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The Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project: Rediscovering Our Historic Legacies

This was the first article in an ongoing column, (Hi)Stories of Our Neighborhoods, in the Glen Park News dedicated to rediscovering the local history of Glen Park, Glen Canyon Park, Sunnyside, Fairmount Heights, and Diamond Heights. First published in the Glen Park News in the Fall 2015 issue, it is republished here with permission.

Recently in Glen Canyon, I shared with trails improvement volunteers that the site of today’s Glen Park Recreation Center is California Historical Landmark No. 1002, the site of the first dynamite factory in the United States and our personal link with the world’s most prestigious awards, the Nobel Prizes. Later that day, I was asked to give an impromptu presentation about the history of Glen Canyon to the volunteers at Silver Tree. Sharing that story in the shadows of the canyon was a special experience I won’t soon forget.

Yes, history is a form of storytelling. The histories of our neighborhoods – Glen Park, Glen Canyon Park, Sunnyside, Fairmount Tract, and Diamond Heights – are rich with intrigue, drama, excitement, humor, surprise, tragedy, and sadness. Rediscovering our forgotten histories can help us better understand our local heritage and how the character of our neighborhoods, created from an interplay of former residents, past events, and social and cultural influences, evolved to what we know today. Sadly, with the passage of time and generations of storytellers, our historic legacy has been slowly fading from view. Preserving it requires a proactive approach.

That’s why I started the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project (GPNHP): to rediscover our forgotten history, document our living history, and share our history with others. No matter your age, researching history can be a great adventure. We have a multitude of resources available to us today, and with the convenience of the Internet, many are easily accessible from the comforts of home. There’s nothing like the thrill of that Eureka! moment after making a new discovery!

View of Glen Park and the future site of Diamond Heights on Gold Mine Hill, ca. 1955.

Harry Truman once said, “The only thing new in the world is the history you don’t know.” The GPNHP is your platform for sharing the results of your personal historic research. Help us rediscover our heritage and tell us something “new!” Share your stories or images about a past event, or your family, residence, street, or neighborhood on our project’s website. Or, you can present your story at one of our bi-monthly meetings.

Join us! We look forward to rediscovering our region’s forgotten histories with you!

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