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The First Streets of Glen Park

This article was originally published in the (Hi)Stories of Our Neighborhoods column in the Spring 2016 issue of the Glen Park News. It is republished here with permission.

The Glen Park Branch of the San Francisco Public Library – on Croton Avenue? The Glen Park School – between Fulton and Park, at Berkshire? Today, these street names sound nonsensical. Yet, they are the earliest iterations of some of the oldest named streets in Glen Park. How did they come to be?

The dairy history of Glen Park runs deep in our neighborhood legacy. As early as 1776, open-range cattle from Mission Dolores were grazing the hills of what would become Rancho San Miguel in 1846. After the Gold Rush, an influx of predominantly European dairymen established milch ranches – or, dairy farms – in the rural landscape of what was called the Outside Lands west and south of the City proper. By 1860, several milch ranches were operating along the banks of Islais Creek as it flowed from Glen Canyon eastward to San Francisco Bay.

One of these milch ranchers, George Ulshofer, was born in Bavarian Germany in 1820. The San Francisco Directory first lists Ulshofer as a milch rancher near the Presidio in 1858. By 1860, he is on 25 acres of land at “Rock House Hill, near the old San José Road, 5 miles from City Hall.” [Note: According to maps, a large rock over 20 feet tall sat near what is today’s Lyell and Bosworth. Ulshofer’s ranch was likely centered up the hill west of the rock, where Glen Park School sits today]. By 1863, Ulshofer was the milkman at Mission Dolores and, by 1864, was running a milch ranch at 17th and Eureka Streets.

Believing the ranch at Rock House Hill to be abandoned in 1869, the trustees of the Mission and Thirtieth Street Extension Homestead Union laid claim to the land. Ulshofer insisted he still owned the property but, after litigation in 1872, the transfer to the homestead union was complete. On April 22 of that year, the homestead map was filed with the City.

The original homestead map filed by the Mission and Thirtieth Street Extension Homestead Union on April 22, 1872. Courtesy of the San Francisco History Room, San Francisco Public Library, SFH 76, Homestead Maps, Volumes A & B, pg 37. Used with permission.

In this map, the borders of the street plan mirror the outline of Ulshofer’s original property lines. Berkshire Street (today’s Bosworth) was the backbone of our first named streets. Intersecting Berkshire (from east to west) were the avenues of Croton (Diamond), Fulton (Brompton), Park (Lippard), Clinton (Chilton), Hamilton (Hamerton), and Kingston (Burnside). By 1909, all the streets had been renamed.

George Ulshofer passed away in 1898 and is interred at San Francisco’s Columbarium. Along Chenery at Chilton, there is a slight bend in the street, the same bend mapped in Ulshofer’s original property line. When passing by, tip your hat to Ulshofer’s legacy!

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