NBC Bay Area: Defunct San Francisco Reservoir to be Turned Into Park

Location of the old Russian Hill reservoirs. 1861 Wackenreuder map, courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection.
Location of the old Russian Hill reservoirs. 1861 Wackenreuder map, courtesy of the David Rumsey Map Collection.

Defunct San Francisco Reservoir to be Turned Into Park | NBC Bay Area.

San Francisco’s newest neighborhood park will be atop Russian Hill, located at the old San Francisco City Works Reservoir at Larkin and Francisco streets. The old San Francisco City Works operated a flume that delivered city water from Mountain Lake in the Presidio to two reservoirs atop Russian Hill–one at the location of the proposed park, currently labeled as open space, and the second which was located two blocks south at Lombard and Hyde streets, the George Sterling Memorial open space.

A coalition of neighborhood organizations has developed a website where you can find out more about Francisco Park and its history: http://www.franciscoreservoir.org/.

See the full version of the historical 1861 Wackenreuder map here.

History of San Francisco’s Parks, Plazas, & Public Squares

1908 Buena Vista Park & Duboce2The History of San Francisco’s Park & Plazas will be a series of articles exploring the history of San Francisco’s parks, plazas, and public squares.

Why San Francisco?

As a Bay Area resident from 2000-2008 I became very interested in the city of San Francisco as a historical subject. One of my research interests includes how changes in the built environment affect the role and use of public space in urban and rural settings. San Francisco has experienced dramatic changes in its built environment over the years making it a particularly interesting and fascinating historical subject. This series will explore the historical antecedents of the city’s parks and other public spaces, how they’ve been reimagined over the years, and how the city has repurposed land once considered “unusable,” such as cemeteries and watershed sloughs, into new areas for parks and public squares. The parks and public spaces that have been completely lost to history will also be addressed.

Research Methodology & Framework

The series will look critically at the history of the city’s parks, plazas, and public squares as told through historical maps, while also incorporating other scholarly Californiana resources such as books, historical newspapers, journal articles, and ephemera. I am also interested in applying this research framework to other urban and rural areas in California, including Humboldt County.

Index of Old San Francisco Street Names

Image from FoundSF.
Image from FoundSF.

You can now find an online index of San Francisco’s historical street names. The index contains a list of street names that have been altered over the years, as well as street names that have simply been lost due to changes in the city’s built environment. The reference tool is available to anyone online (scholars, amateur historians, etc.) and includes street names from modern San Francisco’s earliest days in the 1840s.

I’ve been keeping track of this data on my own for a while now and recently I decided to compile it together into a user-friendly, online research tool. The street name data is compiled mostly from the San Francisco Municipal Reports (1880/1881; 1894/1895) and Louis K. Loewenstein’s Streets of San Francisco: The Origins of Street and Place Names (San Francisco: Lexikos, 1984). Old street names from historical newspapers, like the Daily Alta California, are also included, though their historical provenance is often difficult to trace. I would like this to be a collaborative tool, so if anyone out there wants to contribute their knowledge and expertise regarding this topic, please feel free to do so. All I ask is that you provide references for your contributions.

The index is sortable (thanks Google Tables!) by current street name, old street name, date of change, or neighborhood. Eventually I’ll incorporate a mapping component that will provide a visual index to the compiled historical data. Embedded below is an example of the table. It’s sorted by “Current Street Name” by default, but you can click on the header in each field to sort by another element. Below the embedded table is a link to the full Old San Francisco Street Names index.


Interact with the full index here: goo.gl/CCFWZ.

EDIT, March 19, 2014: The title of the online index has been changed to San Francisco’s Historical Street Names.