Archive for March, 2009

Joel Pomerantz (3/26/09)

Joel gave a great talk on the history of transportation in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and the panhandle, exploring how horses, bikes, cars, trains, buses, freeways (plus an odd assortment of other things), as well as personalities and politics have shaped Golden Gate Park, our of what was once sand dunes, into our experience of the park today.

It was also the site of a few firsts: the first parachute jump (from a balloon), the world’s first driver’s license (you had to have one in order to drive in the park), and the world’s first children’s playground.

My favorite pictures were of a grand Mid Winter Fair in 1894. The grand buildings built for a passing events still boggle my mind. There was also the speedway built for racing horses, and the area where people gathered to show off their horses and carriages, people gathering to watch on chicken hill.

Joel urged the audience to become amateur historians themselves — much of this information is both out there in the world (the remains of things past) and in archives around the city. 

  • joelpomerantz.com – Joel’s personal site.
  • foundsf – a Wiki where you can explore and add to our knowledge of the history of San Francisco.

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SFNHS in 2009

The San Francisco Natural History series has been going for a long time. It is a big honor to step into the shoes of those who have made the series happen over the years: Ruth Gravanis and Margaret Goodale. 

The series will now be shepherded along by myself (Adrian Cotter), Philip Gerrie, and Dom Mosur.

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