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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 504: Anza Branch Library

One of the Library's many branches is tucked into a quiet residential neighborhood. Nicole & Arnold look into the story behind the Anza Branch Library.
by Nicole Meldahl - Jun 3, 2023

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 504: Anza Branch Library Outside Lands Podcast Episode 504: Anza Branch Library

(above) Anza Branch Library, 1990s

[Anza Branch Library, 550 37th Ave, original site of Lafayette Elementary School.]

Podcast Transcription

WNP – Anza Branch Library

Nicole: [00:00:00] It's Outside Lands San Francisco, Podcast of Western Neighborhoods Project. Your weekly dose of friendly neighborhood history.

Hello Outside Landers. I'm of course your host, Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: And I am your co-host, Arnold Woods.

Nicole: And I'm here in our, my sunny living room smelling a big, beautiful bouquet of flowers that my boyfriend sent me. Just gonna, just gonna throw that out there right now cause I wanna let you know that I'm in a good place and I'm excited to tell you all about something we're really big fans of here at Western Neighborhoods Project. And that's, naturally, the San Francisco Public Library, which has nothing to do with flowers, but I think my boyfriend really earned this podcast shout out this week. [00:01:00] So I worked it in. Now we love the public library. They've got a great history center on the sixth floor of the Main Library Civic Center, a topic we've actually covered back in episode 316. And their website is a go-to resource for much of our history research, be it for this podcast or articles or presentations or whatever the else we get up to.

Arnold: And the West side has a number of branches of the library. We've previously covered the Richmond and Sunset branches, which were both built with Carnegie Foundation monies, back in episode 211.

Nicole: Ooh.

Arnold: And the Parkside branch in episode 391. And today we are gonna look at an oft overlooked branch that hides in a quiet residential neighborhood. So, come join us at the Anza Branch Library.

Nicole: Yes. And no one's gonna shush you during this podcast, I promise. Unless maybe you listen to it out loud in the library. Don't do that. [00:02:00] So, for those who don't know, the Anza branch of the San Francisco Public Library is located at 550 37th Avenue between Geary Boulevard and Anza Street. And prior to becoming a library branch, the spot on the east side of the middle of the block of 37th Avenue was the location of Lafayette School. Now this was actually the second Lafayette School and was built there in 1909 after the original Lafayette at Filbert and Kearney burned down in 1906 earthquake. Take a drink.

Arnold: The 37th Avenue version of the Lafayette School amounted to little more than two shingled buildings facing each other across a yard. That yard was covered with planks to keep the sand from blowing around, a West side phenomenon that were all well aware of.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Lafayette would move to its new and even current location on Anza between 36th and [00:03:00] 37th, and was dedicated on February 6th, 1927.

Nicole: A lot of schools were getting upgraded at that time, actually. Earthquake or no earthquake. So, momentum for another branch of the library in the Richmond district really got going on April 23rd, 1930, when the Geary Street Merchants Association filed a request with the board of supervisors asking that they approve $75,000 in funding for a new library on the now vacant space on 37th Avenue. The request noted that this, that such a new library branch would serve 120,000 people in the area. Hmm.

Arnold: That number amuses me because I don't know where they got it from.

Nicole: They messed up.

Arnold: Today's Richmond district has about half that many people and was even a lot less populated back then.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: And, of course, they already had the Richmond Branch Library on 9th [00:04:00] Avenue already serving much of the Richmond District. So, thinking the Geary merchants may have been inflating their numbers a little bit to buttress their argument, which was a solid business tactic.

Nicole: Maybe they're like so many new readers are gonna be born between now and the time that this actually gets built. We're just gonna pump up these numbers a smidgen. It's all right. I respect it. I respect the tactics. So nonetheless, at a Board of Education meeting on December 2nd, 1930, they voted to approve the transfer of the former Lafayette school site to the library commission for a new library branch, which makes sense to me, right? Like educate, still educating the neighborhood and educating local kids. On March 3rd, 1931, the Board of Library trustees announced their plans to build a new library on that site with, of course, an expected cost of 75 grand.

Arnold: And fun fact, this was after the [00:05:00] city decision to rename the Richmond District. So, all the papers referred to this as a new library for the, we love this, Park-Presidio district, that kind of never took hold.

Nicole: No.

Arnold: The trustees stated that they had $50,000 from a 1907 charter amendment and another $25,000 that had been approved in the last city budget for this library.

Nicole: So, architect John W. Reid, Jr. was brought on to design and landscape this new branch building. Now you hear that name a lot and you might think, oh, well, that must have been one of the Reid brothers whose Reid and Reid Architecture firm designed many famous San Francisco buildings like maybe things you've heard on this podcast before. Like Adolph Sutro Cliff House or the Spreckels Temple of Music, which you may have learned about on a tour of the Music Concourse that we led recently. Or the Call Building, which we have [00:06:00] never covered, cause it's not in the West side. However, John Reid was not one of those Reids.

Arnold: In fact, this John Reid, John W. Reid was born in 1879 and studied architecture at UC Berkeley. He then continued those studies at the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The Beaux-Arts style taught at the ecole, or school, depended heavily on French and Italian Baroque and Rococo type sculptural decoration. And this was all the rage from the 1830s through the end of the 19th century. You can see this style employed at UC Berkeley and also in railroad stations across the country.

Nicole: Yeah, the really fancy ones like, like, like in New York City and Detroit, which used to be really fancy. So, Reid's education got him a job in the San Francisco office of famed architect Daniel Burnham, where Reid initially [00:07:00] worked as a draftsman for another famed architect named Willis Polk, who, you know, designed a few simple buildings like the St. Francis Yacht Club and the Beach Chalet, and even Kezar Stadium, among other structures. Burnham might best be known around these parts for the Beaux-Arts Burnham plan for San Francisco that he created in 1905 that was never adopted. Kind of astoundingly since the next year, we had an opportunity to rebuild the entire city however we wanted. But they were like, no, no, too fancy, we don't want to do that. And this podcast actually reminded me that I've always meant to read more about that. So, I bought a book today off of Green, Green Apple Books. So, anywhosit? And you know what they say? Birds of a Beaux-Arts feather flock together. And Reid really did find a good fit in the Burnham firm.

Arnold: So sometime later in 1911, Reid [00:08:00] sets out on his own. He sets up his own architecture firm and enjoys a great deal of success. He’s often employed to design city buildings such as the Civic Auditorium and schools, firehouses and hospitals. This was the same time that the Reid Brothers were also active and it kind of makes you wonder, was there ever confusion among clients? Maybe not, or maybe it doesn't matter, but during the city's rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake, there was probably enough work for 10 architects named Reid.

Nicole: This is all conjecture obviously. But, but not conjecture, a number of the buildings he designed in his own practice have since been landmarked, including the Engine Company Number 8 firehouse on Pacific Avenue, the Noe Valley Branch Library, and the North End Police Station on Greenwich. He also designed the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity House in Berkeley that was built in 1914 and has since been added to the National Register of Historic Places. So [00:09:00] clearly, he was doing a lot of high-level architectural work for San Francisco and the Bay Area.

Arnold: And eventually he was actually named City Architect, which seems like a natural choice given all the city buildings he had already designed. However, there was a good deal of controversy about this appointment because, of course.

Nicole: Of course.

Arnold: And we will actually get to that later. Stay tuned for an extra-long Say What Now. Reid's work as city architect was impressive nonetheless. Two of his buildings designed in the 1920s and ‘30s, Balboa High School and the High School of Commerce were also later granted landmark status. And he was involved in designing additions to San Francisco General Hospital and Laguna Honda Hospital.

Nicole: Can you imagine? Does it like, I've always thought it'd be such so cool to be an architect, cause like these things that you create, like people live in, they work in, it's part of their everyday lives and they'll last so [00:10:00] far beyond you. And can you imagine like all the stuff you did, the city was like, it's so great, it can never be torn down or altered. Like that's a wild affirmation.

Arnold: Yeah. Reid was doing pretty good work it seems.

Nicole: Yeah. Do you think they'll landmark the WNP office at some future date for its extreme historical importance, Arnold?

Arnold: Probably not.

Nicole: Well, all right. Let, we may as well get back to Reid then. So, Reid seems like a pretty easy choice to design the Anza Branch Library once its construction was approved in 1931, making it the 17th branch established in the San Francisco Public Library System. And the building looks to have been designed in the Mission Revival style with stucco walls and a clay tile roof. Although I'm sure someone will correct us if we're wrong about that. We're not technically [00:11:00] architectural historians. We've just picked up some stuff like hanging around architectural historians. So, you know, please let us know if it's a different style. Richard Brandi.

Arnold: Yeah, I was gonna say maybe you should have asked Richard Brandi about that.

Nicole: That's a joke, cause Richard definitely doesn't listen to this podcast if he's not on it. Maybe we'll find out if he does. So anyways, decorative flourishes were funded by the Federal Art Project and the Works Progress Administration, more commonly referred to as the WPA. Which my autocorrect always changes to WNP by the way. I've trained it. And the freize on the ceilings of the library's reading rooms depicts “Flowers and Animals.” So, you know, things that like make you comfortable, make you wanna relax and hang out and learn more, maybe about flowers and animals.

Arnold: And interestingly, the [00:12:00] Living New Deal, which is a great organization that researches and shares the history of New Deal projects across the country, well, they don't actually know who the artist is for these freizes. So, please let us know if you have a hunch or actual information.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Anyway, even with thoughtful details like the freizes, the library came in under budget for a total cost of $57,117.29, and that included furnishings. What a steal!

Nicole: Absolutely. What comes in under budget these days?

Arnold: Nothing.

Nicole: Nothing. Not even our WNP birthday party. That's another story. So, the new branch was dedicated at a ceremony on April 10th, 1932, followed by an open house, so people could look over the 11,823 new books on the branch's shelves. [00:13:00] But who wants to read a bunch of old, or new books at an opening party? Am I right? Like people are there to see some action, and oh boy, were they not disappointed. Or maybe they were. Mayor Angelo Rossi was, of course, well actually, you know, he actually wasn't there. He, he did never like to miss an opportunity to speak in front of crowds. You know, he's a politician. And he had been scheduled to appear, but he couldn't make it. So, to everyone's great delight, City Administrator, A.J. Cleary gave a speech in his place.

Arnold: There were a number of other speakers as well, and a crowd of a hundred, of hundreds showed up for this occasion. The municipal band under the direction of Phil Sapiro played for the crowd. And for reasons that with 21st century hindsight had little local relevance to the opening of a branch library in a San Francisco neighborhood, the West End Improvement Club had donated an American flag to the, [00:14:00] to the branch in honor of the 200th anniversary of George Washington's birth. Which leads to my favorite fact about this opening ceremony.

Nicole: Yeah, yeah. And so, as part of this, this, the festivities was an honor guard comprised of boys from Boy Scout Troop 9, accompanied by two children named Waldo Putzker and Barbara Wilder, who were dressed up as George and Martha Washington as they raised this gifted flag at the library. And naturally, because I'm sure George and Martha raised their own flags a lot.

Arnold: I just love how the story has these two kids dressed up as the Washingtons for this occasion. It just really makes the whole occasion for me.

Nicole: What fascinates me as a historian is the way, like different generations over time have utilized the founding fathers for their own purposes. You know, like, like it's no accident we have a bunch of high schools named after founding fathers, right? It’s this [00:15:00] whole push to like, like stoke civic pride and be American in response to scary things like communism and World War and stuff like that, right? Like there's always an agenda. But like, dragging two children out as George and Martha? Sort of next level.

Arnold: So, we have a new library in the Richmond District. So, what happens there?

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: 1940s, the Anza branch librarian occasionally provided book reviews of children's books for the San Francisco Chronicle. Adorable.

Nicole: So adorable.

Arnold: And in 1956, scandal hits the library.

Nicole: Less adorable.

Arnold: This is another one of my favorite things about this story. The Board of Supervisors launches an inquiry into the disappearance of monies from both the Anza and the Presidio branches of the [00:16:00] library. Quote, “the laxity must stop,” end quote, was the war cry of the supervisors who demanded that head librarian Lawrence Clarke appeared before them to provide in, explanation of this outrageous problem.

Nicole: So apparently it was just fine money, you know, like for, like late book returns, that kind of thing, that had disappeared. But nevertheless, supervisors publicly expressed their disapproval of libraries hiding money in secret places. Like at the Presidio branch, two hiding places, one in an open desk drawer and the other in two envelopes behind a stack of books resulted in missing cash. Ugh, for shame. And at the Anza branch, the money disappeared from a toilet paper containing, container hiding spot. Which, you know, is like super airtight systems. These must be career criminals for the way [00:17:00] they were able to hide these monies from, from their constituents in San Francisco. And oh, you know what? We should mention that the amount of money that the supervisors were all, you know, upset about. It was a grand total of $38.05 at the Presidio branch, and a whopping $14.20 at the Anza branch. So, oh, that's some library scandal right there.

Arnold: And yeah, with these really amazing hiding places, it's clearly an inside job.

Nicole: Maybe it was two kids dressed like George and Martha Washington, who were just scuttling about and hiding money.

Arnold: Look, we don't wanna defame Waldo and Barbara that way.

Nicole: That's true. That's true. They’ve done nothing to us.

Arnold: Anyways. The most beautiful thing about branch libraries though is how they function like community [00:18:00] cultural centers. As the times they were a-changing in the 1960s, you can see some examples of the library trying to keep up. In May 1969, the Anza branch presented a program called “From Blues to Rock,” and this program traced the development of popular music. Program featured a taped lecture, a documentary, and some taped music. It also stressed how the roots of rock music began in African music. And occasionally, the Anza branch also featured performances by such things as folk bands, guitarists, opera singers, Chinese folk singers, and other types of music.

Nicole: Sounds like stuff Arnold and I would've gone to if they were still doing them today. And staff at the Anza branch hosted performances of plays. They showed documentaries about water pollution and Holocaust. Which, you know, it's cutting, cutting edge and important stuff. They also screened silent comedies from Charlie Chaplin and [00:19:00] Buster Keaton, as well as classic films like King Kong, Citizen Kane, or The 39 Steps. And the branch provided programs about famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Frida Kahlo, and Norman Rockwell. So, this is a place where you could come not only to read books, but to really absorb important, like contextual, just culture in all kinds of ways. It also allowed writers to stage readings from their own works and also brought in speakers to address issues relevant to Chinese-American communities and share stories from members of African-American and Native American communities. So, this is a multicultural location and, and these are multicultural programs in what many people have described going far back as a very cosmopolitan Richmond district.

Arnold: Yeah. They're really providing a broad cultural education for the people of the Richmond district. And in the 1990s, the branch transitioned to mostly family and children's programs. [00:20:00] Not that they hadn't done that before, but it became the predominant theme of their programs. There were stuff like clown shows, magic shows, puppet shows, bubble shows and children's music performances. There was even a number of appearances by someone called “The Lizard Lady,” who brought in various reptiles for the children to learn about. There's also frequent story times. Hey, remember when the WNP did children's story times?

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: With, maybe it was old, old man story times.

Nicole: Oh God.

Arnold: I think we did get a few kids along the way watching.

Nicole: We did. We did. And one of the older men who would show up to support me has taken issue with me describing them story times for older men.

He was like, [00:21:00] it does make me feel very, a little creepy. I was like, oh, I'm sorry. You, no one was creepy about it. I, I just wanna put that out there, cause we do make this joke quite often. No one was creepy about it. But it didn't hit the intended audience we were hoping for. Anyway, in November 2000 voters passed a bond issue for $106 million to upgrade San Francisco's branch library system. And in November 2007, the voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition D authorizing additional funding to improve the branches. The Anza branch closed for the $7.7 million renovation and 930-foot expansion in May 2009. Plus, you know, the friends of the San Francisco Public Library raised funds from private donations to pay for new furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Arnold: Remember when they built the whole place for $57,000?

Nicole: Wild.

Arnold: It's $7.7 million renovation.

Nicole: Inflation.

Arnold: Anyways, this was [00:22:00] the 19th of the library's 24 branches to undergo renovation. And highlights included a small addition, some new accessible restrooms, improved public and staff spaces, a new elevator, a designated teen area, revamped program rooms downstairs, more computers, better lighting, new and refinished furniture, shelving and materials displays. And, of course, it was also seismically strengthened and made ADA accessible.

Nicole: The Anza branch reopened on Saturday, June 18th, 2011, and is still going strong, in case you haven't been there in a while or you've never been to your branch library. And we've actually been privileged to participate in several events there since then. So, thank you for existing Anza Branch Library.

Arnold: Yes, we love the Anza [00:23:00] branch.

Nicole: We sure do. So Arnold, I think we have a lot to cover in the Say What Now?

Arnold: Indeed, we kind of teased this a little bit and going back, we mentioned John Reid was appointed City Architect in 1919. So, how did he get that job? While you may think that merit was a good part of the equation, he did after all design some buildings that were later landmarked, it certainly did not help his cause that he had family in the right place.

Nicole: Didn't hurt him.

Arnold: Not at all. You see, Reid's sister, Annie Marshall Reid, married a very important person. One James “Sunny Jim” Rolph, who was mayor of San Francisco for 20 years. Curious how Reid opened his firm in 1911. Mayor Rolph was elected in 1911, and Reid immediately gets tapped to design various city buildings.

Nicole: Hmm. And wouldn't you know it, there were complaints even at the time that something fishy [00:24:00] was going on. You see, although San Francisco had its own Bureau of Architecture, Mayor Rolph and some key city figures decided that this Bureau's work should be curtailed in favor of employing private architects. So, they pushed through this ordinance. You guys, the whole push for privatization that like everyone thinks is a Ronald Reagan joint and beyond? No. It's been a part of American culture in San Francisco history since probably the dawn of time. So, enter San Francisco City Ordinance Number 2269. That was passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by Rolph in May of 1913.

Arnold: Under that ordinance, the Board of Public Works was entitled to employ the use of architects, quote, “by selection or by competition.” End quote. So, while the public, Board of Public Works could, in its [00:25:00] discretion, have architect, architects competitively bid on projects, in actuality this meant there was no competition since BPW could just select an architect. And for some reason, they often selected John W. Reid. Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

Nicole: I love that we get deep into like the legal speak of all these things because Arnold's a lawyer and like he just lawyers the research like hard. Like when I do research, you guys, here's like a peek behind the curtain, I'm like, oh god, like legal language, like, oh my God, I can't handle this. And there goes Arnold, he's like, oh I got this. I wanna figure this all out for you. Anyways, we're a good team, is what I'm saying Arnold, Although now you're getting onto all the scandalous stuff like we do. [00:26:00] So I'm pulling you to the dark side.

Arnold: We love a good scandal.

Nicole: Yes. Who doesn't love a good scandal? Everybody who says like, ugh, history is boring. I'm like, you're reading the wrong histories. Get outta those textbooks. Get into the local newspapers from 1925. Stuff is wild y'all. So, to get back to our story. To start, Reid had been employed as a consulting architect for the city at a salary of $3,000 per year. Now, I want to remind everyone that adjusted for inflation, that's a little over $90,000 in today's money. So, like just to consult, he was just thrown 90K a year. Which is more than Arnold and I will ever hope to make ever. So, then between 1916 and 1917, Reid was selected for about a third of the city's architectural jobs. Remember at a time when like they're rebuilding the city en masse, right? Garnering over $48,000 in fees. [00:27:00] That's over $1.3 million today.

Arnold: Good work if you can get it.

Nicole: Yeah, just got a, just got a marry a relative of an elected official. That's all, that's all you gotta do.

Arnold: The city auditor was then Thomas Boyle, and he had been pushing for the city to save money by not employing private architects.

Nicole: Not that.

Arnold: In 1917, the San Francisco Bureau of Government Research released a report stating that the system of choosing architects was actually wasting $1,000 per month as compared to the city just using its own Board of Architecture.

Nicole: And Mayor Rolph, of course, blasted this report, citing his significant record of getting public buildings built. Hey, don't question my methods, like stuff's going up. Like, just be happy about these new buildings y'all. He stated, “I believe that if the city wanted that sort of work done right, it ought to go out [00:28:00] about it precisely as any intelligent man of business would do. Namely, employ a competent and reputable architect, not at cut rates, but at the standard and usual fee. Have him prepare the plans, superintend the contracts, and the erection of the structure, and make him responsible for the whole job.”

Arnold: Rolph also defended his brother-in-law's work, given his notable education and commendations.  And showing how little he cared about this controversy over his brother-in-law getting so many city contracts, the following month, Rolph appointed Reid to a committee that would assemble a San Francisco exhibit for the California Land Show in October 1917. Way to double down Sunny Jim.

Nicole: So, okay. I don't wanna defend Rolph's actions here, cause clearly this was nepotism. But what Rolph is referring to is this sort of like, nickel and diming system, is sort of [00:29:00] not wrong, in that like, you know, the city's traditionally would always pick the lowest bid. And so, people knew that. And so different contractors, like it would be a different person who, who like bid the plumbing, a different person who bid the concrete work a different per, a different firm that did this. They would also submit these super low bids and then they couldn't actually do the work for those bids, and so, it would go over budget. So, but they just wanted to get the bid initially knowing that like all of these overrun costs would get approved cause they just wanted the new school built or like whatever. So, Rolph's not wrong that there was kind of a problem to be dealt with here. I'm not so sure that this was the solution to it. Anywhosit.

Arnold: I remember back when we did the Great Highway series of podcasts and at one point, O’Shaughnessy says, “I'm not gonna nickel and dime this anymore. I'm gonna wait till you, you know, give me the money to do the whole thing instead of just year to year picking up little bits of [00:30:00] money.”

Nicole: Yeah. So, like, you know, improvements to be made, but like, maybe not the solution. So, anyways. Sorry for the diversion, in August 1918, supervisor, Supervisor James McSheehy, who was also a contractor, became a vocal critic of the, and I quote, “abuses of the city's architectural work.” End quote. He said that at the next board meeting, he would question how Reid had gotten nearly $5,000 on the Monroe School Project, even though no contracts had even been awarded yet.

Arnold: And to be fair, McSheehy had been summoned to appear before the Board of Public Works regarding whether the work his company had done at San Francisco General Hospital would be accepted, and to which Reid was opposed. So, his critique of Reid may have been a little bit of a deflection.

Nicole: I mean, like whenever one [00:31:00] contractor is mad about someone else getting a contract, you're kind of like, well, hmm. Anyways, in 1918, these issues really came to a head when City Auditor Boyle refused to pay a demand for fees from Reid. So, Boyle claimed that Reid's position with the city was illegal, although the city attorney had already determined otherwise. Which, you know, is very shocking, cause it's not like maybe he takes direction from Sunny Jim Rolph perhaps.

Arnold: And it's at this point that the former head of the city's Bureau of Architecture, a guy named A. Lacy Worswick, he supports Boyle stating, “why should John Reid, Jr., brother-in-law of the mayor of San Francisco, be privileged to collect thousands of dollars from the City Treasury, Treasurer without the necessity of competing in any way with the hundreds of other competent architects of this city, while the city as a whole stood this expense and not the mayor, [00:32:00] the individual.” End quote. Worswick actually went to court and obtained an injunction to prevent Reid from receiving these fees.

Nicole: Worswick sounds like a Charles Dickens character. Yeah. Anyways, and so, apparently in response to the injunction on July 3rd, 1919, Reid was appointed the City Architect by the Board of Public Works, who seem to be squarely under Ralph's control as well. So, another really bold move I actually kind of admire. This is the wrong thing to admire a man for, but Rolph's like, oh yeah, you're gonna criticize me? I'm just gonna make things you feared the worst come to pass. It's like, it's like so unhinged and despotic. It's like admirable. Anyways, he was, so Reid was to prepare plans and specifications and supervise construction now [00:33:00] on all public works projects and for his compensation, this is the best part, he's like, I know people are complaining that you're getting like these fees. So, you know what? Reid just takes 6% of the construction cost of each project. Which will, you know, definitely keep costs down, because like, if I am getting 6% of any project, I'm not gonna be like, nah, I think this project needs to be a little less money.

Arnold: And that's a huge payday for the, for city construction projects.

Nicole: Yeah, absolutely. Geez.

Arnold: So, further questions arose in July 1919 when the Board of Supervisors finance committee attempted to appropriate $30,000 for Reid and other architects. Given Worswick’s injunction, and the fact that Reid was to receive. [00:34:00] $27,000, his 6% of the total construction cost for the Galileo School project alone, the board voted against appropriating the money at that time. But unfortunately for them, ultimately a court ordered that Reid was to be paid his fees.

Nicole: Just wild. I'd be like everything out of Carrera Marble because only the best for our children. Gold drinking fountains for everybody. That's why no one's appointed me City Architect, everybody. With a 6% fee. Anyways, so I have some bad news for Reid. Rolph stepped down as mayor of San Francisco in early January 1931 because he'd been elected governor of California in November 1930. That's how we do it here in California. When, when someone, [00:35:00] someone does some questionable stuff in San Francisco, we just promote them. Anyways, so, perhaps knowing that he would be soon losing his primary city hall backer, Reid just stepped down as City Architect sometime in 1929. Or maybe he was just so incredibly wealthy from years of ridiculous payouts. He was like, I'm good. I'm, I can just go back to my private practice. Regardless. He continued his successful architecture career thereafter, obviously, including the Anza Branch Library, and lived in San Francisco until his death on December 15th, 1968.

Arnold: That may be our longest Say What Now ever.

Nicole: It's super worth it. It's, and it could all just be summarized as politics, as politics folks. Like, money talks, [00:36:00] you know, money talks.

Arnold: It's too bad we don't really cover the east side of town on these podcasts, cause there is so much shady stuff going on in, in downtown San Francisco in the government.

Nicole: I wish that Heather Knight for the San Francisco Chronicle, who's really great at exposing like wackadoo stuff in the city, behind like closed city hall doors, I wish she would create her own like history podcast where she Heather Knights history.

Arnold: That would be great.

Nicole: I would be here for that. Well, Arnold, I think, I think we've closed this chapter on the Anza Branch Library. Do you see what I did there?

Arnold: I do.

Nicole: Book pun. It's a book pun cause it's a library podcast. All right. Well then, I think we can dig into and read in to Listener Mail. First of all, Arnold, how does one get in touch with us to send us listener mail?

Arnold: There's a whole variety of ways. [00:37:00] The easiest is podcast@outsidelands.org. Send an email to that address. Or take advantage of our various social media presences on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and post a comment about our podcast on one of those places. We will see it because all those places go back to us.

Nicole: Yep. They sure do. And we received listener mail in response to our live podcast interview with photographer Michael Jang. Which, shout out to Ian Hadley for doing the Lord's work to like duct tape together. He's amazing. And you know what? You know what's funny about this listener mail? We actually received it before the podcast was even posted on our website. And that's because our good friend Paul Judge attended the live podcast, which was also a birthday fundraiser for us, and he sent us an email the next day. Paul [00:38:00] had this to say, and I quote, “thanks for all your blood, sweat, and tears that went into making this event and WNP Birthday party happen. The interview with Michael Jang was really fascinating. I gained a lot being there in the audience at the 4 Star mesmerized by his presence and honesty, responding to Nicole's interview questions.” End quote. And we were, as always, delighted to see you Paul. And that'll teach you to show up early because we put you straight to work packaging our Michael Jang posters for sale. Note to self. Don't ever get to a WNP event early, cause we are gonna put y'all to work.

Arnold: And, of course, Paul is one of our very best members of the WNP. And so, as such, Paul gets all these great benefits of being a member, which are Nicole?

Nicole: Oh gosh. You get the quarterly membership magazine. You get discounts on events and other exclusive perks. Hey, we'll even eat the Eventbrite fees for some of the tickets that you buy to those incredible events. And your membership, but in general, [00:39:00] it just supports all the good work that we do and we make available for free. You've got OpenSFHistory, a huge archive of photos. And guess what? We've figured out how to upload photos to the website again. I know Arnold's been working on it. I think they've hit the website. You know…

Arnold: They have.

Nicole: Yes, they've hit the website. The Internet's a wild place, and we're a bunch of Luddites running two websites. So, thank you for your patience and your support. We also have the Cliff House collection, it's care and exhibition. And let me tell you, that's not easy. Like when you buy a totem pole at auction and it's on National Park Service land, and they say, “we want you to move this. Wait, no, wait, maybe we don't want, you know what, just be prepared to move it.” So, and then, of course, this podcast, right? Like we don't put this podcast behind a paywall. [00:40:00] We don't believe that you should have to pay for your history. We just want you to pay for the pleasure of our company sometimes. So, become a member. Clickety, clickety, clack the big orange button at the top of any page on either of our websites outsidelands.org, OpenSFHistory.org. And if you're like being a member feels like too soon, I'm not there yet for that kind of commitment. You can just send us money in any amount, and we won't give you any of the benefits we just listed. Just like a happy thank you email. So, so support our nonprofit history work. The end.

Arnold: Yeah. And that donation button is also at the top of every page on the website.

Nicole: Yeah. Absolutely. Absolutely. And Arnold, what kind of announcements do we have for the good people of Western Neighborhoods Project.

Arnold: So, first of all, we'd like you to know that [00:41:00] we, the Outside Lands podcast have been selected as one of the Feedspot’s Top 10 San Francisco History podcasts.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Which is not a platform that we've actually heard of before, but boy, we are happy that they've heard of us. And the wonders of the internet continue to astound us.

Nicole: Is this a marketing tactic we should employ at Western Neighborhoods Project like, congratulations, you've been voted one of the top 10 houses on the block of 32nd and Kirkham. We think that you should join neighborhoods to learn your neighborhood. Have a great day.

Arnold: And listeners if you receive one of those emails, now you know why.

Nicole: Nicole's trying to figure out marketing. Anyways, we've also mentioned before that our Golden Gate Park Windmills exhibit is currently exhibiting in the front windows of our home for history at 1617 Balboa Street. Lindsey [00:42:00] Hanson has put so much blood, sweat, and tears into that. And that's not all the windmill history that we have for you. So, on Thursday, June 15th, Lindsey has pulled together an incredible panel discussion about the restoration of the windmills. And there's gonna be some really big, heavy hitters like a relative of a former mayor. And I'll be moderating a discussion with all of our panelists and Lindsey, who's worked so hard on this. And then, at the end, you get to see a Charlie Chaplin short. A film called A Jitney, A Jitney Elopement, in which the Murphy Windmill plays a cameo from 1915. It all happens at the 4 Star Theater, the Official Theater of Western Neighborhoods Project on accident. And tickets are $15 for WNP members and $25 if you're not. But here's the thing, the 4 Star gets 50% of the ticket sales. So, you're not only coming to learn something, have a nice evening, and support your favorite nonprofit, you're supporting your favorite local theater. So come out and support us that night. [00:43:00]

Arnold: Absolutely. And one week after that, on Thursday, June 22nd, we're having a Zoom presentation on the natural history of San Francisco. Environmentalists and photographer Greg Gaar will lead the virtual presentation of San Francisco's natural features. Such stuff like sand dunes, grasslands, lakes, trees, and more. This is a free Zoom event for all. But you have to sign up to get the link. And when you do so, we would really appreciate a small donation along with your registration.

Nicole: Yeah, show us a little love. And then our next history walk happens Saturday, June 24th, when historic preservation consultant Richard Brandi leads a tour of Lincoln Manor. Now, he literally wrote the book on these residence parks. Maybe you just attended a program with him. And this history walk costs just $10 for WNP members and $20 for non-members. [00:44:00] So, you're really getting the expert walking you around the neighborhood and pointing things out. Plus, Richard's always a fun hang. So, and as always, you can find all of these events on our website, outsidelands.org. We're adding events all the time though, so you can also be sure to be in the know the quickest by following us on Eventbrite. There's over 300 people following us so far, and it's, it really is the quickest way to hear about an event as soon as it's posted online.

Arnold: And now we get to the final part of our podcast.

Nicole: Yeah, it's our preview for next week Arnold, what is it?

Arnold: Well, it's funny you mentioned that, because our preview for next week is that we are gonna have a podcast next week. And we hope to figure out what it will be about before then. It's been a busy time here at the WNP, so forgive us for not having it planned out months in advance of what's coming up on the podcast.

Nicole: Arnold, I don't think, [00:45:00] I think people are prepped for us not to have our stuff together. That's part of our charm. That's part of our folksy charm, Arnold. Well, until whatever podcast happens next week listeners, thank you for being with us. I'm Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: And I’m Arnold Woods.

Nicole: And we'll see you next week history friends.

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 [00:46:00] outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.

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