We depend on individual donations to survive. Please Donate any amount to help keep this non-profit effort going.

Golden Gate Park is celebrating its 150th birthday this year, and Western Neighborhoods Project is honoring this milestone in a variety of ways as an official Community Partner of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department.

Before we began sheltering in place in early March, we were preparing to unveil our newest exhibition, "Monumental Golden Gate Park," at our Home for History at 1617 Balboa Street. Co-curated by the park's Historian in Residence, Christopher Pollock, this exhibition will feature incredible relics from the past not seen by the public in decades; one special piece has been hidden from view for over 60 years! It will also include gorgeous watercolors and illustrations by Richmond District resident Patrick Mahar.

Make no mistake about it: this park is absolutely monumental. Carved out of sand dunes in the Outside Lands, legislation officially created Golden Gate Park on April 4, 1870. Since that time it has been an inspiration to and also a reflection of San Francisco. Statues, structures, recreation areas, and memorial spaces show us what was important to people of the past. They speak to the simultaneous devotion of immigrant communities to their birth countries and their adopted home; to times of peril like wars and health crises; to great men and women such as presidents, generals, and civic-minded San Franciscans; and to an appreciation of natural resources, art, science, and culture.

We'll get that exhibition up and running soon, but, in the meantime, you can explore that theme remotely from the comfort of your own home. Here you'll find articles, videos, podcasts, and historic photographs that will keep you entertained for hours.

Please enjoy this selection, explore the rest of our site, and consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the work (if you can).

- Nicole Meldahl, Executive Director, Western Neighborhoods Project

Golden Gate Park 150 Years

Western Neighborhoods Project is a proud partner with San Francisco Recreation and Parks and San Francisco Parks Alliance in the Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary Celebration throughout 2020.

All Podcasts

  • Podcast # 1: Kezar Stadium

    (Listen to Episode #224 instead!) Woody and David discuss the old Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 4, 2013)
  • Podcast # 20: Beach Chalet

    Talking about the old and new Beach Chalet on the western edge of Golden Gate Park at Ocean Beach. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 24, 2013)
  • Podcast # 21: Park Bums

    Golden Gate Park's pickup baseball legends, the Park Bums, and other pickup ball-playing stories and locales. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 30, 2013)
  • Podcast # 35: The Gjoa

    The story of the Gjoa, a fishing sloop that traversed the Northwest Passage and ended up in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park from 1909 to 1972. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Sep 6, 2013)
  • Podcast # 40: Speedway Meadow and Polo Fields

    The story of Golden Gate Park's Speedway Meadow, the Speed Road, and the Polo Fields. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Oct 12, 2013)
  • Podcast # 48: Golden Gate Park Windmills

    Giant windmills on the western edge of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park at Ocean Beach. What's up with that? Plus, we finally answer our fan mail. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Dec 7, 2013)
  • Podcast # 52: The 1894 Midwinter Fair

    The 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park remade not only the park, but the Richmond and Sunset districts. Midway monkeys are discussed. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 4, 2014)
  • Podcast # 53: Thomas Sweeny and his Observatory

    Thomas Underhill Sweeny, Sunset District pioneer, "demented hermit," and benefactor of a now-vanished observatory on Strawberry Hill, in Stow Lake, in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco... (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 10, 2014)
  • Podcast # 66: Stow Lake

    The biggest lake in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park and William W. Stow, the guy it's named after. Pass us a brick of pink popcorn! (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 11, 2014)
  • Podcast # 78: Top Five Statues of Golden Gate Park

    David and Woody offer their top five favorite statues of San Francisco's Golden Gate Park: a president, a novelist, a mother, a poet, and a gardener. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jul 5, 2014)
  • Podcast # 90: Park and Ocean Railroad

    Beginning in 1883, steam trains rumbled down Lincoln Way, cut through Golden Gate Park, and delivered hundreds of Sunday visitors to Ocean Beach. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Sep 27, 2014)
  • Podcast # 91: Bison Paddock

    San Francisco's bison herd (they are not buffalo) have been a fixture in Golden Gate Park since the 1890s. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Oct 4, 2014)
  • Podcast # 101: Conservatory of Flowers

    City, State, and National Historic landmark, the Conservatory of Flowers has been one of Golden Gate Park's most popular attractions since the 1870s. Plus, Woody makes a confession. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Dec 11, 2014)
  • Podcast # 105: The Casino

    A casino in Golden Gate Park? Of a sort, before the 1880s libations parlor was moved to Fulton Street to become a well-known roadhouse. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 17, 2015)
  • Podcast # 108: Golden Gate Park

    Established in 1870, Golden Gate Park is the jewel of San Francisco. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Feb 5, 2015)
  • Podcast # 124: Golden Gate Park Carousel

    Inside a Roman temple in Golden Gate Park you can still ride a goat, a dragon, or a giraffe in circles. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 30, 2015)
  • Podcast # 131: Portals of the Past

    The story of the famous classical columns at Lloyd Lake in Golden Gate Park, and where they came from. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jul 18, 2015)
  • Podcast # 155: Golden Gate Park Golf Course

    The hidden 9-hole pitch and putt, and mail from 13 listeners. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 9, 2016)
  • Podcast # 168: de Young Museum

    With origins from the 1894 Midwinter Fair in Golden Gate Park, the evolution of San Francisco's fine arts museum (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 9, 2016)
  • Podcast # 179: Golden Gate Park Panhandle

    The history of and changes to the groomed strip leading into Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jul 2, 2016)
  • Podcast # 185: Abbey Stones of Golden Gate Park

    The story of a medieval Spanish monastery's journey in pieces to San Francisco. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Aug 13, 2016)
  • Podcast # 191: San Francisco Lawn Bowling Club

    Since 1901, players in white have trod the bowling greens in Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Sep 24, 2016)
  • Podcast # 193: Love Pageant Rally

    Nicole Meldahl tells the story of the Love Pageant Rally, which happened 50 years ago this week. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Oct 9, 2016)
  • Podcast # 202: Golden Gate Park Lifesaving Station

    The story of the surfmen who did service at Ocean Beach from 1878 to 1951. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Dec 10, 2016)
  • Podcast # 206: Geary Park and Ocean Railroad

    When cable cars and steam trains ran on Geary Street to the Richmond District. Plus, a listener mail question! (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 7, 2017)
  • Podcast # 207: The Human Be-In

    Nicole Meldahl and Arnold Woods come to mark the 50th Anniversary of the Polo Fields' happening. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 14, 2017)
  • Podcast # 209: Golden Gate Park Music Stand

    The history of bandshells, music stands, and the Temple of Music. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 28, 2017)
  • Podcast # 215: Monarch the Grizzly Bear

    The story of a grizzly captured, and later kept in Golden Gate Park, who was the model for the state flag. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 11, 2017)
  • Podcast # 221: Japanese Tea Garden

    Gardener and historian Steven Pitsenbarger gives the story of Golden Gate Park's crown jewel. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 22, 2017)
  • Podcast # 224: Kezar Stadium Re-do

    Don't listen to podcast episode #1! This is a better look at Kezar Stadium in Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 13, 2017)
  • 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 # 233: Anglers Lodge and Casting Pools

    An alpine cabin and concrete ponds hidden in a Golden Gate Park grove. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jul 15, 2017)
  • Podcast # 246: Pioneer Log Cabin and Environs

    Golden Gate Park's meadow of pioneer and colonial related monuments. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Oct 14, 2017)
  • Podcast # 260: Childrens Playground

    The landmark Golden Gate Park playground, plus live recording listener questions and trivia. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 20, 2018)
  • Podcast # 264: Lakes of Golden Gate Park

    The bodies of water both natural and human-made. How many can you name? (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Feb 24, 2018)
  • Podcast # 270: Big Rec

    The story of the baseball fields on Golden Gate Park, from the Park Bums to 16 games at a time in the 1930s. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 7, 2018)
  • Podcast # 273: May Day

    The big May Day celebrations that used to be held in Golden Gate Park, the Parkside District, and across the city. How many maypoles there used to be...so many... (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 28, 2018)
  • Podcast # 277: Heroes Grove

    Memorial Day 99 years ago a grove of redwoods was dedicated to those who died in World War I. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 26, 2018)
  • Podcast # 288: San Francisco Botanical Garden

    The 55 acres in Golden Gate Park we used to know as the Strybing Arboretum can take you around the world and even through time. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Aug 11, 2018)
  • Podcast # 293: San Francisco Model Yacht Club

    Rob Weaver, Vice Commodore of the SFMYC at Spreckels Lake, takes us through 120 years of model boating in Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Sep 15, 2018)
  • Podcast # 298: West Side Equestrianism

    Horse-riding on the west side, the Golden Gate Park stables, and David's fear of the saddle. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Oct 27, 2018)
  • Podcast # 302: Transpacific Cable

    In December 1902, a communications connection to Asia was launched from San Francisco's Ocean Beach. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Nov 24, 2018)
  • Podcast # 305: Francis Scott Key Monument

    The story of a peripatetic statue, that looks like a wedding cake top, in Golden Gate Park's Music Concourse. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Dec 15, 2018)
  • Podcast # 310: Bonet's Electric Tower

    The centerpiece of the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 19, 2019)
  • Podcast # 314: Women Artists at the Midwinter Fair

    The Fine Arts Building of the 1894 California Midwinter International Fair in Golden Gate Park and the many female artists featured. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Feb 16, 2019)
  • Podcast # 317: Quigley Family

    An historic Inner Sunset family who lived in, and made, Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 9, 2019)
  • Podcast # 318: Verdi Monument

    The impressive tribute in Golden Gate Park's Music Concourse to Italy's famous composer. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 16, 2019)
  • Podcast # 319: Butter Sculptress of the Midwinter Fair

    The story of Caroline Brooks, Centennial Butter Sculptress at the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 23, 2019)
  • Podcast # 322: Conservatory of Flowers Myths

    Guest Chelsea Sellin shares some legends about the Golden Gate Park landmark on its 140th birthday. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 13, 2019)
  • Podcast # 327: Heidelberg Castle

    The German village concession at the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition in Golden Gate Park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 18, 2019)
  • Podcast # 329: Bicycles on the West Side

    Two wheels on the west side from the 1890s to today. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jun 1, 2019)
  • Podcast # 330: Golden Gate Park Bands

    From 1882 to the 1894 Midwinter Fair to Sundays today, the history of bands in the park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jun 7, 2019)
  • Podcast # 332: Goddess of the Forest

    Dudley Carter's sculpture and its journey from the Golden Gate International Exposition to Golden Gate Park to City College. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jun 22, 2019)
  • Podcast # 334: Closing the Midwinter Fair

    The last official days of the California Midwinter International Exposition. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jul 6, 2019)
  • Podcast # 341: Recycling Midwinter Fair

    The Midwinter Fair lived on after closing! Guest John Martini joins Nicole, David, and Woody to discuss how many of the attractions and buildings from the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894 were repurposed. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Aug 24, 2019)
  • Podcast # 363: McLaren Lodge

    McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park is impressive inside and out. Take a virtual audio tour of John McLaren's residence where he lived for 47 years. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Jan 31, 2020)
  • Podcast # 365: Powell Street Railroad Station

    Did a railroad really run from Golden Gate Park down to Powell Street? There's a stand out remnant of the 1890-era Station on Fulton at 7th Ave. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Feb 15, 2020)
  • Podcast # 368: Morrison Planetarium Projector

    Today's Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences features the latest state-of-the-art digital technology. But when the Morrison Planetarium was built in 1952, it featured an optical star projector. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 6, 2020)
  • Podcast # 370: Monuments of Golden Gate Park (Classic Episode)

    Our Monumental Golden Gate Park event has been postponed. But to whet your appetite, we present a Classic Episode where David and Woody chat about their five favorite Golden Gate Park statues. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 20, 2020)
  • Podcast # 371: Bison of Golden Gate Park (Classic Episode)

    In March 2020, Golden Gate Park welcomed five new, year-old bison to the Paddock. In this classic episode, we revisit the Bison's arrival in the 1890s and their long history in the park. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Mar 28, 2020)
  • Podcast # 372: Speedway Meadow and the Polo Fields (Classic Episode)

    If you've been to the Outside Lands Music Festival, then you know the Polo Fields and Speedway Meadow. These open spaces both have storied histories. This classic episode continues our celebration of the Park's 150th Anniversary. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 3, 2020)
  • Podcast # 373: Golden Gate Park 150th Anniversary Celebration

    Founded in 1870, San Francisco celebrates Golden Gate Park's 150th birthday. Join Nicole, David, and Woody as they mark this historic occasion in their first remote recording session. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast Apr 4, 2020)
  • Podcast # 377: Ray Bandar - The Bone Collector

    Ray Bandar had a passion for bones. It was his collection featured at the 2014 CalAcademy exhibit "Skulls". Special guest, Lindsay Palaima worked with Ray, and visits the pod to share some stories about this unique San Francisco teacher and scientist. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 2, 2020)
  • Podcast # 378: Goethe-Schiller Monument

    Why are two German writers memorialized in Golden Gate Park? As part of our series of podcasts commemorating the Park's 150th Anniversary, we uncover the statue's origins as a cultural landmark. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 9, 2020)
  • Podcast # 380: Thomas Starr King Monument

    Reverend Thomas Starr King was a pivotal figure in San Francisco and California history. We resume our celebration of Golden Gate Park's 150th year and examine the Starr King monument and the man. (Outside Lands San Francisco Podcast May 30, 2020)