Western Neighborhoods Project is dedicated to the history of San Francisco's Richmond, Sunset, OMI and West of Twin Peaks districts.   read more ...
 

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 350: The Presidio Theatre

The rehabilitated Presidio Theatre recently opened to the public for the first time in 25 years. What began as a WPA project is back in its new, state of the art glory.
Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast - Oct 25, 2019

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 350: The Presidio Theatre Outside Lands Podcast Episode 350: The Presidio Theatre

(above) Presidio Main Post, circa 1908

View west to soldiers marching past old Guardhouse (replaced by 1900 Guardhouse in different location, presently Presidio Visitor Center) and flagpole. View west. 10-inch mortar on grass at left.


Podcast Transcription

350 - The Presidio Theatre

Woody: [00:00:00] It's Outside Lands San Francisco, the podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I'm Woody LaBounty.

David: And I'm David Gallagher.

Nicole: And I'm Nicole Meldahl.

Woody: Nicole!

Nicole: Woody!

Woody: David!

David: Woody, Nicole!

Nicole: Hey fellas.

Woody: Last week I gave some very confusing preview clue, that I can't even remember!

David: It was like, two theaters, only one theater of two that have the same name, that there's one that's new and one that's…anyway.

Woody: Yeah, it's sort of like, “As I was on my way to Saint Ives, I met two theaters with the same name.” And that's what we're going to talk about, a very confusing subject which is the Presidio Theatre.

David: And, just, just put a kibosh on the confusing part. This is the Presidio Theater that's in the Presidio, not the Presidio Theater on [00:01:00] Chestnut Street.

Woody: Right.

Nicole: Yes.

David: That used to be a porn theater.

Nicole: That used to be a porn theater!?

Woody: Oh, no.

David: We’re not, this is not about that!

Woody: Here we go. You know, I was actually going to mention that, but I was going to use “adult films” as my term.

Nicole: Oh.

Woody: Because the first, quote, “adult” film I saw was in the Presidio Theater on Chestnut Street.

David: Not this one in the Presidio.

Woody: No!

David: That we're going to talk about.

Woody: Later on, after we're off the air, we'll explain to Nicole all the terrible, tawdry…

 David: I don't think we should do that.

Woody: No, we shouldn't?

David: No.

Woody: Not even off the air?

David: No.

Nicole: Well, maybe over drinks.

Woody: Okay.

David: That sounds even worse.

Woody: So, let's talk about the, what we're going to talk about. Which is a theater that is in the Presidio of San Francisco, not in the Marina District. Not open to the public, or not originally.

David: Right.

Woody: But a theater that was actually created for people, men and women service people, their families, on the post when it was an Army post.

David: Right, it's right there in the Main, in the Main [00:02:00] Post, right?

Woody: Yeah. So, the reason we're bringing this up now is because there's been some big news about that theater. Right, Nicole?

Nicole: Yeah. It just reopened to the public. In fact, they had a screening I really wanted to go to this weekend, but I missed. And it's the first time it's been open to the public in a quarter of a century.

Woody: Right. So, we're going to talk about the history of this theater, why it was closed, why it's reopened, and the future. All in one compact podcast.

David: Compact?

Woody: Yes.

Nicole: It's not starting out super compact.

Woody: Okay, you're right. We got into adult films pretty quick.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: All right, so let's talk about it. So, I don't even know if, like, you go to the main parade grounds, and you walk around there in the middle of the Presidio, you may not even see this theater. Even though it's right there. It's right next to the main parade grounds. Do you know where it is, David? Have you seen it?

David: Isn't it, kind of on the, I get my directions mixed up, but it's right across the road from the Officer's Club, isn't it? And to the, and to the [00:03:00] left of it. Is that it?

Woody: To the left?

Nicole: It's behind, it’s behind the bowling alley, right?

Woody: Right. So, it's…

David: Behind the bowling alley.

Woody: West of the bowling alley.

David: Okay!

Woody: And it's South of, kind of, the, that line of brick buildings that's on the West.

Nicole: Yeah, officer’s row.

Woody: Officer’s row.

Nicole: The Montgomery Street barracks, actually, is.

David: Why did we ask me where it was?

Woody: Because I thought you'd be clear, but we're, we're all screwing it up, so…

Nicole: You're way better with directions than I am.

Woody: But it looks like it, you know from the side, it just kind of looks like a stucco building, looks like any other building. But if you get around the front of it, which isn't easy because it's kind of on that narrow road there. It's got this beautiful colonnade and it's got the red tile, Mediterranean roof line.

David: Kind of Spanish-style building.

Woody: Absolutely.

Nicole: Like all the rest of the buildings on post.

Woody: Right, that were built in like the ‘30s?

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: Right. So, what did people do, Nicole? This opened in the ‘30s, what did people do on base for entertainment before it opened?

Nicole: Well, they [00:04:00] actually, so before there was a theater there, they would go to this, like, drafty gymnasium to see the, to see any movie that was played on post. And I'm pretty sure that was the YMCA building that is now the Walt Disney Family Museum's special exhibition hall.

Woody: Oh.

David: Oh, so that's in back of the, of officer's row.

Woody: Right, right.

Nicole: So that, I don't know if you've been in that building, oh gosh, now we're just getting in the weeds. But there's that second mezzanine level? Well, that used to be like a track that would be for the gymnasium.

Woody: People could run around and stuff.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: So, they basically set up folding chairs for the post personnel to watch movies and news reels. And it was not the ideal place for entertainment.

Nicole: No.

David: Right.

Woody: And again, we're talking about a time when the Presidio was an Army post. And you had tons of soldiers, service people, and their families. So, they wanted that sort of thing, right?

Nicole: More important, it was, during the inter-war period, so it was before World War II really got going and it was after World War I. So, the military was really looking for things for people on post [00:05:00] to do.

Woody: And not only that, this is also during the Depression when the public works, alphabet soup of WPA projects is happening.

David: Right.

Woody: And the Presidio Theater was actually built, partially, with Works Progress Administration funding. So, they were putting people to work to actually build the theater and it was going to serve all these servicemen too. So, David, if you were going to describe it, you know, like, what's this theater like? At least from the outside, we talked a little bit about the red tile roof and things, but what were they going for in 1938 when they started building it? It's like, what's it made of? David?

David: Yeah!

Woody: David did you fall asleep over there?

David: Yeah, I'm here. I'm here.

Woody: So, okay. Forget it! I'm just going to tell you.

David: Wait!

Woody: It's, it's like, it's like…

David: No, I could tell you, I can tell you.

Woody: Okay, I know you can. It's like you’re zoning out over there.

David: So it's, what's funny, you know, we call it the Presidio Theatre now, [00:06:00] but back then it was called the “War Department Theatre.”

Woody: Yeah, romantic name, right?

David: Yeah, that's really, yeah. Yes, I went with my girl to the War Department Theatre and saw all kinds of, all kinds of different kinds of things. Movies, you know, it, it had 891 seats. It had great acoustics and showed second run films by the Army Motion Picture Service, right? Which is…

Nicole: Showstoppers.

David: Yeah, everybody's very interested.

Woody: I…

David: But it also had, and this is interesting, because if you look on the website that they have for the site now, there's all kinds of famous, performers of the ‘40s. So, people like Jack Benny and Lucille Ball and Bob Hope, Marlene Dietrich…

Nicole: Yeah.

David: Performed live at the War Department Theatre.

Woody: Yah, she did. [slight German accent]

David: Wow!

Nicole: You could see photos of all of this at the Park Archives and Records Center in the Presidio. I processed a bunch where it's like, Bob Hope doing his Bob Hope thing. And what is it? What [00:07:00] was his sidekick named? Jerry Corona?

David: Colonna.

Nicole: Colonna! That's what, yeah, like him doing stuff.

Woody: Absolutely! [imitating Jerry Colonna]

David: Had a big mustache.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: You really think it's big!? [still imitating Jerry Colonna] You know, you can actually listen to the Jack Benny show, online. It's online, you can find it. I don't know if Ian, our sound engineer, can find it and interject it, but the whole show is online and you can download it.

David: From the War Department Theatre?

Woody: It's the show that they did in there. But I don't know what site it's on offhand, but it's like, there is the recording of it that's out there online that you can get the MP3. And they make jokes, you know, like these people always did when they're entertaining service people, it's about the food and the military and they throw some local color in, I think. Phil Silvers, the band leader, says “Sausa-Ma-Lito.” And that's just hilarious because he mispronounced Sausalito. So, but it's fun, you can kind of listen to that show online.

David: But not only these performers, they also, I see a record of a 1947 [00:08:00] fashion show.

Nicole: Ooh!

David: In which enlisted men were surveyed on the new dress uniform options.

Woody: Right.

David: It wasn't like that fashion show they had at Trad’r Sam.

Woody: Are we referring to your personal history again?

Nicole: Oh, boy.

David: They were going to walk through and look at uniforms and vote on that stuff.

Nicole: Keeping it compact.

David: Yeah, okay, yeah. They had Christmas pageants and all the way to the ‘70s they had educational conferences on the women's movement.

Nicole: Because when…

David: There's all kinds of things they use that theater for.

Woody: Right.

Nicole: When I think of the military in the ‘70s, I think of women's rights.

Woody: Well, it's interesting because they really did, they really were, I looked into this, they were actually looking into equal rights, the ERA, and all that. And it was all about the women's movement and they were trying to, like, work with the service women.

Nicole: Yes.

Woody: On post to, like, talk about it.

Nicole: I mean, yes, at like, a high level. But I, now we are really getting into the weeds again, but I came across this amazing series of documents at the Park Archives and Records Center [00:09:00] where it was a woman, who was trying to get her boss to stop smoking in the office and they, essentially, just like kept moving her to shittier, oh pardon my French, crappier and crappier, I don't know why that's better, but, to worse and worse, just worse and worse offices until they put her in a janitorial closet and it was like her formal complaint. She was like, “Come on! It's just, this is unacceptable.” Anywho, I don't know about that whole women's rights thing all the way down to the bottom of the military at this time.

Woody: Okay so…

Nicole: Compact.

Woody: Maybe, maybe Ian will edit that. I just want to say that, you know, when we're talking about gymnasiums, but they had Christmas pageants and all sorts of stuff. It was a gathering place for the families and the service people on base. And when it was made, the War Department was very proud and said it was the latest in theater construction and operation.

Nicole: Oooh.

David: Right.

Woody: But it was primarily made to be a movie theater. [00:10:00] So the proscenium, the stage…

David: The stage is small.

Woody: Shallow.

David: It's for…

Woody: Yeah.

David: For projection.

Woody: Right. Or maybe these radio shows, but you just have to stand up some people on the stage. So, it was not made for, for these large theatrical productions, it was mostly for local stuff on the post.

David: Yeah.

Woody: All right, so, something happens and it's actually announced in the Presidio Theater in, in the late ‘70s, early ‘80s, I can't remember when this…

Nicole: 1978.

Woody: ‘78, that's when it was first announced. There was this rumor that was going around that they were the, they were analyzing all the Army bases and posts across, and there was this rumor that they might even close the Presidio. Which was insane to people, right?

David: Right.

Woody: Because the Presidio was like this crown jewel of the Army. It was the most coveted post, apparently, in the entire Army. And there was this talk of, for saving money, that they might close it. And it was in the Presidio in 1978 that they [00:11:00] actually came forward and confirmed that this was on the table. It was post Commandant Colonel John D. Hamilton and he gathered all the department heads, and he told them that a Defense Department study was targeting closing it.

David: That's a big deal, I mean, at the time it was 202 years old.

Woody: And, this isn't a spoiler, it actually happened!

David: Oh!

Nicole: Oh!

Woody: They closed the post in 1989, Congress voted to close the Presidio and five years later the Army turned it over, the, all the land and the buildings to the National Park Service. So…

David: Right.

Woody: What does that mean for the Presidio Theatre, Nicole? I mean, how is the Park going to deal with this movie theater made for, you know, the people on base?

Nicole: Well, sadly, it meant that it closed in 1994. The last film that they showed was Maverick in August.

Woody: Oh, I saw that.

Nicole: Did you?

David: With James Garner?

Woody: Yeah. Didn't that have James Garner?

Nicole: I love James Garner.

Woody: I like the TV show, but that was [00:12:00] a terrible movie.

Nicole: Oh, wasn't?

David: Wait, James Garner was in the TV show, but not in the movie?

Nicole: No, he was in the movie.

Woody: He’s there too.

Nicole: Yeah. Jodie Foster was in it and that crazy guy.

David: Yes, compact.

Nicole: Oh, anyways.

Woody: Anyway, so that was the last thing shown. But then they, they would occasionally, I think when the Presidio took over, they had occasional things that happened in there.

Nicole: Yeah.

David: Yeah.

Woody: And so there, the last thing that happened, I think, was a musical, which was put on in 1995. And it was kind, it was, it was all about World War II and jingo and anyway, but that closed and then pretty much nothing happened.

David: National Park had a lot of stuff to do in the Presidio.

Woody: Right.

Nicole: Yeah.

David: And the theater was kind of low on the list.

Woody: Very low, nothing happened. It was basically closed for the next…

David: Closed like Al Capone's vault.

Woody: Exactly. It was really like that for, like, twenty-four years.

David: That's amazing.

Nicole: They had this, they had the original, like, photo or phone booth outside up until they started [00:13:00] renovations. And it just got creepier and creepier and I, I so was hoping that they would preserve it as like this…

Woody: The phone booth?

Nicole: Yeah. Because, you know, kids don't see those these days.

Woody: It was kind of like the zombie apocalypse that happened.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: That's what I used to feel like when I walked by there. Especially when the bowling alley was closed too.

David: Yeah.

Woody: I felt like this is zombie land, you know?

David: That's funny. Have you ever been in the, in a theater that's been closed for a while?

Woody: Yes, I have.

David: I remember I visited the Great Star Theater in Chinatown one time and it had been closed for like six years, and we went upstairs and there was rolls of film and stuff all on the floor and like coffee cups. It's like they just walked out and shut the door and left.

Woody: It's like that in all theaters. I've been in all of them, and they're all like that, I swear. You go to the Alexandria today, you're going to find somebody's coffee cup and cigarette butt upstairs. Anyway, so, the problems with the building, they couldn't, it's not like they could just open the doors.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: It was seismically vulnerable. It was suffering and needed renovation. But the [00:14:00] report, when they did the whole inventory of the whole Presidio, was very positive about the theater and its future, right? I mean, it basically said that the building possessed an extremely high degree of interior and exterior architectural integrity. And that with…

David: Right, that WPA architecture is something that we, we still revere today, all over.

Woody: Right. So, it's closed, what happens? What changed? Twenty-four years later, something had to change.

Nicole: A woman had to step in and get things done.

Woody: Oh, back to the women.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: Yeah, you're absolutely right. So, who was this woman?

Nicole: Her name was Margaret, better known as Peggy, Haas. And in 2014, she was looking for a new location for the Children's Theater Association of San Francisco. And she found this Presidio Theater and thought, “Yep, that's going to be the one.”

Woody: Pretty much. She kind of jumped into it. And the nice thing about her, the last name may not surprise you: Haas. You know, she's the daughter of Peter Haas, who was an executive at Levi Strauss for many years. And he left her a donor directed [00:15:00] fund, essentially.

David: Sure.

Woody: So, she used that to help start the rehabilitation. She worked with the Presidio Trust, all sorts of architecture and the design firms, acoustic engineers, lighters. And pretty soon it was, like, going to be a lot more than a simple movie theater on the post, but something bigger.

David: Right. I mean, it's, it's really a world-class performance space.

Woody: Right.

David: Right?

Woody: Yeah. And to make it that way, it took like $40 million, four years of planning and construction. And they had to, they had to do a little rejiggering. It's this, you know, it's a landmark setting. It's a landmark site, so you can't just go and do whatever you want. So, they had to go through a big preservation process here. But they needed to change the inside to make it usable for all sorts of different art forms that people practice today.

David: And ADA and all that.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: Absolutely.

David: And I mean they, so they not only, they refurbished the [00:16:00] theater section and the audience section and the stage, but they, they dug a basement.

Woody: Right. For, like, rehearsal rooms, and dressing rooms, and all that.

David: And there's a lounge down there. There's bathrooms and all kinds of stuff. But I mean, anytime you dig in the dirt at the Presidio…

Woody: Uh-oh.

David: It's a, it's a big deal.

Nicole: Whoa!

David: Right?

Woody: Yeah.

David: I mean it's got to have a whole archeological review.

Woody: Right.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: But the most amazing thing was what they did with the seating. Remember we said, you said, it was 891 seats. Now it's like 600. But why, why did they lose seats, Nicole? What is the big engineering marvel that took place?

Nicole: Well, they expanded the stage and the way they did that, this is the big engineering marvel, they had to take this historic plaster proscenium and it was moved 16 feet to create a deeper stage.

Woody: Right.

Nicole: And that, I mean, that's just, it's incredible that they did that.

Woody: It's insane. They basically had this giant, you know, proscenium arch.

David: Wall inside.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: And they moved it up.

David: Yeah.

Woody: You know it's, they lost some seats, but then they have a deeper [00:17:00] stage for dance and all sorts of performances. And, of course, everything is top notch, you know, new projection booths and fixtures. It's just an amazing thing. And, you know, Peggy Haas was part of it in a very detailed way.

David: Right.

Woody: She didn't just give money. She, like, was there and bringing cookies to the construction workers and…

Nicole: Super cute.

Woody: Being a consultant on how wide the seats should be for people's rear ends, you know?

Nicole: Very important!

Woody: Yeah. She was, like, involved in everything and so it just reopened in September. It has a full slate of programs, all sorts of different things, right?

David: Yeah.

Woody: So.

David: Yeah, the San Francisco Mime Troupe just did their 60th anniversary show there.

Woody: Right.

David: Which I didn't go to, but…

Woody: But they're going to have Latin jazz and movies, of course, flamenco performance, art and…

David: And movies, yeah, did you say “and movies” there?

Woody: And movies.

Nicole: Yeah, they…

Woody: Magicians.

Nicole: They just showed a film called Jane's Declaration, which was shot in the Presidio in 1915. And they gave [00:18:00] out a really cool handout that had locations with historic, well they were, you know, screenshots of the film.

David: Wow.

Woody: Neat.

Nicole: Very cool.

Woody: So, if you want to see the schedule, you can just go to Presidio Theatre, and that's theatre with a T-R-E on the end.

David: That's how we spell it.

Woody: That is. When, it's interesting, so I always heard that if it's a place, if it's the actual place, it's theatre with a T-R-E.

David: Oh, really?

Woody: But if you're talking about, “I work in the theater.”

David: Ah.

Woody: It's T-H…

David: E-R.

Woody: It's, yeah, E-R.

Nicole: The theater. [with British accent]

Woody: The theater. Anyway, so go to presidiotheatre.org for the schedule and the slate of upcoming event.

David: I'm excited to go and see something there.

Woody: Tell me what you think of the carpet.

David: Alright, I will.

Woody: Because that's the only thing I'm a little, you know, unsure about.

Nicole: It's very distracting.

Woody: It is. Now it's time for the Pearl of the Podcast.

Nicole: I'll take it.

Woody: Okay. What's the Pearl, Nicole?

Nicole: When rehabilitation work began, the set, the [00:19:00] set for the last event inside the short running World War II themed musical, The Big Broadcast was still on stage.

Woody: Isn't that crazy? Twenty-four years and they, basically, still had this set from the musical that was just sitting there.

David: And some coffee cups.

Woody: And maybe some coffee cups. It's just crazy. All right, now it's time for listener mail. David, how does somebody, like, reach us? How do they communicate? The voice through the void, how does it happen?

David: You send an email to podcast@outsidelands.org and Nicole and I will get it.

Woody: What!?

Nicole: Yeah!

Woody: What!?

David: Wait, no, we'll get it back to Woody too.

Woody: What you talking about, David? All right, did anybody write in?

David: Yes, they did. New member Nicolette said, “I spoke with your team at the History Expo.”

Woody: Whoa.

David: You mean History Days.

Woody: We have a team?

David: We have a team.

Nicole: Yes!

Woody: Nice.

David: Yeah, we have a team, we were wearing our special velour jackets.

Woody: Oh, nice.

David: And anyway, “she bought a cool [00:20:00] tote bag.” Which are still on sale at outsidelands.org.

Nicole: Plug!

David: “And have since become hooked on the podcast.” She's trying to listen from start to finish, and she's on number 64.

Woody: Oh.

David: I got an update from her.

Woody: Yeah?

David: And she's on number 109 now.

Nicole: Ooh!

Woody: That's a rough road.

David: Yeah, she's says, “Someday she'll learn about Nicole.”

Woody: Yeah.

Nicole: Yeah, we'll get there.

David: “Woody and David are charming, engaging storytellers.”

Woody: I can't argue.

David: “And I also enjoy their very special guests.”

Nicole: Good God!

David: Have we ever, and she asked a question, “Have we ever considered creating a self-guided walking tour or tours based on the podcasts?” We…

Woody: How do we do that?

David: Have thought of that.

Woody: We have? How do they work? What’s…

David: We don't know how they work, which is why we would never have done it.

Woody: Is she talking about an audio thing or like a pamphlet or?

David: I'm not sure.

Nicole: I mean, I think the real value of our walking tours is the fact that you get to hang out with us.

Woody: Because we're engaging storytellers.

Nicole: Yes. We're all those [00:21:00] things.

David: Yes.

Nicole: Maybe not so much on today's tangent filled podcast, but…

Woody: No, this is kind of a bad one.

David: I know I will say that I, Nicolette did become a member and she became a member after we sent out the, the member magazine. And so, she didn't get one. So, I said, she said, “I didn't get a magazine.” I said, “Come on over to the office and pick one up.” And then she wrote me a week later and she says, “I haven't made it over to the office. Can you just mail me one?” And so, I hate to mail stuff, so I rode my bike over there and I threw it on her porch. Like a, like a delivery boy.

Woody: Like a paper boy?

David: Yeah. Well, she had one of those security gates.

Woody: We can only hope that she doesn't get to podcast 350 because she's going to be sorely disappointed. Did any, Nicole, Nicole, are you here? Did anybody else write any mail, mail in, Nicole?

Nicole: Yeah, Kate said, “OMG! In 1949 to 1950, I went to the [00:22:00] Anderson Sister’s School of Dance and danced in the May Day pageants in Golden Gate Park. One thing I do remember is the girl behind me stepped on my right shoe and I had to finish circling the May poles with my shoe half off. As you can imagine, it was a traumatic event for a five-year-old butterfly. My friends and I also participated in the Clement Street Halloween Parade. We always had such a great time.”

David: Oh, we have pictures of the Clement Street Halloween Parade for a few years.

Nicole: Yeah, we do.

Woody: I want more.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: I think that was a big parade and they had a big stage and I think people have photos of that. So, I want to see more of those.

David: Yeah. And, apropos of the Anderson Sisters podcast, when we talked a little bit about the Open Theater on Clement Street, I was, I was dressed down by Ian Hadley, our sound engineer, when he reminded me, he actually informed me, I did not know this, that a longtime group of friends in the [00:23:00] National Theater of the Deranged, improv group, performed at the Open Theater for years. And it was a little bit before my time, so I didn't, I didn't know that, but, but I would've loved to have seen them there.

Woody: Well, we'll talk to Jack about it tomorrow.

David: Yeah.

Woody: We're going to see him then.

Nicole: Yeah.

Woody: Because now it's time for Events. So, I think this might be full.

Nicole: Yes.

Woody: The event tomorrow.

David: I think…

Woody: There's room?

David: There's room. Because you know why? Because it was a free ticket on Eventbrite.

Nicole: Yeah.

David: And I think people just click a button and say, “I'm coming,” and then don't show up.

Woody: All right, then tell them what they can do tomorrow.

David: Well, tomorrow you can come and see the Anderson Sisters retrospective show at the Presidio Golf, slash, Concordia Club on the Presidio. And so where is it? It's right at the top of Arguello. And you take a left. Stay, keep on the wall.

Nicole: Hard left.

David: And it's that old club that's on the left hand [00:24:00] side. The big white building.

Woody: You can park right there.

David: Not the new golf club, like where we had our gala. It's across the way from there.

Woody: Right. And Nicole, something else is coming up that I'm looking forward to.

Nicole: Me too, Woody.

Woody: So maybe you should tell people about it.

Nicole: Yeah! It's on November 7th, which is a Thursday evening, from 7:00 to 8:30 at our home for history at 1617 Balboa Street. We're serving up greetings from Camp Merritt. There, it's going to be me and Amanda Williford, the curator at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

David: She's been a guest on the podcast.

Nicole: She has, we love Amanda. I've worked with her for years, and we're going to be talking about Camp Merritt, which was a place where all of these Spanish-American War enlistees were training before shipping out to Cuba, or not to Cuba, to the Philippines.

Woody: The Philippines, yeah.

Nicole: The Philippines, yeah. And so, this was in the Richmond District, an area you probably hung out in. There were all these soldier men just doing their thing. So, in honor our Veteran's Day, we're going to be talking about the history of [00:25:00] that, showing some rarely seen archival photographs. I just heard that Amanda's going to bring artifacts…

Woody: Ooh! Artifacts!

Nicole: With her, which rarely leave the Park archives.

Woody: Wow.

Nicole: And we'll be talking about that as well as our partnership in digitizing their photos and putting them on OpenSFHistory. So, it's $20 for the general public, $10 for members. There will be light snacks and drinks provided. So come spend your Thursday evening with us.

David: This will sell out, because all our events sell out. So, if you're interested in this and it's a cool, it's a cool bit of Richmond District history.

Woody: Yeah.

David: You should buy your ticket for that right away.

Woody: Well, I like that members get a deal.

David: Yeah.

Woody: Because I'd like to encourage people to become a member of Western Neighborhoods Project.

David: How is it done?

Woody: Well, I was just going to get there. You go to outsidelands.org/membership?

David: Sure.

Woody: Okay. And, or you can just click the “Become a Member” button or link at the top of every page.

David: Yeah, that's a better way to do it.

Woody: Yeah, you like that better? And then you basically [00:26:00] sign up, give your information. You get our magazine, you get the discounts. All that stuff, it's totally worth it and supports, well, everything.

Nicole: This podcast that you listen to for free.

Woody: Supports everything.

Nicole: Yeah.

David: Right.

Woody: Everything in the world.

David: You know, we, one thing that we don't mention very often is our social media presence. We have…

Woody: We’re a presence?

Nicole: Oh yeah.

David: Yes, we’re a presence on social media. We have a, we have a Facebook page, we have a Twitter account, both for outsidelands and for OpenSFHistory.

Woody: What about Instagram?

David: We have an Instagram account.

Woody: Wow.

David: Outsidelandz.

Woody: Do we do TikTok?

David: We, you know, I just signed up for TikTok and I'm like, “Nah, I don't think we need to do this.”

Woody: All right, well, let me give you a preview for next week while everybody's signing up their membership now. We did part one, now we're going to do part two. That's it, see you then.

David: Okay!

Nicole: Goodbye.

Woody: Bye!

Ian: Outside Lands, San Francisco is recorded by [00:27:00] Ian Hadley, content creation and media production@ihadley.com.

Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook which is outsidelands with an “S,” at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a “Z,” and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a “Z.” And, check out our historic San Francisco images website at opensfhistory.org.

More Podcasts
  • Podcast # 227: Grove of Memory

    Golden Gate Park's redwood grove, with Doughboy statue, commemorating Native Sons who died in 20th Century wars. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jun 3, 2017)
  • Podcast # 218: Parkside Theater

    The history of a neighborhood theater, home of Tom Mix, Led Zeppelin, and a lot of toddlers. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 1, 2017)
All Podcasts...

The Outside Lands San Francisco podcast is also available as a subscription via iTunes and by RSS feed.

Save SF History