Alamo Square is a suburban neighborhood and park in San Francisco, California, Western Addendum. Its borders are not well established, but are commonly considered to be Webster Street in the east, Golden Gate Avenue in the north, Divisadero Street in the west, and Fell Street in the south.

Alamo Square Park, the neighborhood's focal point and namesake, consists of four city blocks on the top of a hill overlooking most of downtown San Francisco, with a variety of large and architecturally distinctive mansions along the perimeter, including the "Painted Ladies" a well-known postcard motif. The park borders Hayes Street to the south, Steiner Street to the east, Fulton Street to the north, and Scott Street to the west. Called after the lone cotton tree ('alamo' in Spanish), Alamo Hill, was a watering hole on a horseback trail from Mission Dolores to the Presidio in the 1800s. In 1856, Mayor James Van Ness created a park of 12.7 acres (5.1 hectares) surrounding the watering hole, creating "Alamo Square".

Alamo Square Park has a playground and tennis court, and is frequented by neighbors, visitors, and dog owners. On a clear day, the building of the Transamerica Pyramid and the tops of the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge can be seen from the middle of the park. The San Francisco City Hall can be seen directly on Fulton Street. The region is part of the City's Fifth Supervisory District and is served by a number of Muni bus lines, including 5, 21, 22 and 24. It was closed for $4.3 million in renovation for seven months in 2016.

 

Fame aside, the abundant lawns, flowerbeds and willows have made this park a well-loved playground for decades to come. Youngsters flock to the dual level playground, while the off-leash area is popular with dogs (and dog parents). Look for the rare Shoe Garden, where high heels of castoff and ski boots are redesigned as landscape art. Total tennis court, hiking trails and a picnic area.

 

History

Its checkered past is far from square. Alamo means a poplar tree in Spanish and, in the early 1800s, a lone cotton tree on Alamo Hill marked a watering hole along a horseback trail from Mission Dolores to the Presidio. Mayor James Van Ness set aside 12.7 acres of a hole in 1856, which he named Alamo Square. Approved as a public park by the state legislature the next year, Alamo Square and its Victorian homes began the journey to the Historic District, more than 100 years later.

 

In 1860, County Clerk Thomas Hayes extended his Market Street Railway to the southern boundary of the Square and gave the street its name. But the land itself was dangerously inaccessible, populated by "Dutch Charlie Duane," a well-known murderer and tenacious squatter. He was eventually ousted by the city in 1868, and in 1892 he began grading and landscaping the rocky hill, laying out curving roads, and building stairways and a masonry wall. Merchant businessmen, lawyers, doctors and teachers flocked in, hired architects and designed houses. Among them was Matthew Kavanagh's constantly repeated "Postcard Row" of Queen Anne's Homes, the "Painted Ladies." Apartment complexes started to emerge in the early 1920s and families relocated to the elite city. The violinist Yehudi Menuhin (who lived nearby as a child) recalls "a large, beautiful park on a hill whose lawns and thickets were familiar to my sister and myself."

 

In the '50s, the beautiful park had fallen into two decades of decline. Homeowners moved away and sold their Victorians to developers who divided them into multiple-bedroom suites, many of them illegal and non-standard. Some of them became halfway houses, drug recovery centres, or hippie boarding houses. Displaced people seeking accommodation flooded when a large portion of Western Addendum was demolished by the Redevelopment Agency. Safety in the park has become a serious problem.

This amazing kid-friendly park is just one of the many must-see sights you don’t want to miss in San Francisco, California:

  • Golden Gate Park

  • Mission Dolores Park

  • USS San Francisco Memorial

  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

  • Washington Square

  • Pioneer Park

  • Corona Heights Park

  • Lafayette Park  

 

All of these wonderful parks are located just a short distance from our location located at 100 Pine St #1250 in San Francisco! Stop by for a visit anytime!

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