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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 475: The Great Highway - Part 3

Nicole and Arnold dive in to our third installment on the history of the Great Highway, taking us from the 1910s into midcentury. For Parts One and Two, see Podcast #468 and Podcast #470.
by Nicole Meldahl - Oct 1, 2022

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 475: The Great Highway - Part 3 Outside Lands Podcast Episode 475: The Great Highway - Part 3

Podcast Transcription

475 – Great Highway Part 3

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: Well, hello Arnold.

Arnold: Hello, Nicole. How are we feeling with the end of our journey at the Cliff House Museum last weekend?

Nicole: I don't know yet. Yeah, I don't know yet. I haven't quite, I haven't had time to process it all. Plus, you know, we do have one last hurrah in the space, so it doesn't really feel like it's ending, but we'll get into that more later.

Arnold: We will indeed

Nicole: But first, we have a podcast to record. And we're on the road again with our third installment in a series that examines the evolution of Great Highway from its 19th century origins to contemporary times.

Arnold: [00:01:00] And as a refresher, let's recap our journey so far. In episode 468, we went all the way back to the highway’s beginnings as a humble horse road and detailed businesses that began popping up alongside it, including an epic shanty town called Mooneysville in the 1880s. Then in episode 470, we took a look at the 1890s and early 1900s, including the rise of a Bohemian enclave called Carville.

Nicole: So, let's pick up the story with the epic migration of the Beach Chalet. And I wanna warn our readers, when I was doing all of our podcast notes, the word epic comes up a lot and I'm just kind of in that zone right now. You know how sometimes you just really like one word and use it a lot? Anyways, be forewarned, you will hear that word a lot tonight, And tomorrow and next weekend and the week afterwards. So, remember that, at the time, the Beach Chalet was on [00:02:00] the west side of Great Highway, and then the 1906 earthquake had damaged the Chalet, which needed $2,000 in repairs likely to stabilize the foundation. And that money was provided by the Park Commission. It's vulnerability to the approaching surf, however, would require a much bigger plan. And in 1909, the Park Commission approved a plan to build a 300-foot breakwater to protect the building and Great Highway.

Arnold: At this time, the strongest tides were hitting an area just north of the building near Fulton Street. So, this is where 30-foot pilings would be drilled into the sand to create a bulkhead held together by railroad ties.

Nicole: Sounds airtight.

Arnold: Indeed. The first phase of this work was completed by 1910 and the entire seawall that would be protecting the Beach Chalet was, would be constructed by 1911.

Nicole: This was tested by a massive storm system that washed [00:03:00] over San Francisco in January of 1914. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote and I quote, “aside from the magnificent, magnificent site, burnished by the heavy surf, interest centered in the heroic struggle which is being made to save the Park Chalet from the hungry sea. Last night, it looked as though the Chalet was doomed. The breakers have eaten away the sand embankment up to the very walls of the Chalet, and a number of the balcony supports have been washed out. Unless there shall be an immediate abatement of the storm and the high seas, the Chalet will be destroyed.”

Arnold: I love reading old newspaper articles, because, you know, today's articles are always so matter of fact and in the past, it was like all this flowery language.

Nicole: It's true. They knew what sold papers.

Arnold: Anyways, it was estimated that hundreds of thousands of people came to Ocean Beach just to witness the Chalet in peril. And we have some awesome photos in [00:04:00] OpenSFHistory that show folks gathered around this storm damage. Plans would be made to build a sturdier Beach Chalet located a bit farther from the shore.

Nicole: I feel like the early history of Ocean Beach is all about disaster tourism. Like people came out to see the Cliff House on fire, or shipwrecks, or like terrible things happening. They even advertise it on the side of like street car lines that came out this way. Anyways, other improvements continue to be added around this time as well. In 1910, a man named J.C. Estredo suggested a playground be added near the United Railroads #12, streetcar terminus at Sloat and Great Highway. Although, it is unclear when the playground was built, a restroom building designed by the Reid Brothers was constructed on Great Highway near Sloat and Wawona for $1,298 in 1913. And that building still exists and is [00:05:00] the only remaining remnant of early Great Highway. And Arnold, pop quiz. What else did the Reid Brothers design?

Arnold: I believe some movie theaters?

Nicole: Yes. And also, one building we're very, very familiar with.

Arnold: Do tell.

Nicole:  The Cliff House.

Arnold: It depends on which version of the Cliff House you're talking about.

Nicole: Our current version. Well, part of it at least,

Arnold: Right. Slides for the playground were purchased at this time and we believe that a tunnel was added to protect children from crossing busy Great Highway. The playground was in the news again in April 1919 when the San Francisco Chronicle suggested expanding the site, printing in an editorial the next day to emphasize the point. The Playground Commission immediately drafted a resolution asking the Board [00:06:00] of Supervisors to appropriate $25,000 for a larger playground.

Nicole: And what's interesting about these developments in light of the current debate around Great Highway and its usage, is that a highway is central to a broader discussion on community recreation needs.  Needs that are shifting as more people from different demographics move to the west side. And this discussion would eventually produce the Fleishhacker playground, pool, and zoo.

Arnold: And despite the growth of attractions like Sutro Baths and other small shops and concessions along Point Lobos Avenue, it was still just a glorified dirt path that was muddy in rainy seasons and plagued by rock slides from Sutro Heights. With the increasing popularity of automobiles in the 20th century, however, the City of San Francisco was keen to create both a better road and a more attractive destination for visitors to the beach.

Nicole: However, while the city prepared for this beautification of the highway, a veteran structure went up in [00:07:00] flames, not once, but twice in January 1915. Because that is the history of this part of San Francisco summed up. It just goes poof every once in a while. So conducted as a saloon and cafe by J.M. Dickerson and M.B. Murray at the time, Seal Rock House was one of the oldest landmarks in San Francisco and had been closed for renovation for three months, but then reopened for New Year's Eve in 1914.

Arnold: And it does not go well because newspaper reports noted that the dance pavilion was full when a fire broke out on the second floor, causing a near panic. A night watchman named John Zuckerman, who was sleeping upstairs, was overcome by the smoke, but he was carried to safety. When it caught fire a second time within the week, the fire marshal started looking into charges of arson.

Nicole: Also, curious if the night watchman was just sleeping upstairs at [00:08:00] night. But I guess, not to throw Zuckerman under the bus, like, you know, no shade there, but interesting maybe.

Arnold: Well, he probably only went on duty when the dance club closed. and yeah, it was going full blast at the time of the fire.

Nicole: That's true. All right. I, I rescind my accusations against John Zuckerman. So, by the way, some other interesting information about this building. Its gymnasium had formerly been the training home to some of the era's most famous boxers, like legendary Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion. And yes, we have an entire podcast about this, episode number 471 if you're interested in the deeper history.

Arnold: But back to the beautification of Great Highway, an Esplanade that ran the full length of Ocean Beach was envisioned and the Board of Supervisors, which approved a resolution on February 15th, 1915 to begin making this vision a [00:09:00] reality, one section at a time so as not to require the issuance of bonds for the work.

Nicole: Jesus.

Arnold: This, this would become critical later. Supervisors appropriated $50,000 that May to begin the first section.

Nicole: I love that they're trying to do work out here, like on the sly, like sshh, maybe they won't notice.  So soon, City engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy was preparing plans for a seawall beginning at the bottom of the Sutro Heights hill, and the contract was awarded to J.D. Hannah in November of 1915. Now early on the seawall’s placement was controversial because you can't do anything in San Francisco without there being push back. An engineer hired by the Park-Richmond Improvement Club filed a report that the seawall was too close from the high tide water market at150 feet when it should be 300 feet.

Arnold: The city, however, replied [00:10:00] that if the beach was 300 feet wide, there would be insufficient room for the road next to it, and they would have to buy beachfront properties to account for it.  Point, match, the city. Nobody wanted that. So, the work commenced per the city's plans and progressed through much of 1916. The large seawall included bleacher seats at the bottom that you won't see today because they're largely covered by sand.

Nicole: I love this point so much. They're like, well then, we're just gonna have to eminent domain your property. And everyone was like, oh, whoa, never mind, my bad. So soon after this work began, San Franciscans began petitioning the city to expand the, or extend the Esplanade further south. On March 18th, 1916, the Recreation League asked supervisors to extend it to at least where the Beach Chalet was located. Then the Golden Gate Park Federation of Improvement Clubs, something we [00:11:00] need to research more later, took this one step further and asked supervisors to appropriate $100,000 for an extension and the Civic League seconded this request. I wanna stop just to point out how many different improvement clubs, who were all advocating, like overlapping things and different municipality, like just, it's just insane like how many improvement clubs are popping up at this time?

Arnold: I feel like we could do a whole podcast where we're just reading the names of all the different improvement clubs around the city.

Nicole: That's it. It's just us. Like straight reading all these names.

Arnold: Anyways, supervisors only appropriated an additional $25,000 and J.D. Hannah was again hired for the job. The first section of the Esplanade was completed in November 1916, and after John McLaren finished landscaping, a large dedication was held on April 29th, 1917. The United States had just entered World War I [00:12:00] and those giving speeches used the ceremonies as an opportunity to urge all in attendance to patriotically do their bit for the war effort.

Nicole: The board's finance committee soon eliminated further appropriations for the Esplanade construction, as they reduced the city budget as part of wartime austerity measures. Despite calls from improvement clubs and newspapers for the work to continue, the city would not reconsider even when it received a whopping $392,000 from Southern Pacific as part of a land exchange along the highway.

Arnold: Now our entry into the war did not stem the tide of visitors to the area. The San Francisco Examiner reported a count of 15,468 automobiles visiting Ocean Beach on just one Sunday alone in December, 1917. People parked on the Great Highway to enjoy the waves and the sea, [00:13:00] but also to be entertained.

Nicole: Yeah. Because if you remember from part two of this series, one of the early roadhouses on Great Highway had been purchased by a couple named Alexander and Ida Russell. Unfortunately, in 1917, Ida Russell died after a bizarre beauty treatment to remove wrinkles from her throat, adversely reacted to morphine she had been given to treat the pain. Which is wild. Her husband, the man who, if you'll remember, burned the car out of Carville, sold the family home to restaurateur John Tate in 1919, and things were about to get a lot more hot.

Arnold: You know, I don't remember the podcast number, but I believe there's a podcast on the Russells.

Nicole: Yes. They were very cool people, very eccentric, very of their era out at Ocean Beach.

Arnold: The old Oceanside house was about to begin a, a new era though, as Taits at the Beach, to coincide with a new [00:14:00] Great Highway, because road work at the western edge of San Francisco would resume in earnest as World War I began winding down. However, passage of prohibition in January 1919, which would take effect one year later, prohibited the sale of alcohol at the Cliff House, which meant the road was far less traveled. So, San Francisco used this opportunity to widen and pave Point Lobos Avenue to make it safer for automobiles.

Nicole: Every time I think about prohibition, I imagine how wild that whiplash had to have been. Like, yay, we survived World War I. Yay, we survived an insane flu epidemic. Let's party it up. And then the whole world is like, no, you shall not, you shall not drink anymore. And I wonder if it's somewhat akin to how everyone now is like into non, non-alcoholic drinks because we just spent the entire pandemic at home having happy hours online and drinking way too much wine. I'm wondering if it's like a similar thing. [00:15:00] People like, whoa, whoa, whoa. We gotta, we gotta roll this stuff back. People are having too much fun.

Arnold: Oh, if we start hearing calls for drinking bans, we'll, we'll know that's the case.

Nicole: Oh man, I think, no, no, no. Everyone who's listening in positions of power, Anyways, moving on. So, concurrently, the Board of Public Works appropriated $85,000 on March 19th, 1919. Money that was earmarked for the paving of Great Highway from the north end of the Esplanade to Sloat Avenue. The work began in April and caused the shutdown of Great Highway for two whole months. Initial work was immediately criticized for being insufficient to bear heavy traffic, and we hope you can see a pattern here that no matter what is done to Great Highway, folks are unhappy.

Arnold: Other improvements to the road were added for the [00:16:00] general public at this time as well. On March 20th, 1920, contractor John Spargo was hired to build a public comfort station by the Esplanade. The contract for a wooden boardwalk meant to run from Sloat to Lincoln Way along the beach side of Great Highway was awarded to Hannah Brothers as well. But with only $15,000 appropriated for this work, the boardwalk would only extend as far north as the money would last, with the intention that the city supervisors would include more money for the Esplanade in the next year's budget. Not such a great plan.

Nicole: I don't know if you've ever been in one of these comfort stations, but I don't get a whole lot of comfort from them.

Arnold: And I don't know if you've noticed there's not a boardwalk that extends from Sloat to Lincoln along Great Highway.

Nicole: Well, I have seen some old photos where it does look like there's like a plank, like a plank sidewalk.

Arnold: [00:17:00] Oh, they started. It didn't get, it didn't get all the way to, to Lincoln.

Nicole: Oh boy. So, additional money was set aside for extending an Esplanade and improving Point Lobos Road, but city supervisors voted in November 1920 to divert the money to improve Laguna Honda Boulevard instead, which, you know, also feels necessary. Finally, after continued public pressure to finish the Esplanade, the city set aside $150,000 in the 1921 to 1922 budget. And the Clinton Construction Company was awarded the project in August of 1921 with work beginning before the end of the year.

Arnold: On September 23rd, 1921, a separate contract to improve Point Lobos Avenue was awarded to Clarence B. Eaton. One of the first things to be done was to widen the road down the hill from the Cliff House. [00:18:00] In the area around Cliff House and the Sutro Baths, the road was widened for traffic, parking, and a sidewalk that extended from the streetcar depot at 48th Avenue down to the beach. The Sutra Heights cliff area on the east side of the avenue was chiseled into, both for widening, and to stabilize the cliff to protect against rock falls. We do have some awesome photos on OpenSFHistory that document all of this work, by the way.

Nicole: We do. And a viaduct also had to be built to increase the width of the road. So concrete supports for the viaduct also created the base of the roadway. And unless you were looking up from Kelly's Cove, you'd never really know you were driving over a bridge when coming down the hill from the Cliff House. The center of the road contained vitrified brick that reduced the absorption of water to diminish, to diminish skidding on wet roads. And the outer part of the road was bituminized to reduce dust and corrosion. The Chronicle described the new Point Lobos Avenue [00:19:00] as, and I quote, “a wonderfully scenic path for the motoring public.”

Arnold: They held a dedication ceremony for the opening of the improved Point Lobos Avenue and the newest portion of the Esplanade up to Cabrillo Street on June 11th, 1922. The day before Mayor James Rolph included another $150,000 for work to continue on the Esplanade in the 1922-23 budget. The contract for this section, taking it to Fulton Street, was awarded to the Healy-Tibbitts Company in August 1922.

Nicole: Because if there's anything you learn when you try to figure out how to be a good project manager, it's just to figure out the next section when you get to the end of the first section. You don't need to really plan anything.  It's fine. So, here's our favorite part. As work progressed, city engineer Michael O’Shaughnessy declared that he would not be asking for funds to continue work on the Esplanade next year [00:20:00] because the piecemeal approach was making the entire project more expensive than it should have been. He wanted to, the work to halt until the City could afford a larger appropriation that was complete, and would complete the work in total. His position did not change the following year because honestly, it's the only rational position.

Arnold: Nonetheless, the 1920s accelerated radical entertainment options along Great Highway that were tied to the rise of the personal automobile, which drew even larger and larger crowds to the area beginning in the 1910s.

Nicole: Yeah, in 1925, a new Beach Chalet was designed by famed architect Willis Polk in the Spanish Colonial Revival style, and built directly across Great Highway from the original Queen Anne building. It would cost just $75,000 and be Polk’s last project. The ground floor featured restrooms, [00:21:00] changing rooms, and a lunch counter, while the upstairs hosted a 200-seat restaurant.

Arnold: This was initially managed by the Park Commission, but the business never did very well. From 1929 through 1935, it was managed by Hattie and Minnie Mooser, who were popular hostesses of a downtown nightclub. I love the name Mooser.

Nicole: Yeah. I love Hattie and Minnie. I think that should be the name of a new bar on the west side.

Arnold: I hope they're memorialized somewhere within the Beach Chalet.

Nicole: Oooh, I don't think they are. And I think we have our next project for 2022.

Arnold: The interior of the Beach Chalet was updated from 1936 and 1937, courtesy of the Works Project, Progress Administration's federal art project. This is when Lucian Labault created the massive fresco downstairs, appropriately titled, San Francisco Scenes. Other additions included a new staircase banister made by [00:22:00] woodworker Michael von Meyer and mosaics by Primo Caredio. Then with U.S. entry into World War II, the building was taken over by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and used as a Coastal Defense headquarters.

Nicole: Instead of demolishing the old structure, it was donated to the Boy Scouts, provided they paid to move it. Parks Commissioner Herbert Fleishhacker funded its relocation and the building was moved in the spring of 1925. The first floor was removed and it was moved along Irving Street to 24th Avenue, where five lots between Irving and Judah Streets had been secured for the Boy Scouts. The Sunset District Boy Scout Hall would host meetings a few nights a week at the Clubhouse for 33 years and they also opened the hall for community events on Saturdays and church congregations on Sundays.

Arnold: The Sunset Play Center Nursery School then used the hall during World War II and through 1952 when it, the nursery school, [00:23:00] not the building, relocated to Lawton and Great Highway where it still operates as the Sunset Cooperative Nursery School. The Boy Scouts then sold the property to a contractor in 1958 and that May, guess what happened?

Nicole: Poof!

Arnold: It burns to the ground. The lot was vacant for eight years until the San Francisco Department of Public Health built a new clinic called the Park-Ocean Health Center.

Nicole: So, getting back to Taits at the Beach. In the 1920s, this was the place for socialites and celebrities to enjoy great food and music. Heads of state, including two presidents, boxers, actors, musicians, and regular folks of all sorts, enjoyed the dark paneled rooms, fine art and warm fireplaces. Its reputation for offering alcohol on the down low sustained Taits through Prohibition. But the Great Depression forced [00:24:00] John Tait to close the business in 1931. It reopened as the Edgewater Beach Club, which was soon shut down by police for illegal gambling. And, geez Arnold, what happens to the building in December 1940?

Arnold:  Poof!

Nicole: Burns to the ground. And we actually previously did a podcast about fires at Land's End. That's episode 450. But we may have to do another one about fires that burn buildings near Ocean Beach.

Arnold: So much going up in flames.

Nicole: So many fires.

Arnold: If you recall from part two of our Great Highway discussion, residents hoping to improve the neighborhood began calling it Oceanside around 1903. That name seems to have faded from use during the 1920s. From that decade through the 1950s, undeveloped land was filled in with stucco-clad houses built-in rows by speculative builders that [00:25:00] looked identical to those that filled in the middle Sunset District, which blurred the lines between both neighborhoods.

Nicole: Yeah. And I have to say some people say that this neighborhood is meh, because like, these buildings are so bland and I would respectfully like to fight anybody who says that. But that's an off-air conversation and we don't have to get into that here. Because of Great highway’s really long history of road houses, every building seems to pick up a little lore. Take, for example, 2600 Great Highway, also known as 3655 Vicente Street and 2650 Great Highway, also known as 50 Cutler Avenue.

Arnold: We've actually heard that these buildings were once used as a speakeasy and brothel during the prohibition era. They were both constructed in 1927, six years before prohibition was repealed. [00:26:00] They did open as small restaurants, with a man named Ulysses Ciati running the business on Cutler, and a family-oriented business called the Chickery, offering 50-cent chicken dinners, at Vicente. We cannot confirm that these buildings were used as either a speakeasy or brothel, but sadly, neither restaurant survived the Depression.

Nicole: Which is why I think, that they were not speakeasies and a brothel because they probably would have survived the Depression. But I don't know. Unproved history. The same year these restaurants were built, a $9 million highway bond was passed that provided supervisors with $1 million for Great Highway’s development. They proposed a recreation strip that would be 400-feet wide and consist of a pair of roadways with a median, a continuously landscaped lawn with a walkway and bridle path, along the entire Sunset [00:27:00] District shoreline.

Arnold: They had estimated that this would cost $600,000, and the project that was dedicated in June 1929 would include a seawall on the upper portion just below the Cliff House and the entire highway to Sloat Boulevard, where Fleishhhacker pool and playground had just been completed. Other aspects of this, of this design, included three additional underpass tunnels at Fulton, Judah, and Taraval Streets. Each section with a streetcar terminus.

Nicole: And because this is necessary, restrooms were also added, two above-ground at Judah and Taraval and an underground facility at Fulton Street. Because who doesn't love an underground bathroom situation managed by the city? A third road, what is today called Lower Great Highway, east of the berm, was built and used as a service road to the highway where trucks and slow-moving traffic could travel. And on the highway’s East side, there was a large [00:28:00] lawn broken up by planting beds for shrubs, and the roadway was lined with electric lights. Ooh, fancy. Traffic signals were also provided for high use times along the Lower Great Highway.

Arnold: Now this improvement continued in anticipation of the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939 and 40. This is when the 49-mile drive scenic automobile route was created by the Downtown Association to promote San Francisco. And Great Highway, a main feature of this scenic drive, received upgrades as a central tourist attraction. Which is interesting because we've heard that, as one of the main arguments to shut down a portion of Great Highway to traffic is that, since it's a main tourist destination, our coastline should not be just a highway, it should also be a walkway.

Nicole: Interesting how the narrative shifts with every new generation. So, after severe storms in [00:29:00] 1940, a 665-foot-long seawall was built near Taraval in 1941 in order to prevent flooding of the underpass. If you're wondering why you can't see the wall today, it's because sand has buried it over time. That's another major storyline here out at the beach along with everything burns down. Not long afterwards, the U.S. Navy placed a lookout station on Great Highway between Noriega and Ortega Streets in light of World War II. And permission for that was not revoked by the Park Commission until 1963, which is super interesting.

Arnold: In 1942, a sweeping machine was also purchased by the Park Department to deal with the sand drifting onto the roadway. Something that has continued nonstop over time. Thus began the never-ending battle to control the dunes from creeping onto the highway. What began as eight lanes of traffic was reduced to four lanes and [00:30:00] the roadway often got closed to traffic. A situation that still survives today.

Nicole: And this feels like the right time to end part three of the ongoing and unfolding saga of Great Highway’s history. We'll kind of motor into the modern era, if you will, whenever we get to the next section. But I think if there's any takeaways here, I, we wanna emphasize that one, improvements to the road have always at least tried to balance recreation with car travel, because the two are critical components of how people come to and experience the west side. And, as we move further along, you see that again and again. And I, what a, I'm so glad my job is not to figure this out on the city level because, dear Lord, what an interesting journey it's been.

Arnold: It is, however, our job to say, Say What Now? Oh, [00:31:00] this is all about you here, so why don't you say it?

Nicole: So, this piece of information wasn't like a major, this isn't a major addition to Great Highway, but I really like horses. So here we go. In 1933, a Nunan Memorial Horse Fountain, sculpted by M. Earl Cummings was added near the playground, although a later renovation of Great Highway required its removal and relocation to the Bercut Equitation Ring in Golden Gate Park in 1968. Unclear if it's still there. So, podcast listeners activate! Let us know if you can still verify its survival. Also, I may just walk over there cause it's very close to my house and there's actual horses there now, which is delightful.

Arnold: Which brings us, of course, to listener mail. So, Nicole, how does one actually send us listener?

Nicole: [00:32:00] It's so very easy. You just email us, podcast@outsidelands.org, or you can find us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and send us a message on any of those platforms and generally Arnold and I will receive it.

Arnold: And before we get into this week's listener mail, I'd like to ask for listeners to write in and say whether or not they want to hear us read a list of improvement clubs as one of our podcasts.

Nicole: Maybe we could get Woody on for that. It could be like a very dramatic reading.

Arnold: I mean, we could add like, like a little one or two sentence about what each improvement club did or something, but there are a lot of them.

Nicole: Or maybe we could like, like chime a gong after each one. Like sort of a, a memorial service to each improvement club.

Arnold: Where oh where, have the improvement clubs gone?

Nicole: They're [00:33:00] still very active. They're just called different things now.

Arnold: Right

Nicole: But Woody used to say that we owe a great debt to society for, he didn't say it like this cause I'm gonna get in trouble, but he was like, if women hadn't been squashed down for most of their lives and their most of human history, all of their energy wouldn't have been funneled into improvement clubs because they would've been able to run companies and do all the other things that men have been able to do for generations. But because they weren't, they were civically engaged. So, thank god for sexism or our city wouldn't be half as nice. He did not say it like that. He's gonna kill me.

Arnold: Write Woody LaBount…no, we won't go there. In any event, responding to our Facebook post about podcast 471 about the heavyweight boxing champ that trained at Ocean Beach, [00:34:00] Denise wrote in to say, quote, “awesome. I'm teaching an early history of boxing class next week and never saw this photo before. Thanks.” And Denise, we gotta ask, where are you teaching this history class.

Nicole: Right.

Arnold: And how do we sign up for it?

Nicole: I mean, when I was at SF Stake, State, I had, gosh, I'm having a hard time with words tonight. I took a history and literature of baseball class and I remember when I signed up for it thinking, I can't believe I am paying someone to, more accurately, my parents are paying someone, to take this class. Like this doesn't feel like I should be allowed to have this much fun.

Arnold: It, along those lines, when I was in law school, in your third year, you have to do this research project, you know, on, on the subject or whatever the class was. I took a class on discrimination. And so, my subject that I wrote about in this class for law school was discrimination in baseball.

Nicole: Oh, solid.

Arnold: [00:35:00] I got an A in that class.

Nicole: I bet you did.

Arnold: One of my very few As in law school.

Nicole: Don't worry, he's a great lawyer everybody. Well, yeah, like my, one of my professors, Jules Tygell, he wrote his entire thesis on Jackie Robinson. He was one of the first scholars to take Jackie Robinson seriously as an academic historical topic. And unfortunately, he passed away, but it was an incredible class. Like we really dug into like baseball as a business and, but then the mythology around it. This has really gotten off the rails, but, it's the longest listen, almost random listener mail ever. But now we're just like, we're writing in our own listener mails.

Arnold: In any event, thank you Denise, and we hope you are a member of the WNP. Because there are so many benefits about being a member and Nicole, what are they?

Nicole: A smooth transition, Arnold. [00:36:00] So you get the quarterly membership magazine, discounts on events and other exclusive perks. But you know what? Your membership supports all the good work we do and make available for free. Like this podcast. Also, OpenSFHistory. The care and exhibition of the Cliff House collection. So, you know, we're up to all kinds of things all the time. And we really appreciate when people support us annually and become part of the family. You can do that by clickety, clickety, clacking the big orange button on our website. That's outsidelands.org or OpenSFHistory.org. And thank you in advance for supporting our nonprofit history work.

Arnold: And your support also leads us to what we're about to talk about in announcements.

Nicole: Yeah, this section is for all the crazy things that we're up to. Like sadly, the sun setting on The Museum at The Cliff. Our last [00:37:00] day of normal general admission hours was September 25th, last Sunday. And if you're thinking, oh shoot, I thought we were gonna get longer with this museum, don't worry. You get one more day because we're doing a last hurrah, where you can visit our history gallery in the former gift shop and special exhibition Naiad Cove in the former Cliff House restaurant. We will be open on Saturday. October 15th for one last run from 11 to 5:00 PM in conjunction with MKThink’s Community Day at Edge Fest on Great Highway.

Arnold: But that's not all. We're also throwing a Bon Voyage party on Sunday, October 16th, where you'll get the cheapest refreshments in your life at the Cliff House. You'll watch the sunset, mingle with people who made the museum happen and celebrate Ben Wood's incredible projections one last time. Look for that on our [00:38:00] events page, on the website, outsidelands.org/events.

Nicole: And we are winding down our events for the year, but we'll be having one more history walk. It's our annual spooky City Cemetery walk in Lincoln Park, led by the inimitable John Martini. And if you've never done this walk before, you'll want to join in as part of your Halloween prep. It really is the best. Plus, City Cemetery has recently moved forward with landmarking. So, you have a chance to really experience this special, brand-new landmark or almost brand-new landmark in San Francisco. That’s Saturday, October 29th at 5:00 PM. Tickets are $10 for members and $20 for non-members. And like Arnold said earlier, you can get to all of these event registrations either on Eventbrite, where you can follow us, so you get the latest events emailed to you immediately, or from our website outsidelands.org on our events tab.

Arnold: And I'd also note that this landmarking of City Cemetery slash Lincoln [00:39:00] Park was spearheaded by our friends at SF Heritage.

Nicole: Absolutely. And props to Connie Chan for all the work that she did, supervisor Connie Chan, while the work she did getting this moved forward. So, congratulations everyone, quite a feat. And I can, I can't, I can't wait to be able to celebrate this special part of San Francisco with you on October 29th. Arnold, what the heck is our preview for next week?

Arnold: Well Nicole, we've actually touched on a major work by Diego Rivera before, but we are returning to paint a brighter, more vibrant picture of his epic mural. Thank you for being with us dear listeners. WNP loves you. That's our button that we've been giving away all summer at the, at The Museum at The Cliff.

Nicole: I decided we needed a tagline. You know how like, some folks, you know, like every, every news anchor has a signature like sign off. I don't know if WNP [00:40:00] loves you is it, but I'm trying to find one for ourselves. But anyways.

Arnold: Probably not quite, “That's the way it was.”

Nicole: Yeah, no, exactly right. Like we have to, we have to find it, Arnold. You and are gonna have to brainstorm.

Arnold: Of course…

Nicole: In the meantime…

Arnold: …the reference I just made, nobody younger than the age of 50 is gonna recognize.

Nicole: Who was that? Edward Murrow? Or…

Arnold: I believe that was Walter Cronkite.

Nicole: Okay. Yeah. Yeah, well, you know.

Arnold. But you can write in and let me know I'm wrong about that.

Nicole: Well, anyways listeners, have an epic evening or the rest of your day. We'll see you for another epic podcast next week.

Arnold. Bye now.

Nicole: Goodbye.

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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