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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 480: New(ish) West Side Landmarks

Arnold Woods chats with Woody LaBounty about the process of creating a historical landmark; then they go over some recently-designated west side landmarks: City Cemetery, Trocadero Clubhouse, and the Ingleside Terraces Sundial.
by Nicole Meldahl - Nov 5, 2022

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 480: New(ish) West Side Landmarks Outside Lands Podcast Episode 480: New(ish) West Side Landmarks

(above) Entrada Court, circa 1914

Sundial with two mechanical sea lions in pool; people looking on; [88]

Podcast Transcription

480 New(ish) West Side Landmarks
Arnold: [00:00:00] It's Outside Lands San Francisco, Podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I am not Nicole Meldahl, I am Arnold Woods. Nicole is on assignment this week, so I'm filling in for her on this interview podcast that we're gonna do. And this week we wanted to talk about some recent west side official San Francisco landmarks, and who better to talk about that than former WNP Executive Director, former San Francisco Heritage Vice President of Advocacy and Programs, and the originator with David Gallagher of this podcast, Woody LaBounty. Welcome Woody.
Woody: Thank you Arnold. I guess I'm a lot of formers, but I'm a nothing present.
Arnold: You know, you are gonna be the first person featured for a second time on the podcast interview.
Woody: Oh.
Arnold: Nicole talked with you a few months back. It [00:01:00] was about your San Francisco Story program. But this time we want to go back and look at some landmark initiatives that you helped spearhead and which have come to fruition recently or maybe coming to fruition soon. So let's dive in and maybe we can start before we get into these landmarks and talk about the, what is the process that San Francisco uses to get something landmarked?
Woody: Right. And why would you, why would you landmark something? Why?
Arnold: Right.
Woody: The whole point of the landmark program. That's an excellent question, Arnold. So there is a provision in the city charter. It's actually an article, Article 10, that covers this. What makes a San Francisco City landmark? And, I maybe I talked about this last time I had this conversation with Nicole, but, but essentially the way I look at it is a, a landmarking, a local landmark in San [00:02:00] Francisco, is about a couple of things.
One is, it's recognition and celebration of something that is important or relevant to the City's history? Why San Francisco is San Francisco. This thing has something to do with it, and it is important to it. The second thing, is it a landmark designation. It basically offers a little bit of protection and a review process you might say, at the very least of if there's any changes proposed for site structure, mural, whatever it is. So those are the two main reasons that the city has a landmark program. It's been around for 50 years or something, and, there's about 300 landmarks that are currently designated in the city.
Arnold: And so if something were to be [00:03:00] proposed for becoming a landmark in San Francisco, what is the process to get you to that point where it gets landmarked?
Woody: Good question. It's not simple. Like most things in San Francisco or, or most big cities, there is a long process. There's a lot of due diligence, and I, I think the important thing is, every square inch of San Francisco real estate is worth so much money that they wanna make sure they don't, uh, put any sort of restrictions or bureaucracy attached to a property that might stop it from being changed or developed or modified.
So they're very careful about landmarks. It's not done very arbitrarily. But the process, there's a couple of ways you get it started. Anybody can desi..., or can suggest a landmark. You, Arnold Woods could say, the place where Western Neighborhoods Project was originated is so important to the history of the city, I want it to be a [00:04:00] landmark. And you could do that. You could suggest that to the city planning department, and they would start the process.
Arnold: That place on Stanyan Street.
Woody: Yeah. Yeah. So, so put it in Arnold, then I'll support you. The problem with that is planning has so much on its plate. It basically takes, your suggestion goes, "thank you very much," and puts it on the list.
And it's a long list of their landmark work program. And something, some sites have been on that list for a decade. So they get around to it when they have to get around to it and I could be forever. The second and kind of better way. Well, I think the better way to get a landmark done is if one of the cities eleven district supervisors initiates it. If one of the supervisors says, "hey, I think this should be a landmark, and I'm going to start the legal process to see if it can happen," then that puts everybody on a clock. The planning department has to essentially write a [00:05:00] report within 90 days, responding to the supervisor's initiation and say, "okay, we looked into it, we did research.
We think this is why it's important, what aspects of it are important," and brings that back to the Board of Supervisors and the Historic Preservation Commission. So that's the way to do it. If I was gonna get a landmark done, I would go to a supervisor and try to ask them to get it started.
Arnold: Now there's some groups such as Heritage that are big advocates for sites and so are they usually going through this process where they are suggesting something to a supervisor to get the supervisor to get this process started.
Woody: Well, when I was there, that is the way it was done. I basically thought it was my job to well, a get landmarks done is a good thing because it's good for preservation. So we were, we were an advocacy organization that is devoted to the [00:06:00] cultural and architectural character of the city, the unique character of San Francisco. So I was all for landmarks. If we could make as many landmarks as possible, that'd be great. Assuming they're relevant and, you know, worthwhile.
So yeah, that's what I would do. I would go to a supervisor. Heritage often has to put out a lot of fires. They have a lot of things that they do, but I think that one of their advocacy issues is always trying to find ways to protect unique and important structures and works of art and legacy businesses in the city, and the landmark system is a way to do that.
Arnold: And we've been talking about the San Francisco landmark process, but there's also, state and national landmark processes, and I know San Francisco has some of each of those. Is there a difference as to how, if you know, how a state or a national landmark process works?
Woody: Yeah, they're, they're, they're pretty different. [00:07:00] If you wanted to, and let me say this, the, the most sort of binding and kind of protective status is the local landmark, actually. You think it might be the national, but the city of San Francisco, local jurisdiction, you know, we create a landmark that has better protection to a property than if something's on the National Register of Historic Places, which is kind of the national landmark system. That is very much a celebratory and commemorative sort of framework that the US government creates. But it doesn't have a lot of sort of protections really. If you somebody wanted to tear that building down, it gives them a lit, gives people a little ammunition to save it. But it's the local landmark that has the, the bigger thing.
So how do you do this? You could, you could, you basically nominate and create a report that goes to the keeper of the National Register in Washington DC and it goes through [00:08:00] a whole system where it comes out of the local government in San Francisco. It goes to Historic Preservation Commission, then goes to the State, State Historic Preservation Office in Sacramento. They have a whole hearing on it. Then it goes to the keeper. So basically, City says, yep, we think so. State of California says, yep, we think so. Then sends it to the keeper in Washington DC who could still say, nah, I don't think so, or you need to do more work on it. So, there is a lot of steps and processes to get to the National Register.
But if something's on the national register, it goes on the state register, which is called the California Register of Historic Places. And how these all kind of interact or why they're important. A lot of them are celebratory, but especially now with California creating all these state housing bills, sometimes if something is designated a landmark, whether it's national or state or local, can provide an exception from some of these [00:09:00] density bonus laws that, you know, say, oh, we want to cut through red tape so you can build anything you want. If you, if something's a historic resource, and it's one of these landmarks, it could exclude it from that process. And, and it doesn't mean they won't be developed, it just means there's a, there's a review process.
Arnold: So let's dig into one of the more recent landmark cases here in San Francisco. And just last weekend, the Western Neighborhoods Project was doing its annual spooky Halloween history walk.
Woody: Oh.
Arnold: Which takes place in Lincoln Park. And that's because Lincoln Park used to be city cemetery. We actually have a podcast that you did a long time ago on City Cemetery. It's podcast episode number 196. But just recently, very recently in fact, it became a city landmark. What can you tell us about that?
Woody: So that I, you know, that was one of the things I'm most proud of [00:10:00] in my time at Heritage, was helping to get that created as a city landmark. And it's a unique landmark. So, you know, usually you think of a landmark or somebody says, oh, that's a landmark. They think of a building like, City Hall or Mission Dolores or Harvey Milk's camera store, right? Something that people just think of a building. But City Cemetery- slash- Lincoln Park, is the city's first essentially archeological landmark.
Because it doesn't say we're protecting a certain building or structure. What it's saying is, this is a space where not only up to 30,000 San Franciscans were buried. But maybe half of that, those people are still there under the golf course. So it is, it is commemorating and calling out that. And because so many of those individuals who are buried there represent [00:11:00] such a, all the diversity of San Francisco's populations and cultures, that it's, it's a very important thing to the Chinese-American community to the Italian and French and Scandinavian pioneers who built the city of San Francisco.
So, it has a lot of relevance to a lot of different groups. And it took two years, but because district supervisor Connie Chan, again, initiated it, it, it happened pretty quickly. And it's really brought a lot of attention to the history of City Cemetery and groups like, like Chinatown associations and Chinese American community have essentially reclaimed part of that space as an important place relevant to their culture.
Arnold: Yeah. When we were doing the history walk last weekend, when we went to the Kong Chow funerary temple, we happened to meet a gentleman who was there taking care of the monument there in [00:12:00] the area. His name was Van Wong. We were very honored to meet him. Maybe you can explain a little bit about the Kong Chow funerary Temple, which is one of the few remaining City Cemetery monuments that is around.
Woody: Yeah, there's really two, you know, and City Cemetery, Lincoln Park, think of the golf course. It used to just be covered in windmills and fences and monuments and tombstones and grave markers. All these different communities had different sections of this municipal cemetery, and they tended to them, they improved them, they fenced off things. So, the Chinese associations, there were different associations from Chinatown, and they basically represented and supported groups from specific areas in China. Right?
So, it's like your home village, right? You got people who [00:13:00] are coming from the same area. It's like if you went to China, Arnold, and you'd meet a bunch of other San Franciscans and they'd say, "hey, we San Franciscans have to look out for each other. We're going to like, you know, if you kick off, if something bad happens to you, we'll make sure you get buried okay Arnold. So don't worry about it." That's what these associations were doing.
And so, there were some twenty-odd Chinese associations that had room in City Cemetery. And most of them had funerary structures where they could have religious rites to help see off their members. As I said, there was like twenty of them and now there's really only one structure left, and that's the Kong Chow funerary structure. And the Kong Chow Association is still in Chinatown.
So, it's funny because when the cemetery got turned into a park, way back in the early part of the 20th century, most bodies removed. A lot of them weren't. And there was a [00:14:00] disconnect. There was sort of a cultural loss. I don't think the Kong Chow Association even remembered after a while that that funerary structure was attached to them, that that structure in Lincoln Park. But now, like I said, Chinatown has reclaimed that and we've had a couple of nice events there. Basically, ancestral remembrance days in the Chinese calendar in which groups have come together. Brought back the old religious rites and offerings and remembrances and really brought people together just around remembering this practice and all these people who were at City Cemetery.
Arnold: And to expand on that practice a little bit, the way it worked is the Chinese member would get buried for a time in the City Cemetery. And then sometime later, a gentleman would come, disinter the body, clean the [00:15:00] bones, pack them up into a hermetically sealed box, and then return them to China, where he'd take them back and return them to the villages where these people had originally come from. So as a consequence, there are perhaps less of the Chinese people were buried there who were still there. As opposed to some of the other areas and, and particularly the, there was two large areas for indigent people that were buried there who San Francisco probably never moved.
Woody: Yeah, they didn't.
Arnold: So...
Woody: Yeah, you know, it's, yeah, you're right Arnold. I mean, they, it was basically part of like a Buddhist or Daoist ceremony that you would be buried for about four years was the average. And then your association would make sure that your bones pulled out, cleaned and returned to lie with the bones of your ancestors and in your home [00:16:00] village or your home area. So that was a big thing. And the city, it's, you know, the city was very, society in general was very racist to these organizations and the Chinese Americans and basically kept pushing them farther west. And then, when they would disinter a member to ship them back to China, the city charged them a permit fee. And so, a lot, a lot of like plans to move the cemeteries out of the city were based on this idea, we're gonna make so much money off the Chinese associations when they have to disinter all those bodies. And we can get the fees.
But you're right. So, most of the Chinese, Chinese-Americans who were buried there, were, were, were moved, were removed. The Jewish cemetery sections were mostly removed too. The Italians did a big disinterment of their members. But the people who were buried on the county dime, the indigent, the poor, the people who didn't have any other resources and the county had to bury them, they were all [00:17:00] pretty much left in place.
Arnold: You mentioned that the Chinese kept getting pushed west and there was a reason for that. And that was the racism of the times where people did not want people of other races buried with their white relatives. Maybe you can trace a little bit of that history of where the Chinese were originally buried and where they kept getting moved.
Woody: Yeah. You know, so in the very early days of San Francisco, like 1850, we had a cemetery where the library is today, the main library called Yerba Buena Cemetery. And they had different sections for everybody there, but it closed really fast to new burials. And then you had private cemeteries around Lone Mountain. And essentially the Chinese were able to secure a section of the Laurel Hill Cemetery, which is kind of where Laurel Heights is today. But they were put in way west corner, almost, well, [00:18:00] the Japanese were particularly put in the west corner, but the Chinese had a little closer.
But then it didn't take long, this was a, a very common thing that kept happening. People would come out, they'd have ceremonies, they'd have funerals for people, and sort of white society just saw that as the other, you know, it's non-Christian. It's these Chinese who are often underneath, you know, these times when it was just anti-Asian hate. Right? And about 1877 was a very terrible time. So, anything that was very prejudiced against Chinese workers and Chinese people would blow back to the cemetery issue and the funerals.
So finally, they, they were, an ordinance was passed by the Board of Supervisors to say they couldn't be in Laurel Hill anymore, cause there were too many, too much development in neighbors nearby. So, they put 'em way out in City Cemetery, which was also a municipal cemetery. So, the city sort of had to have, have that place to [00:19:00] bury that they're dead somewhere. Right. So, it's sort of on the city's shoulders.
Arnold: You mentioned earlier that the Kong Chow funerary temple is one of two remaining monuments from City Cemetery. Tell us about the other.
Woody: Yeah, this is a funny one. It's, it's, it's a zinc obelisk. It's about 15 feet high. You can see it if you're up in the upper parking lot. You can kind of see it between holes 13 and 15 on the golf course. It was ordered out of a catalog, but it was essentially marking the Ladies Seaman's Friend Society plot. Which were, these are sailors and merchant seamen who essentially didn't have resources.
So, a benevolent society, a charitable society was formed by a Mrs. Rebecca H. Lambert to, you know, make sure they got a proper burial. And a guy named Henry Cogswell, who, who loved monuments [00:20:00] and, you know, basically donated them all across the country, ordered one of these to celebrate Rebecca Lambert and mark this burial ground for merchant seamen. So, it has like anchors on one side. It has a whole sort of testimony to her great beneficence. It has, you know, sailors on one side. And it's still there. And it's really, I think because it was a big, giant 15-foot zinc thing, it was left in place. And I, I think it, and the Kong Chow funerary structure were sort of left there by the city as, I don't know, almost, follies or curiosities to decorate the golf course. But everything else was pulled out, unless it's underneath the turf.
Arnold: Or they were simply too big and expensive to move and they decided to go on the cheap there.
Woody: Yeah, it might have been, it might have been.
Arnold: Right next to that Seaman's Memorial, [00:21:00] there are some stones in the ground with the Lambert name on it. Do we believe that Mrs. Lambert was buried there too?
Woody: I think I looked into that and she wasn't. So, I think that stone, that kind of curb stone that has her name on it, was just part of the recognition of her. She died like right after so, or right before. So, they knew, I think, she was on her way out or she had just passed away and they wanted to sort of celebrate her. But it's kind of ironic she gets so much press on that monument way more than the, the sailors who were buried around her. You almost, they're almost kind of ignored, on the monument itself.
Arnold: So, moving on from City Cemetery, they, there's another landmark, proposal that is currently being discussed and that's the Parkside branch library. [00:22:00] What can you tell us about that process and where it's at right now?
Woody: Well, the process is the district supervisor Gordon Mar, at the, I don't know, suggestion of a new affinity group called Parkside Heritage and San Francisco Heritage too, decided to initiate it and bring it forward to the Board of Supervisors. I think it was last week, October 25th, something like that. And that'll start the process. It should go pretty fast, because, just some background on the Parkside Library. Some people might have visited it. They grew up in the Parkside, but it's on Taraval just off 24th Avenue in a, in a park.
And it is, it was sort of a groundbreaking branch library. It was part of this bond issue that started a whole bunch of modern style libraries in the city and it's brick and it's got big windows that are kind of slanted. It has a [00:23:00] fireplace. And the whole idea the architects were going for, which was revolutionary in 1951, was to make it feel like a suburban home and to make it feel less formal. Make it feel like, oh I wanna go in there and sit next to the fireplace and with my mid-century modern lamp next to me, read a book, you know. And, and it was really groundbreaking and a lot of other branch libraries were created by the architects Appleton and Wofford, in this style. So, the Marina Branch Library, which is a city landmark, Excelsior, Western Edition. There was a number of them that were built in the fifties.
But the Parkside was the first one, and the only reason it didn't get made a landmark before, was when the modern branch libraries were brought forward for consideration of landmarking, there was a renovation project underway at the Parkside library. And the library [00:24:00] system, was a little shy. This, this is a very common theme. They were like, oh if you make it a landmark, it's gonna mess up everything. We won't be able to like do what we wanna do because there'll be all these restrictions or bureaucracy. This is the city talking, right? So, they said, can you just put it on the shelf and do it when we're done with our renovations? And they said, sure. And they finished the reser, renovations, and a decade passed essentially, and nobody ever got around to landmarking it. So, Parkside Heritage brought it back to the supervisor's attention and he brought it to initiate it last week.
Arnold: I would note that we have a podcast about that library branch.
Woody: You have a podcast on everything Arnold.
Arnold: We do. It's episode number 391. Now the Parkside branch library is kind of a second landmark project of the Parkside Heritage Group, because [00:25:00] until very recently, there were no landmarks in the Parkside area.
Woody: That's right.
Arnold: Their first landmark, which again, this is all very recent, was last April when it finally got approved, and that was the Trocadero. Tell us about that process, cause I know Heritage was involved in that as well.
Woody: Yeah. And this all comes out of, you know, we, Heritage started a program called Heritage in the Neighborhoods. And the idea was we would go to a neighborhood, really focus on it for a month. Talk to the people that lived there and worked there, and figure out what they wanted to work on or what they thought was important. And then hopefully they would form their own little group that could just, with our help do things that they thought were important preservation wise or history wise.
And Parkside Heritage is one of the most successful. They decided after meeting and talking to the supervisor that the most historic building in the Parkside was the Trocadero, which [00:26:00] it is. The Trocadero is an old roadhouse that was built in the early 1890s, and it's down in Stern Grove, so you don't see it unless you actually go down the hill from 19th Avenue and Sloat, down into the trees and through the eucalyptus. And then you see this incredible, sort of, stick East Lake Victorian building, with a tower shingled down there. People have weddings and parties there. It's a clubhouse in a lot of ways for the park, but it's an incredible building with great integrity and just very, very ornate and calls back to that time and definitely, probably the oldest building in the southwest corner of San Francisco.
So, it was sort of a no brainer for landmarking in the sense that architecturally, it's interesting and it's in great shape. It has a lot of cultural history. It's kind of like predates the Parkside neighborhood. So, it's tied into the neighborhood's development [00:27:00] and it's, culture as it's cre, as it's been created. So, Parkside Heritage asks the supervisor to nominate it. We got a lot of letters and support for it. And after a decent process of kind of creating the report and doing the research and, and getting Rec and Park on board cause again, they're all worried about maintenance, we got a landmark and I'm very happy.
And by the way, this is a good time. Arnold. I love the Trocadero as a roadhouse. David Gallagher and I are going to do an event on November 16th at seven o'clock about Roadhouses of San Francisco. So we're going to focus on all sorts of roadhouses and what they meant to the city. And we're gonna of course talk about the Trocadero. So go to San Francisco story.com and you can sign up for that event if you wanna come.
Arnold: And of course, we do have a podcast about the Trocadero as well. Once again, episode [00:28:00] 340. You can hear in that podcast, but I'm gonna have you tell a little bit of it and how there's some interesting history to the family that originally built the building.
Woody: Yeah. The Green family.
Arnold: Perhaps you can recount some of that.
Woody: Sure. It was actually built under the auspices of George Green, who was one of, there was, well anyway, there were a lot of Greens. There were seven brothers that came from like New Brunswick to San Francisco in the early days of San Francisco. And they were, I would call them squatters, but they basically kind of claim some land around different parts of Western San Francisco and in the Mission. And, but they, they really held onto and stuck with the land that was around Pine Lake, which is where Stern Grove is today. So those eucalyptus and the trees that are in that gully that lead to Pine Lake were all planted by Green family members. And they grew potatoes. [00:29:00] They had their own little roadhouses.
And then George Green Junior, I think it is, built the Trocadero in 1892 thinking as the city was expanding and as pleasure seekers would go west and rented buggies to like have a good time at the beach. That he tried to capture some of that business and have people come down to this new resort down in the gully. Like all roadhouses, that followed a, a very sort of similar trajectory, it starts off with really high hopes. This is going to be so classy, you know, you can bring women. We're gonna have like, you know, string quartets. It's gonna be so nice. It's gonna be like Newport. And then immediately there's no business. And they started like letting gamblers in, have trained bear acts. It's like boxing, legal dog fights, whatever will get to get them, get some business. They go through a number of operators. And if you're really a [00:30:00] roadhouse in the end, there'll be an accidental fire and the whole thing will burn out. But the Trocadero avoided that last bit luckily. But it followed everything else essentially in the trajectory of a roadhouse life.
Arnold: I do believe, if I recall correctly, that there's still a bullet hole that can be found in the door or a wall next to a door somewhere.
Woody: Yeah, it was supposed to be. This is not true by the way. There is a bullet hole, but people like to say, that it was when they captured Abe Ruef, who was a notorious boss, political graft guy, boss of San Francisco, that was put on trial after the 1906 earthquake. And it's true he was actually captured or arrested, you might say, at the Trocadero. He was hiding out there, but there were no, there was no gun play, no, no gunfire. He just like went with the cops. So.
Arnold: So let's talk about one more West Side landmark, and this [00:31:00] is one where you literally wrote the book on it. And that's the Ingleside Terraces Sundial.
Woody: Oh yeah.
Arnold: Which is approved by the Board of Supervisors on September 28th, 2021. What can you tell us about that landmark?
Woody: Well, I'm sure we have a podcast about the Sundial.
Arnold: We do. It's number 29. One of the very earliest.
Woody: Well, cause it's a goofy thing. But it was a good landmarking. You know, the, the supervisor who was termed out, Norman Yee, of the area, and he lived in neighborhood, he brought it forward as a landmark near the end of his time on the Board of Supervisors. And I would say that preservation was not something he really, it was not on his agenda most of the time in his eight years on the board of supervisors. But at the end he decided, I gotta like try to get this thing landmarked. So, the Sundial is part of a little round park, little sort of round street called Entrada Court [00:32:00] in Ingleside Terraces. And Ingleside Terraces is basically, east of San Francisco State and west of City College and just south of Ocean Avenue. And it's got winding streets and curving roads.
And then hidden in there is Entrada Court, which has this round park with a sundial and benches that encircle it and grass and some urns and some pedestals. All very classical Greek looking. It's crazy. Like why would you have a sundial there? First of all, it's kind of hidden away. It's in the foggiest part of town pretty much, so you can't read it a lot of the time. And the other thing I think is kind of ironic is they dedicated it at night when it actually couldn't work at all. But it was all the brainchild of the developer of Ingleside Terraces, who was Joseph Leonard.
And the short story is he created a master-planned [00:33:00] residence community, this residence park of Ingleside Terraces, but he was competing with St. Francis Wood and Forest Hill and other sort of high end, west of Twin Peaks developments in the 1910s.
Arnold: So, you need a gimmick.
Woody: Exactly. And you know, he couldn't compete so much with St. Francis Wood, which had this beautiful giant gateway and fountains and just like really over the top. And Forest Hills had this incredible stairway with these 20-foot-wide urns on each side of it. So, I think he thought about this idea after those got started and said, “I gotta do something.” So, he decided he'd build, quote, “the world's biggest sundial” which would hopefully draw in buyers to go check it out. And just seemed like some sort of classical street furniture amenity to the neighborhood. Give it an identity.
Arnold: Do we know if it was, at least at the time, the biggest sundial in the world? [00:34:00]
Woody: It was not.
Arnold: Of course not.
Woody: You know, when you're trying to sell real estate, you say anything. It was definitely not the biggest at the time. It's not even the biggest in San Francisco now. The one on Bayview Hill, I think, is bigger. But it was a good gimmick. He also tried to tie in the opening of the Panama Canal, which was coming around that time. Basically saying it was somehow commemorating that. And the opening of the Twin Peaks tunnel, which was far more relevant to his development. And that is the tunnel that goes from Market Street to West Portal, bringing street car lines to the southwest part of town, and hopefully, people who would buy his real estate in Ingleside Terraces.
Arnold: It sounds like Leonard is kind of like the Whitney brothers in terms of promoting things and you know, the biggest gift shop in the world,
Woody: Yeah, he tried. He tried and, you know, he was a great architect and a, and a smart developer in a lot of ways. But he also had a very theatrical nature. I mean, just like the de, [00:35:00] the dedication of the Sundial. He wrote the whole pageant of how it would be dedicated and he had little children in Colonial dress and other ones dressed like Isadora Duncans and had a whole magic wand and colored lights. And, you know, he wrote a whole like passion play to dedicate the Sundial. So, he had a theatrical bent to him, I think.
Arnold: Well that's great. These are some of the places that have been landmarked in a little over the last year or maybe landmarked soon. Cause you Woody were a very busy man at San Francisco Heritage.
Woody: Yep.
Arnold: Would note that a few of the other West Side landmarks include Roosevelt Middle School, the El Ray Theater, Ingleside Presbyterian Church. There's some others too. There's a list of them on the San Francisco planning website. And also, if podcast listeners wanna get more involved in preserving the cultural heritage that we see around us, they [00:36:00] can go to sfplanning.org/landmark-designation-program and they can get started there. Or they can contact their supervisors or get involved with organizations like San Francisco Heritage or Parkside Heritage.
Woody: Yeah, I think if you live in the Parkside, definitely call Parkside Heritage up and talk, email them. And San Francisco Heritage can probably send you to the right people if they're not able to help. So, I would al, I would always start with San Francisco Heritage.
Arnold: Well, thank you very much, Woody. And this brings us now to our Say What Now segment. And typically, in an interview podcast like this, we would ask questions of the interviewee, Woody in this case, about certain things like favorite burrito or whatever. Well, we've done this with you before.
Woody: My answers are the same too. I don't change.
Arnold: Right, so I'm gonna hit [00:37:00] you with something that you're not prepared for, but you recently brought up yourself. And I'm gonna have you tell the story behind your appearance in a movie with David Duchovny.
Woody: How is this relevant?
Arnold: The, the Say What Now segment is about things that aren't relevant to what we talked about.
Woody: Yeah.
Arnold: But are fascinating nonetheless.
Woody: Well, if you want like details on Woody's crazy life, I do recommend that listeners sign up for my weekly email at sanfranciscostory.com. I send out something about San Francisco history every Wednesday, but I often, often talk about the crazy things that I've done or my family has been part of. So, David Duchovny, who's I guess is most famous for the X-Files still, I don't know.
Arnold: Yeah.
Woody: He, when I was a, when I was a younger man, I was a variety artist, circus performer, sometimes actor. And I got called to do a, [00:38:00] a made for TV movie called Baby Snatcher. And what I remember is I, I had no part really, I had no speaking line, although there was a chance I was gonna have a speaking line. I was like an FBI agent. And it was about a kidnapping, which, this is a real true-life story. Of course. some baby gets stolen and by an, by another mother who can't have a baby. And I'm the FBI, one of the FBI agents who is supposed to, you know, checking this out, come in from, come in from Washington, DC and get in the local cops business. So, David Duchovny was nobody then, I mean, I didn't know who he was. The big star was, Nancy, what's her name? From, Jo from The Facts of Life. Remember that TV show? Facts of Life?
Arnold: Vaguely.
Woody: Yeah.
Arnold: It wasn't one that I watched, but yeah.
Woody: So, the girl who played Jo was like the mom in Baby Snatcher. So, I was like, oh, there's Jo from The Facts of Life. Anyway, they had this scene where the local cop is going to accuse David Duchovny, [00:39:00] who's the boyfriend, of maybe stealing the baby somehow, cause he didn't wanna be a dad. And David Duchovny’s pacing back and forth, back and forth, while he is being grilled by this police officer. And I'm in the background, kinda leaning against a cabinet watching him warily. And I remember the cinematographer who was filming it said, don't move, just stay right where you are. I'm gonna zero in on your tie as the vanishing point. So, like, okay, so David Duchovny’s like a caged tiger pacing back and forth in front of me. And then at some point the questions get a little too raw and David can't help himself. And he lunges at the detective and I had to jump in and help pull him back with the other people. And when it finished again, the cinematographer said that was brilliant, that was just brilliant. Anyway, later David Duchovny becomes famous and I was like, hey, I tackled that dude. But he does, he, does he ever call me? Does he ever recognize this kinship? No. No. I [00:40:00] never hear from him at all.
Arnold: And that's sad because you sent him on his road to stardom.
Woody: That’s right. That's right. We were in the same place at one point. Well, he had lines and had a, a credit and I was an extra. But, basically the same place, yeah.
Arnold: Well and anybody who wants to see this scene, find Woody's Facebook or Twitter feeds because he posted it not too long ago.
Woody: I know. I found it online on YouTube or stuff, and I was like, hey, I can watch myself in Baby Snatcher.
Arnold: So that was probably by far our most interesting Say What Now segment.
Woody: I wouldn't watch the whole movie. It's not very good, by the way. In fact, my scene isn't very good either. So maybe just forget this whole thing.
Arnold: Now we're gonna have like a Netflix or whoever streams this movie is going to experience a surge in people watching it.
Woody: Oh, I'm sure. I'm sure, yes.
Arnold: Well, thanks again, Woody. And this brings us now to Listener Mail. [00:41:00] And Woody, I'm sure you probably remember this, but how does one send us listener mail?
Woody: Uh, I'm trying to remember. I, is it podcast@outsidelands.org? Is that the way people send listener mail?
Arnold: That is indeed.
Woody: That's pretty good.
Arnold: It's not the only way though. People can also take advantage of our social media presence on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. When we post a podcast to those places, you can comment underneath and myself or Nicole will see it. And you may get featured in the listener mail segment of our podcast.
Woody: What about TikTok?
Arnold: We do not yet have TikTok.
Woody: Oh man.
Arnold: I don’t think we ever will. Maybe some youngster who's in on TikTok will want to take that on for us. I'm not sure how it actually works. I've never been on TikTok myself, but who knows?
Woody: Very simple. It's very similar.
Arnold: Anyways, we did get some listener mail. In [00:42:00] our recent Alvord Lake and Bridge podcast, which was episode 478, we talked about the dastardly Frank Pixley. And afterwards we had not one, but two listeners, Tim and Harry, write in to tell us that there is a short three block alley called Pixley Street. It goes from Steiner to Buchanan Streets between Filbert and Greenwich in the Cow Hollow/Marina area. We thank you both for letting us know that and we wonder if the people who live on that street actually know the whole Pixley story.
Woody: I'm sure they don't. And, and if you keep sharing stories like that, every street will be changed, name wise, so…
Arnold: Probably, yeah, there's a, definitely the people we’re remember from the past, have been painted in good lights since then. Not all of them were so good. In [00:43:00] addition to them, our dear friend Pat Cunneen was inspired to write in after listening to our interview with Lloyd Kahn, which was episode 477, and he said, quote, “Lloyd and I knew each other from way back and from the SRE, SERC. It’s shelter publications were our wonderful insights into different ways of thinking. I collaborated with him on his book, which is called “Over the Hill.” End quote.
Woody: I'm so happy you interviewed Lloyd. I mean, I told, I think I, I sent him your way because I love Lloyd Kahn. I get his email and, and he's just, he's, I don't, how old's he, he's like 80-something and he's like skateboarding and building houses and…
Arnold: Yeah,
Woody: …he's a crazy guy.
Arnold: It, it was a great podcast.
Woody: Inspirational.
Arnold: Pat himself is also cut from that same mold, that's for sure.
Woody: Yeah.
Arnold: And he shared more of his background, which was, in 1995, Pat won his age group in the Double Dipsy race [00:44:00] and also the father-son division. And Pat says, “PS, there was a guy in my age division that I never, ever could best, his name was Darrell Beardal.” But fortunately for Pat, he fell down and he bested him once in a race.
Woody: Because Darrell tripped. The one time Darrell tripped, Pat won.
Arnold: Right. So, take that Darrell, Pat beat ya.
Woody: Pat's 89, I think. I think he turns 89 or 90 soon. So.
Arnold: And now, Woody, are you a member of the Western Neighborhoods Project?
Woody: Yeah, I am. I think it's one of the best values you could have in the city.
Arnold: Let me tell you about some of the perks of being a member of the Western Neighborhoods Project.
Woody: Hey, you don't have to sell me. I'm already a member. I started this organization. I'm on board, man. You don't have to sell me.
Arnold: But there may be somebody out there listening to this podcast who isn't quite a member yet. [00:45:00]
Woody: Okay. Alright, carry on.
Arnold: Let's see what we can do to get that person on board. So, membership gets you our quarterly membership magazine, which recently the, the, I guess the third Quarter magazine went out ear, earlier this month. You get discounts on events, sometimes you get to go into events for free. You get some other exclusive perks and you also support all the good work that we do here and make available for free, which includes, OpenSFHistory.org, which is our photo archive of over 50,000 old historic images of San Francisco. You get this podcast, which has been going on for nearly a decade now.
Woody: I think you started in 2013. You must be coming up on 10 years.
Arnold: Yeah, I think it'll be 10 years come January.
Woody: Yeah, Dave and I, I think we were like, the new year started and I said, let's do a podcast. And we just like [00:46:00] threw it, threw ourselves into it. January. So yeah.
Arnold: And little did you know 10 years later it would still be going strong.
Woody: That makes me happy. Yeah, it's great.
Arnold: We seem to be finding ever more and more specific things to talk about. Plus, we do these, do these interviews now.
Woody: So yeah, I think you guys have done a good job of really broadening and sort of expanding the format. I think that's a, that was a good thing. I think that’s great.
Arnold: And for people who have been with us for the past couple years, you know, we made a a big jump in what we do, when we tackled the Cliff House collection. Buying up all the historic items from the Cliff House auction and then putting them on display at the former Cliff House for much of the past year now. That was a big project. It is now closed and we are now looking for other opportunities to display this collection. First and foremost of which may be here in our office. [00:47:00] We're gonna try to clean things up here and get some of this stuff back on display here so that sometime in 2023, we can start bringing people back into the office and letting them see what we have.
Woody: Yeah. And Arnold, you know, I think this is an excellent time to, for people to become a member because we're getting near the end of the year, and I know at least part of it is tax deductible. So, this is a good time of year to start thinking about who you wanna support, where you want your money to go, to really kind of keep this city interesting and strong and protect things like the Cliff House collection. So, if you, if you're not a member, if you've been on the fence and if you're thinking, you know, maybe it's time I do it, this would be a great time to do it.
Arnold: There's another good reason to do it before the end of this year, and that is, due to our, our printing costs of the magazine have gone way up, you know, during the pandemic here. And, as a result, in 2023, we are gonna have to make a price raise in [00:48:00] membership for people who want to receive the physical copy of the magazine. But that will only be for new members. So, if you're already an existing member by the end of this year, you will get grandfathered in at the $50 a year price. So, now's the time to do it.
Woody: Yeah. Get locked in, right? That's what you're saying?
Arnold: Exactly.
Woody: Okay.
Arnold: And now it is time for announcements. And now that we've ended our public programs for 2022, we are sprucing up our office, as I mentioned, to showcase the Cliff House Collection. We are also gearing up to send all of our people a survey to make sure you are getting what you want and how you want it from the WNP. And all kinds of other, not sexy, but ever so important stuff. And with all this inward facing work going on, we are looking for volunteers. Specific help that we need. [00:49:00] We'd like somebody who's, particularly in video production, to do some content creation for us. We're hoping to get some more collection folks on board to help us ramp up our cataloging and digitizing of our collection. So, we'd like to digitize the whole collection and get everything available online, not just the images. Speaking of online, we need volunteer masters of our website to help us maintain and update the outsidelands.org website. This is not the OpenSFHistory website. We need applicants who understand php, MySQL, which is My-S-Q-L, html, and JavaScript and WordPress. These people should be a junior level to experienced developer. Volunteer positions like this are ideal for someone looking to expand their resume, learn something new. Invest in the work of a small nonprofit in the Richmond District and hang out with hopefully fun people. [00:50:00]
Woody: Hopefully fun.
Arnold: Sense of humor is mandatory here. Your compensation will include frequent high fives, all kinds of snack foods and more. So, if interested, please contact us at wnpoffice@outsidelands.org. We hope to hear from you for any kind of volunteer position here. And look forward to getting you on board for next year. So now we have a preview for next week, and that is, we're not entirely sure yet, but we think it might be the final chapter of the Great Highway saga so we can end with a post-election determination about whether it should stay closed for pedestrians, or should it go open for cars. Yes, that's a Clash reference. So, thank you all for listening. Thank you, Woody, for joining us.
Woody: Sure. [00:51:00]
Arnold: And we will see you all next week. 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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