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Woody LaBounty -

A blog-like thing on current events in western San Francisco with history in mind...

by Woody LaBounty
May 1, 2009

What's this article/blog all about?

The Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP) plays an active role in community affairs on San Francisco's west side. We try to figure out how to use history in a positive and effective way to improve the neighborhoods we love so much, and our organization often acts as a clearinghouse of information between activists, historians, researchers, residents, businesses and community nonprofits. This blog is about issues and events in the Richmond, Sunset, West of Twin Peaks, OMI and Lake Merced areas that have some bearing on WNP's work or the history of San Francisco's west side.

The Balboa Theater needs your help

The Balboa Theater, one of the last neighborhood movie theaters in San Francisco (here's an old article I wrote about their decline) is in tough financial shape. Gary Meyer has been working his butt off for the last decade to bring the magic of movies to the Richmond District, and has always been very mindful of the great impact a neighborhood cinema can have on surrounding businesses. He's always promoted local restaurants and community groups (like WNP) while making the Balboa a city treasure. The poor economy is killing lots of small businesses and this institution is feeling the pain acutely.

Don't take your movie-watching dollars to suburban multiplexes! Keep the money in town by patronizing the Balboa and the great films it offers. Go take in a flick in the fog. My family and I have the new "Star Trek" movie on our calendar for next week. Here's the Balboa's Web site.

The Earthquake Shack Lives

Last week I had the opportunity to check in on the earthquake refugee cottage WNP restored in 2005-2006. Since its starring role on Market Street for the centennial of the great 1906 earthquake and fire, the little cottage has been stored in the open air of the San Francisco Zoo's back lot.

I was shocked to walk up and find the shack had been bumped off its footers. The front door and a back window were detached and a good hunk of the original floor fanned up in shards after landing on a piece of concrete rubble. While I stood there, my mouth agape, Joe Fitting of the San Francisco Zoo pulled up in an electric cart and started telling me how the shack would be fixed up and put on public display in the zoo as part of conservation center.

This was all news to me. The zoo had told WNP back in 2005 that they had absolutely no interest in having the shack permanently. Because of that, we signed it over to the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society with hopes that it could be incorporated in the Old Mint project. Unfortunately that effort is a long slow one and the shack hasn't been part of the plans. Kristin Morris, Associate Curator at SFMHS, arrived for our meeting and seemed to think the Zoo idea was a pretty good one and SFMHS might be amenable to a long-term loan of the shack.

Of course, I want the darned thing open to the public and I want it properly cared for, so it sounds good to me too.

The WNP Office is Open, sort of...

I'm usually sitting in our new digs at 300 Taraval Street (at Funston) weekdays from about 9am to 3:30pm. David Gallagher, our whiz-bang technical genius is in and out. The place is shaping up, with maps and old photos on the walls, some furniture (thanks to all who donated items and even cash to help with that), and a kettle bubbling away for my morning cup of tea and afternoon cup of coffee. We still need to track down a small comfortable couch so folks can come in and sit a spell, which I encourage you all to do at our open house: May 16, 2009 (Saturday) from 11am - 3pm. Drop in for a cookie, a beverage and to take a look around.

We'll get a couch, a sofa, or a davenport by then, I promise.

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Page launched 1 May 2009.

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