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News Archive, 2018-2019


Fledgling Red-tailed Hawks Extend Our Enjoyment of Nesting Activities in Glen Canyon
By Evelyn Rose
June 2, 2019


In March of this year we had the opportunity to enjoy originally three, then only two Great Horned Owls in the "Owl Tree" in Glen Canyon. While the canyon itself is considered a birding hotspot, there always seems to be some feelings of loss when the owlets grow up and leave the nest. For the last couple of weeks however, the thrill is back as two, possibly three Red-tailed Hawk fledgling have been nesting in a tall eucalyptus tree on the west side of Glen Canyon. 

According to the Audubon Guide to North American Birds, Red-tailed Hawk are widespread and common across the United States, with a large increase in the population since the 1960s. While they usually can nest in nearly any type of terrain, they have recently also adapted to nesting in cities. Throughout the year, we can view Red-tailed Hawks soaring above Glen Canyon as they hunt for prey in the rugged landscape below. Typical prey include voles, field mice, rats, squirrels, birds up to the size of a pheasant, and snakes, nearly all of which reside in the canyon.

Nests are constructed by both parents using sticks to shape a large bowl lined with grasses and leafy materials. Both parents also incubate the eggs. Eggs typically hatch about one month after being laid, and the female remains with the young most of the time, while the male continues hunting. When the male returns the catch to the nest, the female will tear it into small pieces for easy ingestion. The youngsters will leave the nest 6 to 7 weeks after hatching, but will remain close by for another few weeks as they gain strength and confidence in their new independence.

Recently, both parents were observed bringing capture prey to the nest and tore it to pieces. Unfortunately, no adequate camera was in hand. The following day, it seemed at times three baby hawks were in the nest but foliage made this difficult to see, even with a magnified view. Both parents were seen soaring overhead but did not seem to have much luck catching prey. 

The images below are a bit fuzzy but detail can still be seen. The nest can best be viewed from the top of the stairs along Coyote Crags Trail just north of Sussex stairs or from Berkeley Way, and from both locations looking west directly across the canyon. These youngsters are spreading and flapping their wings frequently, so their departure may be soon.

Dolores Huerta Inspires Young and Old at Fairmount School Renaming Event
By Evelyn Rose
May 17, 2019


Friday, May 17, 2019, was a spectacularly warm, sun-filled Spring day that was sandwiched between the arrival of two rainy, late-season, Arctic cold fronts. It was also a day of special celebration as Ms. Dolores Huerta delivered motivational words of self-empowerment that further brightened the day for students, teachers, and special guests at a ceremony to rename Fairmount Elementary School to Dolores Huerta Elementary School

As cofounder of the United Farm Workers Union with César Chávez, Dolores Huerta to this day continues to be a tireless advocate for immigrants, workers, children, gender equality, and the environment. She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for her work by President Barack Obama in 2012. She is also the recipient of the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights, and was the first Latina inductee of the National Women's Hall of Fame, in addition to many other honors.

To meet Ms. Huerta personally, she is a petite, warm-hearted, soft-spoken woman who could be anyone's grandmother. However, after giving the 89-year-old cultural icon a microphone and a podium, her voice becomes loud, strong, and clear. Speaking without written notes, Ms. Huerta spoke several sentences in English, translated those words to Spanish, then continued in English with Spanish translation repeatedly, and did so for over 15 minutes. She encouraged the students to recognize and respect the differences among all of us. Yet despite those differences, we as a people are one and that oneness gives we, the people, power. She encouraged students to speak loud enough so that, "the haters can hear you!" "We are the people!" "Yes, we can!" "¡Sí, se puede!"  Those words of strength and empowerment will likely be carried by both children and adults for the rest of their lives. A KTVU news report of the event helps portray the spirit of the day.

The impetus for the name change is that for at least 20 years, Fairmount Elementary School has been serving as a pre-kindergarten through 5th grade Spanish dual immersion program for an ethnically diverse student body of 400 children from across San Francisco. Under the increasingly unsettling partisanship being experienced in our nation, many of these students are facing hate and discrimination daily, with some also being fearful of the possibility of deportation and family separation, and despite San Francisco being a Sanctuary City. That is why in August 2018, the San Francisco Unified School District approved the recommendation put forward by Fairmount school principle Luis Rodriguez and many of the students' parents to change the name of Fairmount Elementary to one that could help provide strength and inspiration to the young members of the student body.

However, the approval for the name change had not been met with unanimous agreement among local residents. Fairmount School was first established in 1864 during the American Civil War and has served as a neighborhood icon at the corner of Chenery and Randall Streets for over 150 years. Yet in recent years, the name recognition of the Fairmount District has been in decline as neighborhood associations and realtors have begun referring to the oldest neighborhood in our district as part of its neighbor, Glen Park, as demonstrated in the KTVU news report.


Other than the street name of Fairmount in the district, Fairmount School was the last highly visible, tangible connection to the neighborhoods' legacy. Yet, while Ms. Huerta has had no physical connection to Fairmount Heights, both she and the neighborhood have several important shared legacies, including in agriculture, immigration, civil rights, union activities, housing and resettlement, and environmentalism, perhaps making the name change for some more palatable. GPNHP Project Director Evelyn Rose spoke about these histories at the event, and a plaque will soon be placed near the front entrance of the school to commemorate the rich histories of the Fairmount School and the Fairmount district.

The celebration was attended by all of the student body, their parents, and teachers of Dolores Huerta Elementary, as well as SFUSD Superintendant Dr. Vincent Matthews, SFUSD Board of Education Vice President and former Supervisor Mark Sanchez, State Senator and former District 8 Supervisor Scott Weiner, and former President of the Board of Supervisors and California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, among other notables. Certainly, a memorable day for everyone.

GNHP in News
GPNHP Featured by SF Chronicle Two Times in One Week
By Evelyn Rose
May 12, 2019


Having the name of the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project appear in the news is exciting enough - the GPNHP was last featured in 2018 in the Chronicle's SF Gate website for a profile of Glen Park in the Neighborhood Then and Now. Now in just one week the GPNHP has been highlighted twice, which appears to be bringing new attention to our organization.


On Wednesday May 1st, San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu held a media event to announce the release to the public of 95,000 images of houses, shops, and other structures dating back to the 1940s and are now available through the San Francisco History Center at the San Francisco Public Library. Reporters from the San Francisco Chronicle, SF Weekly, KCBS, KGO Channel 7, and other media outlets were present to hear from Assessor Chu, City Librarian Michael Lambert, City Archivist Susan Goldstein, and others involved with the huge project. Representing Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project, Director Evelyn Rose and Assistant Director Amy O'Hair were invited to participate in the media event, as were Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher from the Western Neighborhoods Project.


Both Evelyn and Amy spoke briefly, highlighting the opportunities these images offer for documenting many of the blocks in our area, bringing to light the original appearance of houses, perhaps providing clues to the origins of relocated buildings (as the city records documenting these moves no longer exist) and capturing some of the life on the street in both residential and commercial areas. The San Francisco Chronicle not only posted the article on the Datebook page at SF Gate, but also placed the article on the front page of the Chronicle on Friday, May 3.

Then, on Friday, May 11, the Chronicle posted an article in SF Gate about dirt roads still in existence in this City of 825,000. According to DataSF, San Francisco has nearly 1,300 miles of streets (including Treasure Island, Yerba Buena Island, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and streets maintained by CalTrans). Of those, a mere 12 miles are privately maintained, and many of these roadways are carriageways, remnants of a time long past when much of the city was more rural than urbanized. Very few of these carriageways remain, and Glen Park is fortunate to have three. The article links to our GPNHP website article The Bucolic Byways of Glen Park posted three years ago, and that also appeared in the Glen Park News. These articles are important milestones for the GPNHP, particularly as we work to bring attention to the important histories of our district. 

New Brood of Glen Canyon's Great Horned Owls Fly the Coop.
By Evelyn Rose
April 21, 2019


What better day than Earth Day to report the palpable excitement that started rippling through Glen Canyon in the middle of March: The Great Horned Owls Were Back! Birdwatchers of all ages could be seen on the canyon floor gathered around the "Owl Tree" - a favored nesting spot situated in a eucalyptus of significant stature - or lined up with cameras and spotting scopes higher up on Coyote Crags Trail. It had been three years since these magnificent birds of prey had last been seen in Glen Canyon. Since 2016, following the second tragic death in four years of an adult owl due to ingestion of prey poisoned with rodenticide, the nest had remained vacant. These losses highlight the critical importance of managing rodents with non-poison control methods.

In this year's brood, three fuzzy fledglings could be seen with an adult watching over them. As the weeks went by, one fledgling seemed to be growing less vigorously than the other two, and would often sit apart from the others on the opposite side of the nest. By early April, only two fledglings were viewable. As time went by, the owlets gradually lost their fuzz, developed more feathers, and the adult was rarely seen.

The two owlets were still nesting on Saturday, April 6 but by the following day, only one owlet remained. The image below, taken on April 7 at 10:30 am, may be one of the last taken of this brood while still nesting. Upon our return to the Owl Tree only 45 minutes later, the nest was empty. According to reports, the owlets are residing in the eucalyptus grove on the west side of the canyon to continue their predatory education. The Great Horned Owls are just one example of the important natural histories that remain just steps away within our urban setting.


GPNHP Enjoys the Perfect Ending to a Successful Year!
By Evelyn Rose
December 28, 2018

On a day of perfect early Winter weather for San Francisco, members and supporters of the GPNHP gathered at the Sunnyside Conservatory for the Third Annual Holiday Meeting & Social. The setting could not have been more delightful. The octagonal City Landmark was constructed entirely of redwood in 1898 by William Augustus Merralls (read more about inventor and entrepreneur W. A. Merralls at the Sunnyside History Project). Encased by glass as much as wood and surrounded by a century-old botanical garden, the scene added its own aura of the Holiday spirit. It was just the right place to celebrate the close of a very successful year for the GPNHP, and the perfect opportunity to thank our members and supporters for helping make it happen!



Attendees enjoyed two presentations, the first by Project Director Evelyn Rose entitled, "Fireworks, May Days, Balls, & Tableaux: Past Festivals of Glen Park," highlighting some of the festivities enjoyed by Glen Park residents over a century ago. This was a time when City-sponsored firework displays were not uncommon at the public resort known as Glen Park and the Mission Zoo between 1898 and 1901, the site of today's Glen Canyon Park Recreation Area. After 1901, the Crocker Estate made the grounds a private, reservation-only resort called Crocker Gardens, and after 1910, renamed the site again as Glen Park. During the private Crocker years, many fraternal clubs and social organizations, including those clubs comprised of first-generation Americans (predominantly Irish and German, but also Hispanic, Danish, and others) working to retain and promote their cultural heritage, would reserve the grounds for the day. These major outings included vaudeville entertainment, sporting events, dancing, and promenades about the grounds. Other types of festivals frequently held at Glen Park were called May Days. Originally a pagan festival that celebrated the end of Winter, it had been reinvented as a more socially appropriate children's event with singing and dancing during the Victorian years. The Maypole Dance was a highlight of May Days. According to a survey map of Glen Park and the Mission Zoo from September 1898, a maypole was located on the northeastern slope of Martha Hill (since then removed by quarry work) near the children's playground. In addition, balls and dances were frequently held in the Glen Park Pavilion, otherwise known as the Barn, or the Red Barn, near the location of today's Glen Canyon Park Recreation Center. Some were described in vintage newspapers as rather lavish affairs. Lastly, tableaux were a favorite event of the women's clubs in Glen Park and elsewhereacross the United States. These portrayals of "living art" had been popular from just after the Civil War through the 1920s. Participants went through much effort to stage a tableau production and design the costumes, with the end result of "striking a pose" depicting a famous event from history, literature, or religion for only about 30 seconds. 

The next presentation was by Amy O'Hair: "The Quest for a Sunnyside Hall: 125 Years of Community Gathering and Activism." In an extremely informative work, Amy described the generations of community halls that have been available in Sunnyside since its founding in 1891. Surprisingly, though many are heavily remodeled, nearly all of the structures described still exist today. It all began with the Sunnyside Improvement Club, founded by local residents in 1896. Their meeting place was Dasse's Hall, originally on Sunnyside Avenue that was later renamed Monterey Blvd. Next came William's Hall with a saloon on Monterey. Towards the end of the 1890s, the number of Sunnyside improvement clubs continued to grow. One of the meeting places to choose from was Haack's Hall (also a saloon), today the site of Glen Park Cleaners at Chenery and Diamond Streets. In the days before the earthquake of 1906 when the village we know today as Glen Park consisted of a smattering of buildings, the area was sometimes referred to as part of Sunnyside. In 1899, the first hall dedicated to an improvement club, Sunnyside Hall, was built on a lot owned by Lizzie Merralls, the wife of W. A. Merralls (read more about their relationship at the Sunnyside History Project). Then in the post-earthquake years, the Sunnyside Improvement Club met at various locations. By the mid-1920s, activist Sunnyside moms succeeded in getting a Sunnyside School constructed, and that was soon followed by a Sunnyside Community Hall. By the mid- to late-20th century, improvement associations, including the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association that was founded in 1974, have been meeting at Sunnyside School, St. Finn Barr Catholic Church, and the Ingleside Police Station Community Room. Each surviving structure represents a robust legacy of community involvement in Sunnyside for the past 130 years!

Next, the GPNHP hosted the first History Show & Tell event. Guests could bring a favorite item that had a special meaning for them, whether related to regional history or personal family story. Several presentations were given, ranging from vintage hats to a Great Northern Railway conductor's leather billy club, a vintage map of San Francisco (a bargain purchase reproduced as a sheet of wrapping paper!) to a collection of stereoview images of early San Francisco, to a favorite picture of a member's father from the early 20th century along with his personal story, and other engaging stories. It was a unique and enlightening segment of the program, one the GPNHP will likely repeat at a future meeting.

We were next delighted to welcome Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert, Countess of Landsfeld, otherwise known as Lola Montez to our gathering! A native of Ireland who became a Spanish dancer, Countess Montez was quite the sensation as a performer in the early days of San Francisco. Later while living in Grass Valley, she became a mentor and teacher of the performing arts to no less than the famous Lotta Crabtree, for whom a fountain is named on Market at Kearny and 3rd Streets. Especially reincarnated for this event, the Countess sang a beautiful Christmas song and told some wonderful stories of her early days! The Countess (aka Rick Shelton of San Francisco) leads tours through some of her old hauntings in the City by the Bay. You can learn more at Drag Me Along Tours.

We were also entertained by members of the Last Minute Quartet, led by Glen Park resident Valerie Fachman and including Kelly Fitzgerald, Ida Fox, and Madeleine Muzio. You'll remember Val from our first 2 Holiday gatherings: two years ago, she performed a dramatic monologue of Lizzie "Temperance" Merralls, and last year she starred as Hannah Pinther, co-leader of the first march for suffrage in the United States. The Quartet sang both holiday and popular tunes, and everyone enjoyed their performance!

And what would a party be without some delectable dishes! Glen Park's Pebble's Cafe at Diamond and Kern Streets was happily welcomed by guests, who provided some absolutely delicious savory and sweet treats featuring a touch of Brazil. We thank the Waqued Family - Marcello, Claudio, Heloisa, and Sergio - for the wonderful spread! And, for the third year in a row, we have been excited to receive some of the best cheeses the State of California has to offer, provided by the California Artisan Cheese Guild. We thank Anthea Stolz, Executive Director of the Guild, for gathering up yet another round of the most exquisite cheeses!

The GPNHP Third Holiday Meeting & Social was a very special event and we thank everyone who both attended, and those who supported the GPNHP throughout the year. It was a great way to kick off the Holiday Season as we look forward to another successful year for the GPNHP in 2019!