A Centuary Though Devil’s Slide

From Railroad to Interstate Highway to Coastal Hiking Trail…   After 28 years of service for the Pacifica Fire Department, Cal Hinton had responded to over fifty incidents at Devils Slide. A majority of the calls were for cars off the roadway or climbers in jeopardy. Hinton responded to a call in 1955 where a couple had perished, a San Francisco Firefighter and his family. The memory stuck with Hal, and he was able to share it years later with the San Mateo Historical Association. The Devil’s Slide area of Highway 1 was a short part of a narrow passage connecting Pacifica to Montara. It had been a hazard since the beginning. The Association cites a San Francisco Newspaper article in 1912, which described the strip of road “As treacherous a piece of road as can be found. Death stalks in front and lurks behind in every foot of the […]

Continue Reading

The Serenity of Lake Merritt

America’s First Wildlife Preserve and Oakland’s Crown Jewel…   Lake Merritt is not a lake. It’s the first thing you should know about Oakland’s urban waterpark. It’s a tidal lagoon or estuary.  Formed roughly 12,000 years ago after the end of the last Ice Age, the lagoon has been reshaped over the last 150 years into a water park. Lake Merritt, originally known as Laguna Peralta, is fed by a canal that flows under the Nimitz Freeway, seeping saltwater between itself and the Bay. For many, Lake Merritt is an excellent way to spend a weekend afternoon. The calm waters of the lake and the dissident of migrating birds create a serene atmosphere amongst the urban sprawl. The depth of the Lake’s history and what it offers Oakland is worth discovering.   A Short History of America’s First Wildlife Preserve Lake Merritt was originally the home of Ohlone Indians that […]

Continue Reading

La Mujeres Muralistas and the Fantasy on 24th Street

Deep in the Mission District on 24th street between York and Bryant is a small children’s park nestled between two businesses–Five Markets Groceries and La Mexicana Bakery. The park includes small play areas for young children, a water fountain, seating spaces, and on the edifices of the neighboring structures are a series of colorful murals. One of these murals that decorates the surface of a three story building is called “Fantasy World for Children.” It  was painted by some very important women in the history of the Mission. A Miniature Park for 24th Street The park is one of many of its kind in San Francisco called “Mini Parks.” The history of these parks, all 44 of them, are a cornerstone of the city’s philanthropic and community spirit, exemplified by its plethora of community leaders and city administrators. The origins of the parks came out of the same time period […]

Continue Reading

Digging Up the Foundations of Sutro Tower

Sutro Tower from Glenbrook Avenue

The Origins and History of San Francisco’s TV Tower…   Sutro Tower has stood on top of Mount Sutro so long that it is hard remembering a time when it wasn’t there. I was born two months before its patriotic birthday on July 4th, 1973; and so, for me, it has nearly always resided over the city. It has been celebrated and panned by locals and visitors alike. Herb Caen always had the best insults for the tower, such as “”I keep waiting for it to stalk down the hill and attack the Golden Gate Bridge” or visualizing it to a “giant erector set that was stalking to march down and eat…” Fritz Leiber, in the opening of his novel Our Lady of Darkness called it “The TV tower — San Francisco’s Eiffel, you could call it — was broad-shouldered, slender-waisted, and long-legged like a beautiful and stylish woman — […]

Continue Reading