Lafayette Park is a park of 11.49 acres (4.65 ha) in San Francisco, California, United States. Originally created in 1936, it is located in the Pacific Heights neighborhood between the streets of Washington, Sacramento, Gough and Laguna. Located on a hill, the park provides views of many areas, including the Marina district, Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Bay, Buena Vista Park and Twin Peaks. In addition to both open and tree-lined green areas, the park features two tennis courts, a children's playground, an outdoor dog area, a toilet and a picnic area.

With grassy lawns, lovely views of the city and the bay, tennis courts, playground, picnic tables and an outdoor dog play area, this hilly park is a source of entertainment and recreation for residents of San Francisco's Pacific Heights neighborhood.

 

This park is terrific if you want to get some fresh air! Four blocks long, a lot of paths encourage you to walk or run. There's plenty of open space to play with your kids, and plenty of trees to offer shade on a hot day. It's also a perfect place to have a picnic.  There is a small, fenced children's playground designed by Miller Company Landscape Architects.

Its expansive green slopes and majestic trees lie in the wars of its history. Revolutionary War battles waged by French general and statesman Marquis de Lafayette, after whom the park is named. Battles for its ownership, starting in 1864 and battling for 70 years. 'Lafayette Square and Who It Owns' asked the San Francisco Real Estate report in 1888. The Van Ness Ordinance reserved 11 acres and a half bounded by Sacramento, Gough, Washington and Laguna Streets as Lafayette Square in 1856, and the United States in 1864. Congress transmitted the title 'for public use' to the City of San Francisco.

 

Ratified by the State Legislature, Lafayette Park was established in 1867, but it was unclear whether it had been dedicated as a park. City Attorney Samuel Holladay said he had not. His land extended from Van Ness Avenue to the peak of Clay Street Hill, as Lafayette Park was known at the time. He surrounded six plots between Gough and Octavia Streets and designed a white Italianate mansion with a barn and a windmill on the hilltop. The mansion has been a political and literary salon for the likes of C.P. Huntington, Leland Stanford, Brete Harte, Mark Twain. The City sued Holladay, claiming the property had been reserved for public parks, and the fight raged for almost 20 years, across four suits in local courts and up to the U.S. The Supreme Court of 1896. Holladay has won every time.

 

Beyond litigation, the park made more news above and below the field. The first astronomical observatory on the West Coast was founded in 1879 by professor George Davidson of the University of California, still considered a pioneer in his profession. And in the earthquake of 1906, Lafayette Square became one of the refugee tent campsites—with a spectacular view of the fire and the devastation of the city below. When Holladay died in 1915, his land in Lafayette Park was of interest to the San Francisco financier and the Louis Lurie real estate mogul. He made a deal with Holladay's son to swap land for plots in Oakland and, in 1927, Lurie launched a campaign to extend Clay Street to the park for access to the apartments he intended to construct.

 

Defeated by the owners of the surrounding property and the City, Lurie sold the land to the City for $200,000 in 1935. Holladay's house was torn down the next year, and the City officially owned Lafayette Park in 1936. Almost. There is a stunning white six-story residence in the park, facing Gough Lane. It's the 1925 Gough St. Regis Apartments-the only privately owned building in the San Francisco public park. Some people say, in the world. Established between 1905 and 1908, Holladay left a legacy after the Supreme Court granted him the right to own land in the park. He sold this plot to Alexander Wilson, who designed the St.Regis as luxury condominium rentals.

 

In 1981, the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Commission hired landscaping architects Linda and David Gates to rebuild the children's playground. Subsequently, the park steeply coasted along as heavy everyday usage increased its wear and tear. Along with upkeep, Richard Weinberger, the venerable chief gardener of Lafayette Park for more than 20 years, built a picnic area, clearing the trash, the bushes and the undergrowth of a homeless camp.

 

But more hands should be used for the 11-plus acres. Enter Kim Barnes, Creative Park Defender and Realtor. She reconstructed the Friends of Lafayette Park and inspired a core group of residents and local businesses to make a difference. Her 30-year-old volunteer corps on Saturday cleared vast areas of undergrowth and trash and installed new plants. 'The consistent turnout has struck the local police, Rec and Park staff, and the volunteers themselves,' she says. After informing people living around the park about their concerns—from capital improvements to curbing appeals—FOLP has set up an individual donation network to help finance them. And Kim is on an all-out marketing drive for the Lafayette Park-NPC Gala on October 11th of 2020. 'It is now more important than ever for people to take care of their own backyards,' Kim says.

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

  • Alamo Square Park

  • Mission Dolores Park

  • USS San Francisco Memorial

  • San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park

  • Washington Square

  • Pioneer Park

  • Corona Heights 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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