07/25/07 - posted by Frank Dunnigan
How could I have forgotten my old USF professor, Fr. John B. McGloin, S.J.??? For years, he used Oscar Lewis' SAN FRANCISCO: MISSION TO METROPOLIS as the standard text for his course in San Francisco History. All the while, he was preparing his own book, SAN FRANCISCO: STORY OF A CITY, which was published in the late 1970s, a few years before his death, and which then became his classroom standard. Both are excellent in their recounting the facts of San Francisco's birth & development. I can still hear Fr. McGloin explaining "San Francisco's triple-pronged origin--Mission, Presidio, and pueblo" to a class full of enthusiastic students in the early 1970s. I just realized that he would slowly be creeping up on 100 if still with us. He was always forward-thinking in his take on different bits of SF trivia. For example, he had always favored the top of Lone Mountain (there--that's keeping it on-track as a Western Neighborhoods topic!) as the safest place to be during an earthquake, but later acknowledged that he had been persuaded by the arguments of some Bechtel engineers that BART's trans-bay tube would actually be safer, thus producing the sort of on-going classroom discussion that he truly enjoyed.
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