Be sure to catch the current SF History Minute by Woody and Dave regarding the origin of the name Speedway Meadow. I love ‘Pink Lady’ and I snapped a few pictures of her and her ride at the last Jimmy’s Old Car Picnic.
As a kid in the 1950s I wondered at the picnickers enjoying their spread at Speedway on those cold foggy summer weekend afternoons. My sisters and I were packed in our family car heading to our cousin’s place in the warm sunshine down the Peninsula. Noting our confusion our parents explained that those picnickers were folks from the heat of outlying areas come into the City to enjoy our natural air conditioning. Speedway is lodged in my youth where Mr. O'Connor, who worked tugs on the waterfront and was the father of classmates Doug and Dennis coached our CYO baseball team from St. Thomas the Apostle in the early 1960s. Later that decade it was the site of many, many free concerts by notable hot local bands and the masses drawn to the allure and attempts of peace, love and harmony.
Sometimes the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, sometimes it’s just serendipity. I don’t know which is the case in this instance but concurrent with the topic of this recent SF History Minute is the notion entertained by the SF Board of Sups to change the name from Speedway Meadow to Warren Helman Meadow. I greatly appreciate Mr. Helman’s benevolence regarding underwriting the annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. I’ve enjoyed some great artists whom I’d otherwise not learn of or see perform. I do though from afar think it not a good idea to change the name of the place. I may just be letting my ‘grump’ show but what the heck. Over at the Richmond District blog they’re taking a poll on the topic. You can chime in if you want.