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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 470: The Great Highway - Part 2

We resume our Great Highway story, covering the 1890s into the first two decades of the 20th century. You could say this period was when the Great Highway really came into its own. It was during this time, that several iconic landmarks made their first appearances, including the rise of Carville.
- Aug 20, 2022

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 470: The Great Highway - Part 2 Outside Lands Podcast Episode 470: The Great Highway - Part 2

(above) 48th Ave & Judah, circa 1905

Carville; several streetcars turned into residences. Windmill and water tank at center, other buildings at right, with board fence. Sand in foreground.

Podcast Transcription

WNP470 – The Great Highway Part 2

Nicole: [00:00:00] It’s Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I'm Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: And I'm Arnold Woods.

Nicole: Hello Arnold.

Arnold: Hello Nicole. How are we today?

Nicole: I think we're Cliff House exhausted.

Arnold: That's pretty much our permanent state these days.

Nicole: It's so much fun to run your own pop-up museum, but it's also so much work,

Arnold: And with all this press we've gotten recently, we are getting these huge crowds every weekend for these. So, we’re…

Nicole: Oh my God.

Arnold: Happy everybody's enjoying it there.

Nicole: We absolutely are. And today, in another podcast, not about Laguna Honda Hospital, we will continue our unpacking or I don't know, maybe we should say unpaving of Great Highway. So, two [00:01:00] weeks ago in episode number 468, we went all the way back to the highway’s beginning as a humble horse road. And detailed businesses that began popping up alongside it, including an epic shanty town called Mooneysville in the 1880s. So, now we'll pick up where we left off. In the, and in the 1890s, as things began to get a little more and sometimes less civilized.

Arnold: And to be fair, in last week's preview, you did say either Laguna Honda or the Great Highway, and we are delivering on the Great Highway.

Nicole: It's true. We got one.

Arnold: Anyways, back in 1890, the roadway south of the Park was graded to a width of 180 feet on the part that fronts Golden Gate Park. And it was graded a hundred feet wide for another two miles beyond it by 1892. In March of that year, the highway also got a new attraction, [00:02:00] the first iteration of the Beach Chalet. In November 1891, the Park Commission awarded contracts for $8,000 to construct a Queen Anne-style building, which was designed by architect William O. Banks, that was also flanked by low sheds where visitors could park their carriages or their bicycles.

Nicole: The Chalet was meant to serve as shelter from the wind, provide bathrooms, which is the number one thing people ask for at the Cliff House still, and changing rooms for bathers, offer observation decks, and only sold, and I quote, “approved drinks,” which means not alcoholic beverages. It was a family friendly establishment set apart from the other, maybe, shall we say, less reputable roadhouses in the vicinity. And unlike today's Beach Chalet, it was located on the west side of Great Highway perched in a really tenuous position in the sand that made it really vulnerable to annual storms.

Arnold: Say what? On the other side of [00:03:00] the highway?

Nicole: Just to mix it up.

Arnold: Improvements like these coincided with the 1890s bicycle craze that swept the United States in the wake of the widespread adoption of the safety bicycle. Our good friend, Woody LaBounty, wrote quote, “rallies for better roads and bike friendly laws came soon after. After a long struggle with the Park Commission, San Francisco's bicycle clubs won greater access to Golden Gate Park's excellent roads in the early 1890s. Every weekend, packs of cyclists rode through the Park to Ocean Beach, where a section of the Great Highway had recently been graded and paved.” End quote.

Nicole: So, cyclists would gather at the Seal Rock House, which we talked about in our last podcast, and other roadhouses like Cycler’s Rest, which was a hangout for practitioners of the, this new bicycling fad. You know, one that totally was never gonna last, right? Cycler’s Rest was located on what today is the Safeway parking lot on the northwest [00:04:00] corner of La Playa and Fulton. And the imposing building's origins actually track back to an international exposition and, who else on this west side of town, of course, Adolf Sutro. It began as the Humboldt County Building at the 1894 Midwinter Fair that built the entire music concourse in Golden Gate Park and also gave us what is now the de Young Museum. The structure cost $7,500 to build and was made entirely of redwood to promote Humboldt’s lumber trade.

Arnold: It was also made to look like a quote, “modern residence,” and finished with a rustic appeal. The exterior was covered in 50,000 plain and 44,000 fancy shingles according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The front entrance was a large six feet wide, made from four out of five sections of a massive log, that was quote, “the largest [00:05:00] ever handled in the Humboldt woods,” weighing 113,000 pounds. From the top of this massive log, a balcony was created over the door. Interior touches included wainscotting, panels and designs, all made of redwood of course.

Nicole: I love my house, but this sounds amazing. And listeners, please write in to tell us the difference between plain and fancy shingles. So, like so many other surplus structures, it was purchased by Adolf Sutro when the fair closed and the San Francisco Chronicle surmised that it could, and I quote, “be converted into a comfortable two-story dwelling at small cost and may be placed south of the park.” Sutro began dismantling the building in October 1894, and it had been moved by December of that year to the northeast Conner of 48th and D Streets, which are now La Playa and Fulton. He hired the same architects that were working on his [00:06:00] soon to be famous baths, then under construction. And they were tasked with altering the building into a completely appointed hotel, with an office, billiard room, bar room, and reading room, and of course, a lady's parlor, in addition to 16 bedrooms on the second floor.

Arnold: Not soon after this though, Sutro had a change of heart and the building's purpose was reoriented to cater to the growing population of bicycle enthusiasts. Local news reports surmised that Sutro was yielding to the pressure of the times when he made this change. But the decision was almost certainly connected to something we're well acquainted with, the destruction of the Cliff House, which burned to the ground on Christmas Day in 1894. The building that rose from its ashes was the grand Victorian structure that Sutro hoped would rival the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego.

Nicole: I mean, this is a pretty solid pivot even though Sutro wasn't really a great [00:07:00] businessman when it came to all the concessions he built along Ocean Beach. But with a hotel like that just up the street, it was good business to open an establishment for cyclers on the edge of Golden Gate Park. And, by 1895, it's known as Cycler’s Rest. You can get more details about Cycler’s Rest in our podcast number 275. But within two years of its opening, the wealthy men who raced their carriages along Speed Road in Golden Gate Park complained that they too deserved their own place of relaxation. So, in January 1897, the San Francisco Call reported and I quote, “while a splendid track had been constructed through the Park to the Ocean Beach for the cyclers and the Cycler's Rest erected for the comfort of wheelman at the beach itself, the horse folks were compelled to pull their chargers up at the end of the speed track, with the chilling winds from [00:08:00] the ocean benumbing their animals and, in some instances, working their ruin, simply for lack of a place of shelter.”

Arnold: Oh poor, poor, poor rich carriage racers. These equestrians were especially incensed that no clubhouse had been built for them since they had privately financed the construction of the Speed Road in Golden Gate Park. The story of the Speed Road is, in itself, a pretty ridiculous story about private enterprises driving the usage of public land, but we're not going to tackle that here. But you can, you can go read about it in Angus Macfarlane's article on our website, or simply listen to our podcast episode number 40, way back a long time ago.

Nicole: Which may or may not be very comprehensive, but it will be entertaining. So, some proposed moving the old Casino building that was located over near the Conservatory of Flowers to the end of the speed track. But that wasn't feasible. So, these [00:09:00] influential men attempted to have legislation passed to modify laws governing public parks that wouldn't permit them to construct a building that catered to their needs. Oh boy. The more things change, the more things don't actually change very much.

Arnold: Can you believe it?

Nicole: No.

Arnold: Rich people lobbying to get something that will benefit them.

Nicole: I am shocked.

Arnold: Absolutely. Assemblyman Leon L. Denney introduced a bill “to provide a rendezvous for the owners of high pressed horseflesh, where their foaming steeds can be cooled out and they themselves can swap stories of wondrous trails down to the speed track.” That's a lovely bill.

Nicole: High priced horseflesh is a phrase I need to find a way to use more often.

Arnold: Absolutely. And, it's actually unclear how Denney's bill faired, but it appears a horseman's roadhouse was never built in Golden Gate Park, although better amenities for equestrians would be built later [00:10:00] near the Polo Fields. Regardless, it speaks to a history of competing and highly individualized visions for the usage of the Great Highway, Golden Gate Park, and the land between and adjacent to them.

Nicole: Also, spoiler alert, Cycler's Rest was never very successful. Poor Adolph Sutro. I think we need to make some sort of children's book about, like the folies of capitalism and just all about all of his grand dreams and how none of it came to fruition. Anyways, that's a non-sequitur. By 1897, Cycler’s Rest only had about 10 good years left. Its demise could be attributed to Sutro’s perpetual distraction, with his attention diverted by other business ventures that weren’t going great, or his term as mayor of San Francisco, or simply his poor health. It might also be attributed to nearby competition. Not far away, at the end [00:11:00] of today's Irving Street was Villa Miramar, managed by proprietor Charles, sometimes known as Carl, Jacob Barta.

Arnold: And this is an area that we absolutely love and we're gonna get into that a little bit here. Barta and his wife Franziska, owned several properties in the area at the end of the 19th century, starting with a lot purchased from Jacob Heyman at 33rd and Irving in 1888. The next year, they began three tumultuous decades operating a hotel and restaurant and bar in the area. Very few photos of Villa Miramar exist and there are scant references to either Barta or the establishment in the local papers. Perhaps the most copy Barta ever received was April 1899, after he let an eccentric old man store, get this, an air ship in one of his buildings on Irving. After that man and his partner abandoned it following one test flight at an Ocean Beach, Barta had to appeal to the San Francisco Police Department to help locate [00:12:00] them because he wanted to lease the home at which it was stored. So, he kind of needed it out of there.

Nicole: Sometimes I can't believe my job is researching stuff like this. There is an illustration of the airship and his hotel, which was pretty awesome. At some point, Barta added a sign next to his roadhouse, which advertised Villa Miramar as a “Wheelman's rest.” Barta knew his audience and he was operating a business along Great Highway at a time when a new Bohemian development was sort of developing. It was called Carville by the Sea. In fact, you can see Villa Milamar. Oh boy, Miramar. You can see Villa Miramar in an OpenSFHistory photo we have of Carville in around 1901. Now, before you start thinking we have another Mooneysville on our hands, we're obliged to correct you.

Arnold: Because in fact, [00:13:00] the original Carville settlement was a cluster of old horse cars and cable cars that were sold as surplus by streetcar companies and hauled to the beach for use as vacation cottages.

Nicole: Ooohh.

Arnold: Sometimes permanent residences, all on land owned by Adolf Sutro that was bounded by what we now know as Lincoln Way, Irving Street, 48th Avenue, and La Playa.

Nicole: Beginning in 1895, this nascent community spread to other blocks near the ocean within a few years, aided by the accessibility of Point Lobos Road and the Park and Ocean Railroad, which ran a steam line to the beach in 1883. In 1898, builder Jacob Heyman assembled a number of street cars into a permanent residence for a client and others followed his example.

Arnold: Yeah, people also came to that beach by the, their bikes, and this Bohemian enclave supported several bicycle clubs. In fact, a woman's bicycling club called the Falcons started with one street car as [00:14:00] a clubhouse. And when membership increased, they added a second street car. Here, the seven married woman members hosted many social events. And if any of you are currently big fans of Lady Falcon Coffee Cup, like Nicole is.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Now you know where they got their name. And it's not that I'm not a fan. I just don't like coffee.

Nicole: They also give free drinks to all the, all of us who work at Outside Lands every year. So, another major shout out to Lady Falcon Coffee Club for treating us right. So, like all good ideas that women have, men copied them. A men's bicycle club soon followed the Falcons and also rented a car clubhouse from Sutro. Another clubhouse, that belonging to the Fuzzy Bunch, attracted artists and writers, including the writer, Jack London, and other notables such as Gelett, Burgess, George Sterling, Ina Coolbrith, and Anna Strunsky. Another former streetcar became a clubhouse named [00:15:00] La Boheme for musicians who congregated there, and we'll get into that more later.

Arnold: Although Barta continued to do business through at least January of 1906, when the Dolphin Club held its annual hike and dip meal at Villa Miramar, he was in trouble and the neighborhood itself was changing. Adolf Sutro had died in 1898 and all of Sutro’s estate was turned over to his daughter, Dr. Emma Sutro Merritt, who attempted to rectify her father's land-rich and cash-poor holdings. In March 1901, the Sutro estate had to sue Barta for the property in which Villa Milamar, Miramar was set, and it was also valued at $1,700. They claimed that he had failed to pay his rent. A sheriff sale in July 1901 saw the liquidation of tables, chairs, wine, and even the establishment's piano.

Nicole: Not the piano! Why is Villa Miramar so hard to say? I [00:16:00] don't know. So, this case dragged on for years while the area continued to change around its litigants. Shortly after 1900, new residents attracted to the Outer Sunset built conventional wood frame houses amid the converted street cars. An example from this era actually still exists. It's at 1984 Great Highway, and it was a vacation retreat built in 1905 by Fire Chief Dennis T. Sullivan. Now, if that name sounds familiar, it's because he is an epic figure in San Francisco history lore. Sadly, Sullivan didn't have much time to enjoy the home. He was one of the most prominent casualties of the 1906 earthquake, actually falling through three floors of a firehouse on Bush Street

Arnold: And Sullivan laid in a coma while his department battled the fires that destroyed much of the city. But then he died a few days later. A later Fire Chief Thomas R. Murphy, [00:17:00] purchased the property in 1922 and was eventually sold to a church group that renovated the building in 1947. Then there was plans to raze the building to construct a larger church in the early 2000s. But this prompted the National Trust for Historic Preservation to list it as threatened. And today it's one of the few historic landmarks on the west side.

Nicole: So, the earthquake and fire of 1906 also brought more streetcar houses to Carville, as transit companies converted more of their lines to electric, creating surplus horse cars that were purchased and repurposed by those who had lost their homes. By 1908, Carville residents actually numbered 2000 people, and they were supported by stores and restaurants, hotels, and more churches, including a two-story Episcopal church called St. Andrews by the Sea at 47th near Irving.

Arnold: Now space was becoming a premium in this neighborhood, and by the end of Barta’s trial, Carville stretched from [00:18:00] Lincoln Way south to Moraga Street. To see an example of the surviving architecture of this time, you can walk by the Alice Pritchard home at 1740 Great Highway. And actually, if you get up on the walkway next to the Great Highway, you can kind of see over the fence into the former streetcar home. This was built in 1908. The Craftsman home was designed by her son-in-law, George Colemesnil, and was, who also lived in the house with his wife and with Alice.

Nicole: And to get back to Barta's epic fight with the Sutros, the jury initially found in favor of the Sutro estate in September 1907. But what happened next speaks to the complexity of land ownership and usage in the Outside Lands. In his defense, Barta argued that the Sutro estate couldn't eject him from the land because according to official records, the land actually belonged to the City of San Francisco and not the Sutro family.

Arnold: Imagine that. On the first map of the [00:19:00] Outside Lands, adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1868, 49th Avenue and Great Highway were considered one and the same. But the survey showed no blocks west of the easterly line of 49th Avenue. Villa Miramar was located in the middle of Great Highway as it existed on paper in a, on “an irregular strip of land between I and J Streets and 49th Avenue and the Great Highway. Subsequently, the Board of Supervisors hired city engineer Humphrey to draw an official map of San Francisco in 1872, and he gave 49th Avenue a width of 80 feet, basically the same as all other avenues, thereby accidentally creating the four contested parcels as sort of a wedge between the Great Highway and 49th Avenue.

Nicole: According to the 1866 Outside Lands Act, that formally brought the west side into the formal boundaries of San Francisco, anyone who had paid five years of taxes on homesteaded property that [00:20:00] had not been identified and set apart on the adopted maps for the use of public land could obtain title of said property from the city. That's how in 1877, Paul Rosset acquired title to the land occupied by Barta. Land which Rosset subsequently sold to the Sutro and Hotaling estates. I'm sure I'm pronouncing that wrong. With the Hotaling estate then selling a piece to United Railroads for a depot. This is where Barta staked his claim.

Arnold: So, in this lawsuit, the lower court agreed and they initially decided that the Sutro estate could not receive damages. But this appeal ruling was appealed, then reversed. At this point, the City of San Francisco steps in claiming its right to the land was threatened. The City feared the ruling would set a precedent that jeopardized all unused city property that had failed [00:21:00] to be properly demarcated on paper.

Nicole: See, maps are important. Winks at Chelsea Sellin who loves maps  So, in December 1908, the Supreme Court effectively granted the city possession of five contested blocks of Great Highway that included all the land west of 49th Avenue, between what is now Lincoln Avenue and Judah Street on the south side of Golden Gate Park, and Fulton to Anza Street on the north side of Golden Gate Park. This land was valued at $500,000 at the time. In reviewing the Outside Lands maps, the court said they and I quote, “clearly demonstrate the intention of the Outside Lands committee to reserve all territory west of the easterly line of 49th Avenue for public use as a portion of the Great Highway.”

Arnold: This is perhaps why the intermittent maps and city documents refer to the boulevard as the “Great Highway Reservation.” Mainly in 1870 and 1904, but here and there until 1912. Because [00:22:00] the land was reserved for an expansive road that would one day come to fruition. This could also explain the confusing configuration of upper Great Highway and Lower Great Highway, which from Kirkham to Lincoln, and then Fulton to Balboa, becomes La Playa, formerly 49th Avenue.

Nicole: So, huzzah for Barta, except this legal victory didn't really matter in the end because Villa Miramar was completely destroyed by fire just days before the ruling. Because everything just burns down out here, y'all. That's the moral of all of our stories. Meanwhile, the ruling was contested in 1910 by the Sutro and Hotaling estates, as well as United Railroads. This time the court confirmed their titles to the property that was now valued at one million dollars. So, the other takeaway from all our podcasts is [00:23:00] San Francisco real estate has always been nuts. The San Francisco Examiner wrote, and I quote, “residents of the Richmond and Sunset districts have been awaiting the final outcome of the last appeal in hopes that the city would eventually win its case, and that a large number of beach resorts, shacks, and taverns that disfigure the city's playground along the ocean beach would be abolished, and the lands included in the plans for the improvement of Ocean Boulevard.”

Arnold: This settlement, going a little bit back here, also impacted Cycler's Rest. In 1904, six and a half blocks bounded by A and B Streets, now known as Anza and Balboa, and 46 and 48th Avenues, which is the area where Cycler's Rest was, were sold by the Sutro estate for $158,000. That same year, population increases in the neighborhood were significant enough to prompt the Spring Valley Water Company to begin [00:24:00] laying water mains in the area.

Nicole: So, improving the area, making it more valuable, right? The lower floor of the building was briefly used by the real estate firm of Baldwin and Howell, who had been hired to assess the Sutro estate. But it's unclear if the building had tenants after about 1910. The last two known photos we have of the building dated to between 1914 and 1920. And we think it was likely demolished to clear space for the Big Dipper at Playland at the Beach in 1922. So, this is all going to show you that the land along Great Highway was really transforming at a pretty rapid pace.

Arnold: Now we had mentioned the old Oceanside house in a prior podcast number 486. It was converted to the private home of Alexander and Ida Russell in 1902.

Nicole: So, this is a roadhouse being turned into a private residence.

Arnold: Right. Alexander was a salesman for the Bowers Rubber company who also made a [00:25:00] living from mining and investments. And the couple possessed remarkably open-minded and eclectic spiritual beliefs for the time. Ida was into the study of comparative religion and they hosted a Sunday morning lectures on Brahmanism, Confucianism, and other eastern theologies, and I'm sure I pronounced those wrong too.

Nicole: No, you did great.

Arnold: In 1905, the Russells even hosted Zen Master Soyen Shaku from Japan. For nine months, they built a magnificent Japanese garden and erected a high wall to protect it from the shifting sands. This may have led some people to believe that they were starting a cult in their house.

Nicole: God forbid you do anything different, right? Also in 1902, the realty firm of Sol Getz and Sons bought their first block of land and graded it flat. The firm opened a branch office at 47th Avenue and Lincoln Way and enticed even more new residents to the area who began calling the neighborhood Oceanside in [00:26:00] 1903. Even though the Oceanside neighborhood never was formally defined by boundaries, those who lived within eight blocks of the beach became powerful organizers. The first improvement club to lobby for street improvements, utilities, and schools, was formed in 1903 and they proliferated from there. So, you had the Oceanside Improvement Club in 1909. The Oceanside Promotion Association, which lasted from 1910 to 1911. The Oceanside Improvement Association from 1911 to 1913. Oceanside Club from 1914 to 1916. The Oceanside Improvement Club for one solid year in 1918. And then the Oceanside Community Council in the 1920s.

Arnold: They really like the Oceanside name.

Nicole: I mean, it does sound very fancy and nice.

Arnold: Yes. Collectively, they all work to bring sewage lines and electric streetlights to the area, to grade and pave streets, [00:27:00] to build a firehouse, to improve school facilities, and to increase police protection. The first school was founded in 1903 with a larger improvement, the Oceanside Primary School on 43rd between Irving and Judah, which opened in 1908. The school building was eventually demolished and rebuilt in 1913, thereafter called the Francis Scott Key School. The first permanent church in the area, St. Paul's Presbyterian on Kirkham between 46th and 47th, was dedicated in September 1906 and soon offered refuge to the Oceanside Boys Club in an expanded gymnasium. When the Panama-Pacific International Exposition was in its planning infancy in 1911, the Promotion Association lobbied for it to be built near the Oceanside in Golden Gate Park.

Nicole: Fancy how that happens. They regarded the Streetcar residences as an embarrassment and an impediment to this progress that they were working [00:28:00] so hard to bring about. In 1913, Dr. Emma Sutro Merritt gave Alexander Russell, president of the Oceanside Improvement Club, permission to clear away the original cluster of Carville houses on her land at Lincoln Way and Great Highway. So, as part of a 4th of July celebration that year, they torched the houses and trumpeted slogans like, “we have taken the car out of Carville,” and, “make clean today by sweeping and burning up the debris of yesterday.”

Arnold: I mean, how cool would it be if there was all these streetcar homes still along that area today?

Nicole: Oh my God. With the tiny home-like movement that's such a part of our modern life, oh, it would be so popular.

Arnold: Indeed. Many other of these Carville houses still stood in 1915, when a Sanborn map reveals very few houses between 20th and 40th Avenues. But few were actually left by the end of the 1920s. Today, only one house made [00:29:00] of street cars at 1632 Great Highway is known to remain. So, after another 30 years or so of the Great Highway story, this seems like a good place to pause the story and we'll get back to the Great Highway in a. future podcast.

Nicole: Absolutely. And if you haven't figured out what we're trying to do here yet, if you hopefully listen to the last podcast and now this one, part two, it's to show you that there's always a different group of people, who have a different idea of what Great Highway and the land around Great Highway should be used for. It literally shifts as ethereal, or as often as the sands out here. That the land has to respond to the needs of the community, whatever that may be. And sometimes that's really complicated and sometimes things have to make way for new visions. But we don't have an opinion. We're just laying out the history.

Arnold: So, Nicole, Say What [00:30:00] Now?

Nicole: So, we didn't go into detail on Carville because our co-founder and former podcast host literally wrote the book on it, and I think there's probably some podcasts on it and it, but you know what? Don't worry. You can still find a copy and if you are able to pick one up, we highly suggest you do so because he goes into only the most interesting detail in his signature Woody LaBounty style. So, for example, he goes into the debauched hijinks at the musicians’ clubhouse, La Boheme, that we mentioned in passing earlier.

Arnold: So, if you were a musician performing in cafes or music halls in San Francisco around 1901, you finish your shift around midnight and head to the beach where La Boheme awaited you. It was managed by Henry Newman, the nightwatchman for The Louvre nightclub, who, as Woody says, “borrowed” things from his employer to outfit the clubhouse with [00:31:00] a stove and utensils.

Nicole: And the flagpole stolen from the Tivoli restaurant or Tivali restaurant? Oh, good lord. We should never be allowed to pronounce anything. Anyways, this flag, stolen flagpole was planted by members on a sandhill in front of the clubhouse that was affectionately named “Mount Diablo.” So, that's how you'd find it at night. Members could enjoy drinks La Boheme had on hand, or you could also keep a private stash of your own alcohol in lockers underneath the car. And the interior was furnished with bits and bobs, posters and newspaper clippings, and Newman's Pets—a canary and a dog named Bismarck—that made the place kind of feel homey

Arnold: When the Metropolitan Grand Opera company came through San Francisco, La Boheme hosted an epic party. Honestly, this sounds like it should be the theme of all of our major fundraising events for the WNP from now on. [00:32:00]

Nicole: I mean, can you imagine how popular this would be if it had stuck around? It's like Specs, but 400 billion times better cause it's on the ocean.

Arnold: So, everything changes along Ocean Beach and the Great Highway. But there are some parts of it that we wish were still here.

Nicole: It’s true. Although I guess you really can, anyone can just take a bottle of whatever and drink on the beach at any time. Although, As permittees of the National Park Service near the beach, we are not officially telling you to do that, to be clear.

Arnold: Absolutely.

Nicole: Maybe it's time we move on into listener mail.

Arnold: So, Nicole, how does somebody send us listener mail?

Nicole: It's very, very, very easy as long as you know how to work the emails, which judging by some emails I do get is not totally universal yet. You just sent us an email podcast@outsidelands.org. [00:33:00] It'll come to us. I will either respond to it or I will just read it on the air. One way or the other, we will receive it. Or You can hit us up on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, outsidelandz with a Z, OpenSFHistory on both Instagram and Twitter and just Western Neighborhoods Project on Facebook, right?

Arnold: I think it's just outsidelands on, with the S, on Facebook.

Nicole: Oh God. We are a branding nightmare.

Arnold: Okay, but we have more nautical news.

Nicole: We're the nautical podcast now.

Arnold: In podcast 468, on the beginning of the Great Highway two weeks ago.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: We wondered aloud if cruise ship salvage was a thing, and guess what? It is. Mark wrote us and said, quote, “while not in San Francisco, I have a story about cruise ship salvage. In 1998, the carnival cruise ship Ecstasy,” great [00:34:00] cruise ship name, “had a fire in the ship's laundry from welding and lint in the ventilation catching fire. Fire spread to the aft mooring deck. The ship came into the shipyard at Newport News, Virginia, where Mark worked for re, for repairs as part of the refurbishment, many of the deck chairs and lounges were tossed into the shoreside dumpsters. And, suspiciously, somehow about 50 of these lounge chairs ended up at their community pool. They were only slightly worn and served many for years around the community pool.” So, cruise ship salvage is a thing.

Nicole: Thank you, Mark. And we would once again like to remind you that we're planning a Playland Memories podcast for Labor Day Weekend. If you visited Playland before it closed 50 years ago in 1972, please send us your memories of it. We are looking at having numerous people [00:35:00] relate their stories of Playland, either live on the podcast or in an extended listener mail section for that podcast. So, please email us podcast@outsidelands.org, or you can leave a message for us at 415-661-1000. Either way, we'd love to hear your story and share it with all five of our podcast listeners.

Arnold: I would note that we already have a bunch of really special guests lined up to appear as guests on the podcast and we've received a number of memories and stories that you and I will be reading in the extended listener mail, which is basically gonna be that whole podcast.

Nicole: Arnold, you've been working really hard on this and it's gonna be a really fun podcast.

Arnold: It will be. But, you know, this podcast. It doesn't just happen out of thin air. We have an organization that needs money to get it done. And so, let us tell you about [00:36:00] the benefits of membership and donating.

Nicole: Yes, by clickety, clickety clacking the big orange button at top of any page on our website outsidelands.org or OpenSFHistory.org, you can give us money and if you give us at least $50, you can also become a member of Western Neighborhoods Project. That means you get a quarterly membership magazine, discounts on events and other exclusive perks. But you know, it also just supports all the good work and the free history that we provide. We don't like to, you know, charge you for learning about your city. And we might have to after we bring on a second employee. So, we don't wanna do that. So, please help us out by becoming a member. You can't possibly imagine how much it supports us. Literally, our membership base almost entirely pays my salary. Like that's how critical it is to the organization. It pays for people as well as the work people do. [00:37:00] So, become a member. We really appreciate it. And Arnold, I think that maybe, we have some announcements.

Arnold: I think we do. So, if you've been paying attention at all, our Naiad Cove exhibition at The Museum at The Cliff is getting serious press attention lately. We're featured on KALW. It's featured on NBC's California Live with Malou Nubla. It’s been in several papers. So, come see what the fuss is all about at The Museum at The Cliff. We are open weekends, absolutely free. One of those free things that we provide to the public. And it's open from 11 to 5 on those days.

Nicole: And I feel compelled to say, when you do come to the museum, don't steal anything. Just leave everything there. Unless there's a sign that says, you know, free, take it. Cause I had to ask a grown man to remove a book from his pants last weekend. So, let's not steal things from the museum. [00:38:00] Let's just enjoy the museum.

Arnold: So, we've been having these great history happy hours every Wednesday. The next history happy hour, this coming Wednesday, is with Woody LaBounty, but you are already too late to sign up for that one

Nicole: Bummer town.

Arnold: Bummer indeed. But we have a curator's tour happening next Friday at The Museum at The Cliff. Friday night, 6:00 to 8:00 PM, where a, our curators of the exhibit at The Museum at The Cliff will personally guide you around the exhibit and tell you all about it.

Nicole: Well really, it's just John Lindsey telling you about the contemporary art. I'm just there slinging champagne.

Arnold: I'm sure you'll be available to answer a few questions if people have them.

Nicole: I can be compelled to talk about history. You're correct, Arnold.

Arnold: Anyway, if you'd like to sign up for that event, you can simply go to outsidelands.org/events and [00:39:00] you will find it on that page. It will take you to the Eventbrite link to sign up for it. You can also look at the other upcoming events, like we have a Sutro Heights history walk coming up in mid-September. Other fun things coming, so sign up on our events page.

Nicole: We should mention it's free for WNP members, but it's $30 for non-members. So, if you've kind of been hemming and hawing, like on the fence, you're like, I like this organization, the podcast's pretty cool, but like 50 bucks a year feels like a heavy lift. Well, you can just become a member and then get into all these cool events for free. So, this is the summer to join the WNP family. I should have said that with an Italian accent, but, oh well. Arnold, is there a preview for next week?

Arnold: There is, and it's not Laguna Honda. Because we want you to put your boxing gloves on and get ready for a good old fashioned sparring match because we, who are two people who know [00:40:00] very little about the sport, are going to tell you about a legendary boxer with ties to Ocean Beach.

Nicole: Can't emphasize this enough. I know jack squat about boxing. And was that a clue? It might be.

Arnold: Tune in next week and find out who it's about.

Nicole: All right, thanks for hanging out with me tonight, Arnold.

Arnold: Always enjoyable, Nicole. We'll see you next week.

Nicole: Thank you listeners. Goodbye.

Arnold: Bye now.

Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.

Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.

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