- Storyland in the San Francisco Zoo
Remembering the 1950s nursery-rhyme-inspired Storyland at the San Francisco Zoo. - by Woody LaBounty
- Birth of Westwood Park, Part 1
The creation of San Francisco's first residence park for the middle class. - by Woody LaBounty
- Surf Theatre Memories
The Surf Theatre brought a wave of art films to San Francisco's Sunset District. - by Woody LaBounty
- The Frozen Sea: 1536 La Playa's Hidden Past
Elaborate decorative reliefs from a roadhouse past are discovered in a plain apartment building. - by Woody LaBounty
- Golden Gate Park's Gjoa
A historic sloop that came through the Northwest Passage before going on display in Golden Gate Park. - by Woody LaBounty
- St. Emydius Catholic Church
San Francisco's Ingleside parish birthed by the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. - by Woody LaBounty
- Sutro Baths Segregation
An 1890s bid for civil rights at Sutro Baths - by Woody LaBounty
- The Original Balboa Theater, the Westwood
Ocean Avenue's first movie theater wasn't the El Rey. - by Woody LaBounty
The tale of a storied roadhouse at San Francisco's Ocean Beach - by Woody LaBounty
- Farms? In San Francisco?
Agricultural enterprises in western San Francisco in 1903. - by Woody LaBounty
by Woody LaBounty
In 2002, an old-timer bought me a beer in Fahey's bar and we got to talking about the older businesses along Taraval street. I asked how long he lived in the Parkside and he gave me a canny sideways squint.
"You grew up out here," he nodded, "otherwise you'd have called it the 'Sunset'. People forget that this is the Parkside."
The Parkside as a neighborhood started in July 1905 when a syndicate led by William Crocker announced they had quietly bought land from the estate of Adolph Sutro and others to create a new million-dollar development. The "park" of Parkside was not Golden Gate Park, but rather the stand of trees and plants around Laguna Puerca (now called Pine Lake, and often called "Mud Lake" by old-timers). The area's remoteness at the time is obvious in this quote from a San Francisco Chronicle article announcing the purchase:
"To most persons the land acquired by the Parkside Realty Company is a terra incognita. It is popularly supposed to consist in part or in whole of sand dunes, whereas as a matter of fact, it is composed of pasturage and wood..." 1
This was some optimistic marketing. Except for the eucalyptus and bunch grass, most of Parkside was sand dunes.
The first homes in the development were built in clumps of four, near today's Stern Grove: cute shingled cottages for "workingmen" that mostly survive today. 2 The first residents felt like pioneers in the wilderness:
"…those who had taken up homes in this beautiful section were compelled to walk to their places of abode from the street cars in utter darkness for there were no street lights to guide them, and scarcely any mark by which one street could be distinguished from another."
—H.H. Dobbin, Sr., 1910. 3
Like other neighborhoods south of Golden Gate Park and west of Twin Peaks, the Parkside is generally lumped into the Sunset District. But where "Sunset Heights," "Parkway Terrace," and "Oceanside" have almost completely faded away, the Parkside name still gets used, and many residents hasten to point out their autonomy from the Sunset.
The early residents of the Parkside—traditionally bounded by 15th Avenue on the east, 33rd Avenue on the west, Ortega on the north and Sloat Boulevard on the south—certainly had to fend for themselves. The Parkside of one hundred years ago was a land without streetlights or sidewalks, with more rabbits than human residents. It was a long walk in the dark across sand dunes to the streetcar line on Lincoln Way. Parksiders learned to band together and speak loudly to get changes.
In the first half-century of Parkside, residents formed the Parkside District Improvement Club and lobbied successfully for new streetcar and sewer lines, fire stations, parks, libraries, and schools. They held festivals, dinners, costume balls, and children's fairs to celebrate their community, and built one of San Francisco's strongest and most admired neighborhoods out of what was formerly an expanse of dune and scrub.
Fahey's bar turned into the "Dragon Lounge" on April 1, 2004, (some old-timers may have thought it was an April Fool's joke). The demographics of the population and the character of the neighborhood businesses keep changing but the priorities of Parkside residents—attractive homes, excellent schools, good public transportation and great parks—haven't changed in a century.
- 1201 Vicente street
1201 Vicente Street, former Pinelake Market
- 1945 Planning Bulletin
PDF of a San Francisco Planning Department bulletin, April 1945 (3.5 mb). Mentions Sunset and Parkside districts. - San Francisco Planning Department
- 20th & Taraval street
20th Avenue and Taraval Street - Then and Now
- 22nd & Taraval Market
22nd & Taraval Market
- 555 Taraval Street
The Former 16th Avenue Foods
- Abraham Lincoln High School
Built in 1940 as the high school serving the Sunset and Parkside districts. - by Lorri Ungaretti
- An Ode to Parkside
Mrs. F.W. Alsing waxes poetic in 1911.
- Banking in the Parkside
Amusing memories of working at a Parkside District branch bank in the late 1960s. - by Stephen E. Jordan
- Carl Larsen: The Gentle Dane
Sunset District pioneer and benefactor. - by Lorri Ungaretti
- Edgewood Center
Formerly the San Francisco Protestant Orphanage - by Woody LaBounty
- L-Taraval Extension, September 15, 1937
70 years ago the Parkside celebrated public transporation to the zoo.
- Mary Ada and Charles Williams
A wife preserves a husband's love of the Parkside district.
- Musical Culture in the 1930s
Advertisements for 1930s music teachers.
- Parkside Branch Library
Architects Appleton and Wolfard designed eight modern libraries in the 1950s and '60s for the San Francisco Public Library. - by Richard Brandi
- Parkside District Improvement Club Scrapbooks
WNP saves 25 years of Parkside History
- Parkside District Photos
Historical Photos of the Parkside
- Parkside Memories: Oh, those windows!
Before television, the front window provided news and entertainment. - by Mimi Couper Loupe
- Parkside Primary School
Parkside's first school, dedicated September 1909
- Parkside School
History of the (now demolished) John Reid-designed school - by Roy H. Jarl
- Parkside School May Day, 1938
Remembering the Parkside School May King and Queen. - by Mimi Couper Loupe
- Parkside Theater
Taraval Street at Nineteenth Avenue
- Pine Lake's Many Names
An SF West History Minute on the different names for Pine Lake. - SF West History Minute
- Remembering the 1957 Earthquake
Former St. Cecilia's student remember San Francisco's 1957 earthquake. - Compiled by Jo Anne Quinn
- San Francisco's Parkside District 1905-1957
A 60-page illustrated document on Parkside history, architecture, and development. - by Richard Brandi and Woody LaBounty
- St. Cecilia's Parish
History and memories of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church in the Parkside District. - by Jo Anne Quinn
- Streetwise - A Chip Off the Old Block
One block of 18th Avenue in the Parkside makes for decades-long connections. - by Frank Dunnigan
- Streetwise - The Taraval Trail
A walk down Taraval Street and Memory Lane - by Frank Dunnigan
- Streetwise: Parkside and the Graft Trials
Downtown politics helped build the Parkside - by Woody LaBounty
- The 1930s and Our Little Town Called Parkside
Parkside District memories from 1939-1941 - by Mimi Couper Loupe
- The Parkside and the Characters from Long Ago
Remembering three interesting men from the Parkside District of the 1930s and 1940s. - by Mimi Couper Loupe
- The Sunset Developers
Gellerts, Doelgers, and the Stoneson Brothers turned sand dunes into housing. - By Ken Zinns
- WNP Open House
People come from all over to meet in the Westen Neighborhoods - SF West History Minute
1. "New Residence Sites for South of Park", San Francisco Chronicle, July 29, 1905, pg. 16, col. 1.
2. "Parkside has Made Good", San Francisco Bulletin, June 6, 1908, pg. 11, col. 1.
3. H.H. Dobbin, Sr., "Parkside Improvement Club", Sunset Journal, January 28, 1910. This article clipping can be viewed in Parkside District Improvement Club scrapbooks, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.