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Golden Gate Park, 1906. 1906 Earthquake and Fire, refugee children posing in Camp 5, near Children's Playground. OpenSFHistory / wnp15.1083

Originally known as the Outside Lands, the Golden Gate Park was designed by Superintendent William Hammond Hall in 1870. For the first seven years, The Spring Valley Water Company supplied the park’s water, but the high cost led the Park Commission In 1888 to innovatively drill the first of two wells pumped by windmills near the Pacific Ocean. Around the same time, several streetcar lines allowed easy access to the park, making it popular for recreation, inviting both pedestrians and equestrians.

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Children's Playground, Golden Gate Park, circa 1894. OpenSFHistory / wnp37.01580

The famous park spans from the edge of Haight Ashbury neighborhood all the way to the Pacific Ocean, encompassing 1,017 acres. The park’s first formal structure, The Conservatory of Flowers, opened in 1897. The glass structure houses mostly tropical plants within its 12,000 square feet area. Sharon Quarters for Children, today named Koret Playground, was built in 1888 and was the first public playground in the U.S. The nation’s innovative first dedicated space for youth went through a major renovation in 2007.

Following the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, the park became a sanctuary for San Francisco residents who had lost their homes. Around 200,000 people were housed in temporary encampments.

In 2005 and 2008, the DeYoung Museum and the California Academy of Sciences respectively, reopened after being completely rebuilt by global architects to further enrich the balance between the urban and the natural worlds.

references/further reading

  1. https://sfrecpark.org/1119/History-of-Golden-Gate-Park

  2. https://www.foundsf.org/index.php?title=Golden_Gate_Park_History

  3. https://sfrecpark.org/Facilities/Facility/Details/Koret-Childrens-Quarter-and-Carousel-414

  4. https://deyoung.famsf.org/about/history-de-young-museum

  5. https://www.calacademy.org/an-architects-vision

Learn more

Below: Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park, circa 1899. OpenSFHistory / wnp37.00073

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