. Development of Golden Gate Park had been firmly within the “rustic” aesthetic of William Hammond Hall. Then railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington gave funds to […]

Outside Lands Bike Cruise description

June 1st, 2010

How Golden Gate Park reflects the big changes in society

Once a field of dunes, Golden Gate Park was built on a swath of sand called the Outside Lands. An ambitious garden the size of New York’s Central Park replaced the dunes, partly to create a refuge from city stresses of the Industrial Age and partly to boost land investment profits.

The Park’s Music Concourse was the site of the first electric light displayed publicly in San Francisco, the first childrens’ playground in the world…and many peculiar statues. The Park also […]