In the 1860s, the citizens of San Francisco decided they needed a public park. Aiming
high, they wanted a facility to rival New York City’s famed Central Park. There
was one small hitch: the western half of San Francisco consisted of barren sand dunes
where nothing would grow.
Enter William Hammond Hall and his assistant, John McLaren. Within a few years, they
transformed a thousand acres of wasteland into a lush garden with over 150,000
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza kneel before their “creator,” Miguel de Cervantes. Sculpted
by Jo Mora, 1916.
A leisurely stroll on a foggy morning.
The Japanese Tea Garden (a portion of which is shown here), was originally created
for the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair.
The earliest version of The de Young Museum was also created for the 1894 Mid-Winter
Fair. It was eventually damaged by the 1906 earthquake, and replaced by a new, larger
version. When that building was damaged by the 1989 quake, it was replaced by a even
newer, even larger version.
In the early 2000s, the old Academy of Sciences was razed and replaced with an all
new, state-of-the-art facility.
Unlike the de Young Museum and the Academy, the Municipal Bandstand has hardly changed
at all over the years.
The Conservatory of Flowers.
The Bison Paddock.
The Dutch Windmill in Queen Wilhemina’s Tulip Garden.
The 1906 earthquake and fire left little standing on Nob Hill except this ornate
entryway, which was later moved to Golden Gate Park, and christened “Portals of the
Today, Golden Gate Park cuts a green swath between the Richmond District to the north,
and the Sunset District to the south. It stretches three and a half miles from the
Pacific Ocean to the middle of the city. A narrow ribbon of parkland, called the
Panhandle, extends another eight more blocks to the east, ending at Baker Street.
To invoke an old cliché, Golden Gate Park has something for everyone. Gardens, picnic
areas, soccer fields, tennis courts, fishing holes, horseback riding, hiking paths,
a world-class art museum and much more.
Oh, and by the way, Golden Gate Park is larger than Central Park, despite the fact
that New York City has six times the area of San Francisco!