WNP520 – Sabrina Oliveros
Nicole: [00:00:00] It's Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of Western Neighborhoods Project. Your weekly dose of friendly neighborhood history.
And hello Outside Landers, I'm of course your host, Nicole Meldal, and it's great to be with you all again. Now, WNP's first shipwreck week ends today, October 14th, and shiver me timbers, was it a whale of a good time. There were no words for how much fun we had at the Riptide, the Great Highway Gallery, the Balboa Theater, and sailing through all the fun things we dropped online. And to mark this historic moment, we have a very special guest from San Francisco Maritime with us today to wrap the week up in a, well shall we say, a sturdy knot made of seafaring rope. So welcome to the podcast, and I apologize for all the bad dad jokes ahead of time, Sabrina Oliveros. [00:01:00]
Sabrina: They're not bad dad jokes. I thought they were great maritime metaphors or, you know, let's stick with maritime metaphors.
Nicole: That does sound much more professional. So, thank you already for upping the classiness of this podcast, Sabrina.
Sabrina: Thanks for inviting me.
Nicole: So, before we take a deep dive into all this maritime fun you're going to share with us, let's get to know you a little bit better, Sabrina. So like, where are you from?
Sabrina: Okay. So, the short version of my life story is I was born in New York and then I grew up in the Philippines. And then, nearly a decade ago, I moved back to San Francisco where some family have been living for like the longest time. And now I'm here.
Nicole: How did you, you know, we share the in USF Museum Studies program in common, what got you into museums?
Sabrina: Oh dear, what got me into museums? I would just, I like, [00:02:00] apparently, like, became a museum geek very early on. Mostly because I grew up around old buildings and in an old house, so I was always, like, fascinated with the past. And then it became, like, the next logical step for, my mom to like, well, let's go to a museum. Here, let's get you into art or into history. And then it just grew from there. And when I did go to San Francisco, it was to like start that USF museum studies program. So.
Sabrina: Yeah, but I, I also like studied journalism and history in college. So, museum studies was also like the next step it seemed.
Nicole: Totally. I come from a journalism and history background.
Sabrina: Oh cool.
Nicole: So, I guess it's just what happens to us.
Sabrina: Yeah. What do I do with two degrees? Let me get a third one and go from there.
Nicole: And how did you end up at San Francisco Maritime? Were you just doing the thing where you apply to a million [00:03:00] museum jobs or were you just really into maritime history?
Sabrina: I was doing this thing, when we were all like searching for internships and stuff, where I was like, well, what I would really like to do is go work for historical organizations. And our internship coordinators then, were like, well, here's an option. So, and yeah, so, and at that time they were looking for interns and yeah, I was just like, well, this is cool. I wouldn't say I was always into maritime history, but having grown up in the Philippines, which is an archipelago of 7, 000 islands, it's unavoidable that you just, you know, kind of fall in love with the sea if not with boats. So, I was like, yeah, I can do this. I'm interested in this. And, you know, as I eased in, like, through the internship, and then eventually to the job, I kept seeing that, like, oh yeah, there's so much more connections I can, like, delve into while at the park. So, [00:04:00] and now I'm here.
Nicole: And what's your official title at San Francisco Maritime?
Sabrina: My official title is park guide. Though I really wear a lot of hats aside from like the ranger hat. But yeah, park guide. So yeah, but that means like, yeah, I give the tours and the programs, do some digital programs. I work with exhibits interpretive signage and panels and yeah, a podcast as well.
Nicole: Yeah. Tell me about the podcast before we go on with this podcast.
Sabrina: So, another ranger, Anne Monk, and I co-created this podcast called Better Lives, Bitter Lies, which really focuses on the social history of the waterfront. And, as the title might suggest, it's like, it was like we were thinking of, okay, so most of the time we talk about the ships and the science and the engineering behind them or the business of it, the cargo, but San Francisco [00:05:00] being what it is, it's like ships are also the main way by which people have been coming and going for, you know, over a century and stuff like that. So, so yeah, so, it was like, you look at the people who came in the late 19th and 20th centuries, and why did they come here? And so, it's like, per episode, we would like look at an idea, whether it's like a myth or a promise or a piece of propaganda. Like whether it was, like, a promise for, like, better jobs or just money because, you know, gold rush, gold mountain, that kind of thing. Or maybe they reunite with family or maybe they have husbands over, like, anyway, so. So yeah. So, that's what Better Lives, Bitter Lies is about. And the dramatic question we used to tie everything up is, like, must forging Better Lives always be entwined with facing Bitter Lies?
Nicole: Oh my god, that’s so good. Did you come up with that or did [00:06:00] you come up with it together?
Sabrina: Together, yeah.
Nicole: Yeah. It's so good. And you all, you've won awards for this, right?
Sabrina: Yes, we did win the Freeman Tilden Award, which is, well, the full name of it is the Freeman Tilden Award for Excellence in Interpretation and Education for the National Park Service. So.
Nicole: That's a long award title.
Nicole: But so typical for anything from the government.
Sabrina: Oh yeah. It has to be at least six words to make it sound official.
Nicole: It's true. And we like, so we've been doing tons of research into shipwrecks, obviously, for Shipwreck Week. And we, I recorded a podcast with my first mate, Chelsea Sellin, and we researched, I researched the Bessie Everding, a shipwreck that was off Ocean Beach for that. And there's a bunch of information about the ship itself and the wreck, obviously. But to your point, it was, and it was just our [00:07:00] last podcast too, like it was all technical. It was like, she weighed this much. Her cargo costs this much. The insurance was this much. And this dude without a first name was the captain and yada, yada. And I was like, why is the ship named Bessie Everding?
Sabrina: Why is it?
Nicole: I don't know for sure, but, and listeners learned last episode, but I'm pretty sure it was the wife, the name of a wife and daughter of a man who was a a merchant here in San Francisco. But, I mean, it's a guess, I didn't find the document that proves this. But I did find that this man and two Bessie Everdings in San Francisco, and he also had ships, so I'm like, probably pretty good odds that this is our Bessie. But anyways, enough about me. I want to hear more about the shipwrecks connected to your podcast, because that seems like a natural, natural entry point into all of the amazing things from San Francisco Maritime you're [00:08:00] going to share with us today.
Sabrina: Okay so here's a little clarification. There are no shipwrecks actually featured in, like, our actual podcast. But it's, like, some ships involved are, like, intersect with, like, what we actually do talk about in the podcast. Which, in itself, I find fascinating because it's like, yeah, like a ship in our museum, the ship in itself is like the artifact. Right? And it's like, there are so many million ways to talk about it. So, some people can just like talk about it. It's like, it's a ship. It wrecked. But then it just like, it turns out that like, in our podcast, it's like we talk about the ship when it was like alive and working and, anyway. But anyway, rewinding.
Nicole: You know what? Before, rewinding even further, I'm realizing we didn't explain what San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park is. [00:09:00]
Sabrina: Oh, that’s right. It's an organization with a very long official sounding name.
Nicole: Yes. Just real quick, like, what is Maritime?
Sabrina: San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. It's a very tiny, but very rich park over at the westernmost, or my direction is the westernmost end of Fisherman's Wharf. If any of the people listening to you are like, you know, you know where Ghirardelli Square is? We're like right across the street from that. And we have, like, the Maritime Museum, and we have a visitor center full of exhibits at the building that also houses the Argonaut Hotel. And then we have Hyde Street here, where the historic ships are. But our mission is not only to preserve and interpret San Francisco's maritime heritage, it's also Pacific Coast Maritime Heritage [00:10:00] and yeah, the stories of America's maritime gateways along the, especially along the Pacific Coast, that's the official wording.
Nicole: Awesome. And your podcast helps sort of dig even deeper into that history.
Sabrina: Yeah, because it's like, I mean, maritime history is like a very giant term. And again, it's like when you go to our park, you'll see like the bay and you'll see the ships. But there's so much more you can delve into. That's why we needed a podcast and other forms of like media and interpretation to really like go beyond what you see. Or even just like revisit the things you do see, but don't necessarily think about in a certain way.
Nicole: Totally. Okay, great. Now that we're all out in the open…
Nicole: We can get into some of the amazing stories that you have queued up for us.
Sabrina: I feel, [00:11:00] okay, oh.
Nicole: It’s gonna be great. Just take a deep breath.
Sabrina: Deep breaths.
Nicole: It's gonna be great. Yeah.
Sabrina: So, I would do my shameless promotion part right now and say episode one of the podcast is called Chrysopylae, which is the fancy name that was first given to the Golden Gate Strait by John C. Fremont. He named it the Golden Gate to the Orient, you know, like almost a hundred years before, well, 80 years before the Golden Gate Bridge was ever conceived or built. But, as I was reviewing that episode in preparation for this podcast, I remembered that like, so shipwrecks, right? So why are there so many shipwrecks around San Francisco? It's because the Golden Gate Strait is notoriously foggy and people just have zero visibility and they run into the rocks and the reefs and other vessels. And it's a graveyard of ships out [00:12:00] there. So, one thing is that when they were trying to design the Golden Gate Bridge, the Navy suggested that the bridge actually be painted yellow and black so that ships can see it. So, it's like, oh, we could have had the Bumblebee Bridge instead of the Golden Gate Bridge. But anyway, I just love revisiting that tidbit because it's like, ah, yes, the Bumblebee Bridge saving us all from maritime disasters.
Nicole: I wonder if the bridge would have been so beloved, because the color is so warm and inviting, you know? But if it was the Bumblebee Bridge, do you think we would have been made fun of?
Sabrina: I would say that it would clash with the color scheme of the Marin headlands. That's what I think would have happened. The postcards would have been horrible. Like, ugh. Or it could have been red and white, like the Air Force said. So, Candy Cane Bridge. But, but anyway, but [00:13:00] like, so, I'm sure you at Western Neighborhoods, like, you have, like, something from the Frank H. Buck, right?
Nicole: Well, you know…
Sabrina: Or at least have a lot of photos of it.
Nicole: Yeah, we do have a giant ship's wheel that…
Sabrina: Has one. Yeah.
Nicole: They replaced the center with an etched rendering, glass rendering of two shipwrecks in at off Lands End. And the plaque that came with it was like, this wheel is from both of these shipwrecks, the Frank H. Buck and the Ohioan. Which, yeah, it feels physically impossible, but what do I know? I'm not a maritime historian. It also looks, I don't know if it's the right kind of wheel for the kinds of ships that they were. Again, I don't know what I'm talking about. But, but yeah, we do think that it might be from the Ohioan, because there was an oral history that John Martini did with it, George K. Whitney Jr., who was the [00:14:00] proprietor of the Cliff House. And he mentions going on to the Ohioan and like salvaging some stuff off of it. So, that's our best guess, but not, not great history.
Sabrina: No, well, I brought it up mainly as a segue.
Nicole: Oh, you can just be like, please, I'm just transitioning. You don't need to like tell me your stuff.
Sabrina: No. Because like. Frank H. Buck, the SS President Coolidge hit it. Coolidge was larger. Damaged, but the Frank H. Buck was not so lucky. But how this relates back to our podcast is that we have one episode, episode four, Daughters of Joy, where we look into the air coats, romantic idea of a woman waiting on shore, but what that actually also meant back in the day was that there was a lot of traffic, or enslaved prostitutes, sex workers along the Barbary Coast and all that. And like, a significant [00:15:00] amount was Asian women trafficked into San Francisco. But like in the 1930s, 1930s there's a series of trials that finally like opens up the case and then the traffickers are prosecuted, convicted, and then they're deported. But it's like, 19, so the collision between Coolidge and Frank H. Buck was 1937. but like, late, that was like May 1937. And I was surprised because I was like, in September 1936, like some of the traffickers were deported on the SS Coolidge, which like goes out and then it like returns to San Francisco. And then, a few months later rams into this other ship. And then it survives that, like its bow gets damaged, but it survives that. And then later, months later, again, just like deports more of the traffickers. So, I was just like, oh, that's like, [00:16:00] when I was, like, reviewing the episode, I was like, oh, this is, like, well, it was, well, the SS President College was, like, figuring in some other kind of history. It also had the time to have a cameo in this other piece of history, and then it went on its merry way. And then, eventually, of course, it also did end up as a shipwreck after it was converted into a, a transport ship, World War II, and then, yeah, so, that's one of the things. So, it's like whenever, oh, sorry, go on.
Nicole: Oh, go ahead, go ahead.
Sabrina: It's like, so whenever, it's just like, whenever I see, like, photos of SS President Coolidge and Frank H. Buck, it's like, oh yeah, it's that ship what, that got ensnared in that whole thing, but here it is, we’re taking the photos of a shipwreck, but it's also it's also guest starring in a not very different sort of maritime history. So.
Nicole: Yes. And that's the super fun thing about [00:17:00] what we do as historians, right? Like we know all these inside facts and like, I found a great article. It was a section that used to be in the newspaper, like in the 1880s. And it was called maritime gossip and intelligence. And I was like, that could be the whole theme of Shipwreck Week, just maritime gossip and intelligence. We're giving you dirt and we're giving you facts. And that feels like one of those stories, right? Where it's like, here's you're looking over here at the shipwreck, but here's the real good history. It's happening over here on the Coolidge.
Sabrina: Yeah, yeah. So, and then, like, another thing yeah, so it's like, oh, what shipwrecks are connected, like, the city of Rio de Janeiro, the Titanic of the Bay Area. We never, like, mentioned it in the podcast at all, but then when I was, like, reading up on it again, leading to, like, our talking tonight, it was, like, oh yeah, most of the people [00:18:00] who died there, there's like, there's like an article, and then one of the people who were on the, like, on the project to locate it or something, he pointed out that, like, most of the people who died from that, they're like the people who were coming to, like, start new and better lives. And then, one hour away from getting to port, it's just, like, gone. And I was like, oh god, this is, like a tragedy that so fits Better Lives, Bitter Lies, except, yeah that whole thing. So yeah, anyway, it's all like just, go on.
Nicole: How do you keep yourself? I mean, like, I have this problem too, where I go off on these research tangents. And like, how do you keep yourself focused when there's so many different stories connected to each piece, each ship, essentially?
Sabrina: Well, I have to just like constantly remind myself, like, what was the initial purpose of the mission? This is like, when we [00:19:00] were making the podcast, we would like fall into so many rabbit holes. And it's like, wait, what were we trying to say? This part of it is like interesting, but it's not going to serve the outline of our script. So, so same thing. So, it was like, even like prepping for tonight, I was like, okay, I'm just going to read more on the City of the Rio de Janeiro. Like how did it happen? What happened? And it's like, oh wait, I'm opening too many browser tabs trying to figure out who the people were. I mean, it's a very, I was just like, I was looking at like the old newspapers and they like list all the names of like the officers and the passengers. And then, suddenly it's like a Shattuck steerage, 31 names not known. And now I'm like, I want to know who those people are. They have names. And that's like, wait, no, I don't think Nicole wants to go into this tonight. Put this on hold and I will, [00:20:00] but yeah.
Nicole: I mean, kind of I do, but yes, I would like to have like a survey.
Nicole: I have the same problem. Like I have to know everybody involved in my stories or the histories that I do, even though I'm not going to talk about them. Like I have this anxiety that I need to know as much as I can in order to tell the story right. And especially when it comes to people's lives, you know? Like it's our job to do them justice. We're the ones here telling their stories. So like, but that's hard when it's a wreck, it's a huge shipwreck and there's hundreds of people on board.
Sabrina: Yeah, yeah. I was like, so maybe the newspaper reporter just couldn't or wouldn't find out what the names are. I wanted to go to the port they departed from and find like some list and it's like, okay, not today. Not today.
Nicole: Okay. Sabrina, what's the next story from episode two? Or season two.
Sabrina: Oh season two of Better Lives. Okay. So, oh, [00:21:00] no. So, we've planned like a season two. We haven't quite gotten to that yet, but this time, the theme of it is going to be women who feature in Pacific Maritime history. The tentative title is not Better Lives, Bitter Lies anymore. It's A Star to Sail Her By. But now we're, and, but now we're going to go more into, like, individual women and women of color. And so, one of the planned episodes is about, you've read or heard of Island of the Blue Dolphins and how there was, like, one native woman who was like, survived all this, all those years. So one, like, intersection is that like, the Peor Es Nada is the name of the ship, and that was where they had, like, I don't know what the right terms are right now, but like, when they were like, taking people off [00:22:00] that island, the way down Southern California. That's the ship they put the people on.
Nicole: Got it.
Sabrina: And in the future voyage of that ship, it went up to San Francisco and then it also like wrecked off the Golden Gate like so many other ships. But again, it's just like, yeah, it's like, might seem like just a tiny, even maybe like a forced connection, but it's like, this is really my point. It's like, we can interpret ships as shipwrecks or as marvelous works of engineering, but ships, what are, what they, what are they? They're vessels for like, people and other people's history. So.
Nicole: Yeah. I, because I've just poured through so many listings of shipwrecks in the late 19th century, and yeah, it's always what the ship went, when the ship went down and the man who owned it.
Nicole: There's like, very rarely more. And I guess I mean, it was a very dangerous trade at the time, so these weren't uncommon. [00:23:00] But nonetheless, like, if it didn't have a significant loss of white life, you know, it didn't hit the newspapers all the time.
Sabrina: Or a significant loss of, like, cargo and money. And it was like, is this all, like, I mean, I'm sure, like, at the specific moment in 1902 or whatever, of course, people were like, oh my god, my business, or like, whatever. But now that we have, like, a hundred years later perspective on it, it's then you see that, like, oh, but this ship, like, a single ship has so many lives. Why are we so obsessed by its one very dramatic death?
Nicole: Yeah, no, totally agree. And so, you were talking about the podcast interpreting Maritime’s collection, which is really, really cool. So, what exhibits do you have available to the public right now? And what are some tales that they can find there and where can they find it?
Sabrina: Okay, so, on the [00:24:00] subject of shipwrecks, the Visitor Center, which currently is open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 10 to 5, that's at the corner of Hyde and Jefferson Streets, same building as the Argonaut Hotel. When you walk in, there is actually a display called Shipwrecks. And it's, it's like designed around an artificial shipwreck, by which I mean there was a little fishing boat called the Little Rose that deteriorated, so it got deaccessioned, but then repurposed as an exhibit prop. So now, so, yeah, it's not like a literal shipwreck, but it looks like a shipwreck, and around it there's the, like, artifacts and stuff about shipwrecks. And it starts with a map of the Gold, like, the Golden, like, the entry to San Francisco, the Golden Gate Strait and, you know, Point Bonita to your left and Ocean Beach and all that here. Right? So, and then it maps out like. where all the wrecks approximately are, [00:25:00] and then, and, you know, it gives you like an overview of like, San Francisco, the San Francisco, I forgot what it's called, I forgot what it's officially called, like, the shoal that's also nicknamed the potato patch.
Nicole: Oh yeah.
Sabrina: Because they lost so many, what they lost so many potatoes. Sorry, I recently watched Lord of the Rings, so that's how I'm pronouncing that word.
Nicole: It's okay. I pronounce it the same way because I call my cat a potato.
Nicole: And you talk, it's just par for the course that you say nonsense and nonsense to your cats.
Sabrina: Yeah. But yes, so there's that map, and then we have like, artifacts retrieved from Frank H. Buck. We have like, the letter F from it's, from the name Frank that's there, along with a life ring. And then a really cool other artifact that's in there is a deadeye. [00:26:00] Should I explain what a deadeye is?
Nicole: Go ahead, yeah.
Sabrina: A deadeye is a part of a ship. So, it's like vaguely circular and you can put ropes through it. Basically, it's like you use it to like fasten the rigging lines and that sort of thing on the ship.
Nicole: Got it.
Sabrina: And, and it's called a deadeye because it's circular and then it's often designed with like a little dot in the center. From the Reporter, which is a schooner that wrecked off Ocean Beach and then, its ultimate resting spot was actually right near the famous King Philip, which apparently at low tide or something, you can still see it, it's bones right there. But the deadeye from the Reporter was found inside that wreck. So, it's like this cool little story [00:27:00] of you just find artifacts within artifacts, because that's how it goes. Maritime archaeologists. So yeah, so there's, that's there there's like a variety, it's like a literal hodgepodge of what are the kinds of things that you retrieve from shipwrecks. Oh, and this is like another, I wouldn't call it a favorite artifact, but we, I'm, we mentioned the Rio de Janeiro earlier. So like the worst loss of life. We have a life ring from that. Both, and it's featured prominently in the visitor center and it all has always like given me the creeps. Mostly because it's like, I mean, as part of our job, it's like, you know, you, close it down at the end of the day and you turn off all the lights and always, alwas at the back of my head, it's like there are ghosts in here. Because [00:28:00] here's a life ring from the worst disaster. So many dead lives and a life ring, which I'm sure all of them are trying to get. It's like, just here.
Sabrina: But it's a very like, it really drives it, the story of when you look at it.
Nicole: So yeah, as a curator, like that's curation gold, right?
Nicole: It's like, it's the one that tells every story. You don't have to explain it for it to have impact, but I can see that it would, it would kind of give the heebie jeebies if you're there alone with it.
Nicole: And I have a question, Sabrina. So that deadeye from the Reporter, it's listed as on loan from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. And I'm wondering how you two, because the parks used to be one at one time, but then Maritime split off from the GGNRA, like the ‘80s, like ‘88 or ’89.
Sabrina: Yeah, yeah.
Nicole: And so, how do you deal with, so an artifact is found on Ocean Beach, which is GGNRA [00:29:00] territory. Is that why it goes to the GGNRA and not automatically San Francisco Maritime? Because it feels like all the ship stuff should go to you.
Sabrina: I'm not well versed in, like, the particulars of this process. I'm thinking, from what I understand, there's just, like, like, this one, like, the deadeye, it's on loan because it was part of the collections and, you know, it's just like, oh, now let's just borrow it.
Sabrina: But I know that, like, other things that have been returned, or like, returned to GGRNA, or just never transitioned over, I'm not very sure, but so, I don't know what would happen if, like, tomorrow someone found another deadeye on Ocean Beach. However, but I do know is that like, if way back in 1905 or wherever and someone managed to like, I don't know, get a life ring from some other, from like some other wreck [00:30:00] and somehow kept it in their family for like the past hundred years and now they definitely be like, hello, San Francisco Maritime, do you want this? And then would be like, yes.
Nicole: All right. So listeners, if you have any weird maritime stuff hanging out as part of grandma's stuff, like bring it to Sabrina or not to Sabrina specific, well, she'll get it where it needs to go.
Sabrina: You can bring it to me and I'll be like, hello, colleagues. You want to look at this spoon that, I don't know, someone saved. Well, they were trying to get off a sinking ship. I don't know. I'm making that up.
Nicole: Your collection is really cool and I spent some time sort of trying to figure out what from the Golden Gate National Recreation Area was still over in your storage, so we could get it out of your way.
Sabrina: All right. You worked with, yeah. I remember this now.
Nicole: A million years ago.
Nicole: Like in a past life. And it was so cool. And Judy [00:31:00] Hitzman, who was the registrar there at the time, she was like, you want to see some Titanic stuff? I was like, yes I do. She was like, come here, it’s so cool.
Sabrina: Isn't there actually Titanic stuff?
Nicole: There was like, like China, like some teacups and I forget what else it was. Something that had like the, like, you know, the White Star Line logo and stuff on it. And I was like, I was super into Titanic when I was in eighth grade. So, I was like, show me all the, quote unquote, Leonardo DiCaprio stuff.
Sabrina: No, this is, I'm glad I'm learning something new because like, one of the things, like, there are like three things we always get asked. Like, the Maritime Rangers. It's like, where's the bathroom? How do we get to Alcatraz? And oh, so this is a true story and I kind of forgave it the first time when it was like a child who asked it, but then when it was like an adult who asked it, I was, I did like a double take, because like the other question is like, do you [00:32:00] have the Titanic here? And I'm like, it's like, so yeah, but now I can be like, no, we don't. But…
Nicole: We have a teacup. I hope I'm now remembering that memory correctly. Judy Hitzman, please email to correct me if this is completely wrong. But yeah, I mean, but the point being, this long rambly story, is that you guys have really cool stuff. Is there anything else that stands out that's in your collection or is on display that you're like, oh man, I have to tell them about this shipwreck thing.
Sabrina: Okay, so still on the subject of shipwrecks, I mean, there's like literally like the artifacts retrieved from the shipwrecks and then, if you're the ultimate shipwreck geek, you have maybe like shipbuilding plans, insurance records, company files, the career, like, data on like the careers of the captains [00:33:00] who may or may not have sailed their vessel to disaster. It's just like, pick an aspect of a shipwreck, and there's probably a resource at our Maritime Research Center that can speak to that. We also have, like, paintings. Some of those are, like, my favorite. There's like, for example, someone, like, made a painting of the King Philip while it was still not in total ruin off Ocean Beach. And then there's, like, sketches. And that, like, that personally fascinates me because it's like, oh, yeah shipwrecks were or have always been like an object of fascination. And then, back in the day, people will actually go to Ocean Beach with their easels and their sketchpads and, like, sit there for however long they want and now we have fine art shipwrecks.
Nicole: Yeah, they actually advertised on the streetcars. They were like, come to Ocean Beach to see the shipwrecks.
Sabrina: Yeah, use the [00:34:00] shipwrecks as billboards for your whiskey. So, so, you know, so yeah, so the sketches and stuff. And there's also the really technical maritime stuff like, what do you call them, it's like safety manuals. How do you like see if we get in and out? I mean, that's useful too. But we also have in the visitor center, not far from the shipwreck exhibit, the actual lens that was at the Farallon Islands. The Fresnel lens. Can shine a light for 26 miles and hopefully help avert one more, one more mishap.
Sabrina: So, yeah, and then.
Nicole: I'm no maritime expert, but I'm pretty sure that ships should stay really far away from the Farallons.
Sabrina: Yes. Yes, definitely.
Nicole: Seems like dangerous territory. And I know you said you had something from the Ohioan, which I'm particularly interested in, for, because of the [00:35:00] story I told you earlier that you didn't actually ask for.
Sabrina: Sorry. Like the segue I tried to attempt. The Ohioan one. What do we have from the Ohioan? Where are my notes?
Nicole: Is it a bronze steam valve?
Sabrina: It's a bronze steam valve and then engine rod bearings. Yep. My notes say, crashed so hard onto Seal Rocks that sparks flew and the wreck was in attraction for two years till it broke up in 1938.
Nicole: There should be some sort of movie about the Ohioan, like, just the Lands End shipwrecks that are right on top of each other.
Nicole: You know, I would say it should have, like, some action star in it. I'm not sure who that should be. I'm an ‘80s baby, so, you know, all the action names that are coming to my head, they're all old men now.
Sabrina: Speaking of action movies, another, like, fascinating slash [00:36:00] disturbing slash ridiculous slash gorgeous thing in the collection is, in the library, there's like, like popular fiction and pulp magazines with like shipwreck, that are shipwreck themed. So, you have like all these very characteristic pulpy covers of like men with like shoulders like three feet broad and like carrying women with eight, eight-inch waistlines out of the water and onto Ocean Beach. Which they're like, I mean, yeah, I could, it's like one, it's like, what is this, but also too, it's like, oh, so people really were this obsessed with like the action star aspect of, like, daring rescues. And, you know, because it does, like, require, I mean, I'm probably making it sound flippant, but it does require great strength and courage to save people from shipwrecks.
Nicole: Oh yeah.
Sabrina: But [00:37:00] anyway, but there's that whole aspect of shipwrecks too you wanted.
Nicole: Totally. I'm already having an idea for Shipwreck Week 2024, in which we stage dramatic readings out of these pulpy, these pulpy novels or stories at San Francisco Maritime. I can see it happening. Maybe I can get Stephanie Brown to do it with me.
Nicole: Would you come to that event if that was in a bar? It was just like a wine bar and it's Stephanie and I just drinking wine and dramatically reading these nonsense pulp stories?
Sabrina: Yeah. I feel like I could get some colleagues on board. If you've ever worked with Gina Bardi, the librarian, you're, like, making an I adore Gina expression.
Nicole: Yeah, she's wonderful.
Sabrina: So she, she used to, like, do demonstrations of rescues via breaches buoy. So, I'm sure she'll join for a dramatic reading.
Nicole: There is, there are so many places we want to take Shipwreck Week next year. [00:38:00] I, and, you know, it's kind of a limitless opportunity. So, I look forward to coming up with a lot more ideas with you, Sabrina and Gina, and like, literally anybody else from Maritime who is willing to let us drive you into this nonsense. But okay, so I want to make sure we cover everything that you wanted to talk about related to shipwrecks. I think we might have.
Sabrina: Yeah, we have. The bottom line is like, come see the visitor center.
Nicole: And are there times when people can specifically come and find you there or do you not want us to advertise the times and places that you're available, which I respect.
Sabrina: I mean I'm in the park on weekends, so I don't know if I'll be at the visitor center. But if you visit any of the park sites on the weekend, I'll be there. [00:39:00]
Nicole: And you’ll be wearing an official Maritime, like National Park Service uniform, right?
Sabrina: I will be in uniform. Yes. I don't know if I should advertise this where everyone in the National Park Service could hear me, but I probably won't be in a flat hat only because the flat hats tend to like, get blown into Aquatic Park cove. And it's kind of a waste. So, a lot of us actually just, like, yeah, wear ball caps or something. So.
Nicole: If it makes you feel better, Sabrina, nobody important from the National Park Service listens to this podcast.
Nicole: I can almost guarantee you that.
Sabrina: So, if anyone does like archaeology in the cove in like, 100 years, they probably won't find shipwrecks. They'll see a lot of flat hats.
Nicole: It's like a million.
Sabrina: Maybe it was like a ship with a cargo of flat hats, who knows?
Nicole: I really sincerely hope that's true. They're like, oh my god, why are there so many hats [00:40:00] here? Look at how many people must have died.
Sabrina: Yeah, they'll be like frantically searching archives for like, what, where's the cargo listing for flat hats?
Nicole: They're like, well, it must have gone down with the ship.
Sabrina: Yeah. Yes. Can't do it. Can't wait for the movie about this. Can't wait for the movie about this.
Nicole: Maybe, you know? This year we had a media studies student do a special video for Shipwreck Week. Maybe he wants to get into a dramatic production next year and we can stage a dramatic reenactment of this fake history. You're going to get a phone call about that, to be the star of that video.
Nicole: All right. Well, on that ridiculous note, I do feel like that's a great place to end the meaty part of this podcast, unless there's anything else you'd like to add before we go into our, our hard-hitting Barbara Walters section.
Sabrina: I'm excited for the hard-hitting [00:41:00] Barbara Walters section.
Nicole: All right, well, you know, batten down the hatches, everybody. We’re gonna ask…
Sabrina: All hands on deck.
Nicole: Yeah, exactly. Every other ship metaphor you can think of. Because here we go. Question number one, Sabrina. What, and this doesn't have, you don't have to theme these answers in a maritime way. These can just be honest Sabrina answers.
Nicole: So, number one. What is the best meal you've ever eaten in San Francisco?
Sabrina: It was everything I ordered from Sotto Mare at North Beach.
Nicole: Oh, and it is maritime theme and I appreciate you for that.
Sabrina: Oh, it's not deliberate, but yes.
Nicole: Look at you, 100 percent on brand. I appreciate that. Okay. So, number two. What is your favorite place in San Francisco? Like the one place you return to again and again that you love?
Sabrina: You're going to hate this because my actual answer to this is Land's End. [00:42:00]
Nicole: Yes. Oh, amazing. That's my favorite too. It's one of my favorite places. It's so magical there.
Sabrina: Land's End.
Nicole: Okay, number three. What is the one thing out of towners shouldn't miss? Like, where do you take people when they visit?
Sabrina: Usually, I take them up to like, the de Young Museum tower, so they can see everything. And if I know that they are sports fans like me, I insist that they go to the Giants ballpark.
Nicole: Oh man, did you hear Gabe Kapler got fired?
Sabrina: Yes. Today.
Nicole: This is a real side has nothing to do with our podcast or any of these questions, but I was like, oh boy, that's a big change for our team. We can talk about that later.
Nicole: But I just saw the article like five minutes before we started recording this podcast. Okay, number four. What's one San Francisco thing that doesn't exist anymore that you would bring back if you could?
Sabrina: You're going to hate me again because this answer is [00:43:00] maritime themed, but I can't help it, okay? You know how they always refer to San Francisco as having been a forest of masts? Like, I want to see that. I just want to know what that, like, looks like in real life, not in photos.
Sabrina: And then, just like, see all the sails unfurl from that forest, and now it's like a forest of clouds or something with, like, the sails. I just wanna know what that, like, actually looks like if you look out into the bay and see every kind of vessel imaginable.
Nicole: I love that answer. That's a fantastic answer. A lot of times I'll walk around the city and I'll just like try to take these mental images. And I think to myself, what will people 100 years from now think about what I'm looking at? You know, it's such a crazy, well maybe the, maybe global warming will just obliterate all of humankind by then. But like, if not, like, I'm so lucky to be experiencing this place at this time. Maybe that's a nerdy thing, but here we are. Okay. This is [00:44:00] the real humdinger. Number five. Why is history important?
Sabrina: Well, I guess you're going to, why is history, well, it's cliche, right? That it's like, you learn from the past, but it's like, if you don't study the terrain, or like, that you're going into, you're just going to sail through the Golden Gate Strait and hit a bunch of rocks and reefs because you didn't pay attention to, like, what had happened before. So.
Nicole: Yeah, if you don't study history, you'll, you're a shipwreck.
Nicole: Oh my god.
Sabrina: I will go down with that ship.
Nicole: Sabrina, you're amazing. Ladies and gentlemen, Sabrina understood the assignment and like showed up completely. [00:45:00] This was, I can't, I can’t tell you enough, Sabrina, how, what a perfect ending this podcast has been to Shipwreck Week. It's been a long week and like, thank you so much for culminating it in the perfect way possible.
Sabrina: I'm happy to help.
Nicole: And that concludes our Sabrina portion of the podcast. I am now going to chug through a lot of WNP business. You are welcome to stay Sabrina. You are not required to stay.
Sabrina: Okay. So. I can stay.
Nicole: Okay. Alright, here we go. I'm so sorry, Sabrina. Alright listeners, so, of course you know how to send us listener mail if you've listened to any podcast before because we tell you on every single podcast. But for those of you who are fresh on to Outside Lands San Francisco, I will tell you that email is the quickest way to [00:46:00] get in touch with us. Please send us your thoughts, your questions, anything you have related to the podcast to email@example.com. And we'll get back to you as soon as possible. We might even read your mail on air. You can also take advantage of all of our social medias. We're on Instagram, Twitter, which is now called X, which I hate saying, but here we are, and Facebook. And you can post a podcast comment there and it'll find its way back to us. I didn't actually put any podcast comments in this section because it's been a long week. So, we'll just leave it at that.
And I'm going to move into the benefits of membership and donating. Oh boy, maybe I'm my own shipwreck at this point. Ugh, sheesh. Okay, so friends, relations, people who don't know us but know us now, if you clickety, clickety, clack the big orange button at the top of any page on either of our websites, [00:47:00] outsidelands.org and OpenSFHistory.org, you can make a donation that supports our non-profit community history efforts. And, in exchange, if you give us $50 or more, that amount qualifies you as a member, and you get a quarterly membership magazine, discount on events, and other exclusive perks. Believe me, they come in handy, and they really do save you money throughout the year if you engage with us a lot and come to a lot of our programs.
But of course, your membership and all those donations support all the good work that we do and make available for free. We've got the OpenSFHistory archive, which is a treasure trove of historical photos that go all across San Francisco. And, you know, there's some ships on there, plenty of shipwreck photos. You've probably seen a lot over the last, past week. We've got the Cliff House collection, it's care and exhibition. This podcast, which, you know, is totally free and we don't put behind a paywall. So, [00:48:00] please consider a donation, a tax-deductible donation today to support our history work.
And that moves us seamlessly into the section I now call What's Up With WNP. Well, we have officially survived Shipwreck Week. That's what's up with WNP. But also, because I guess we can sleep and we're dead, I jumped in to participate in Too Much Information, or TMI, a problem children gathering happening right now, October 14th through the 15th, that includes creative dialogues, screenings, and communal learning. It's hosted by Problem Library, which has an office and gallery at 1288 15th Avenue, near Irving in the Sunset District. And on October 15th, I'll be talking about St. Anne's of the Sunset and providing a little history of the neighborhood to folks. Maybe even waxing philosophical about the complexities of doing history. And I'll be honest, [00:49:00] Problem Library is hard to explain, but once you're in the presence of founders Blake Conway and Daniel Lucas, it's very to, easy to understand what they're about. So you can find out more at problemlibrary.org, or by visiting their Insta, @ProblemLibrary. And it does seem like more and more opportunities to be educators in our field of influence here keeps kind of falling in our lap. We're not seeking it out. It just keeps happening.
I just got back from a full four days at the Western Museums Association conference in my hometown, Pasadena. I'm on the program committee for the conference. And while I was there, I got to do a ton of amazing things. I chaperoned a trip to NASA JPL, which, you know, I'm obsessed with space. So that was very exciting for me. I moderated two panel discussions on problems with public art and museum collections, and was so honored to share how WNP approaches public programs on a third panel during the conference. [00:50:00]
And before I left to do that, I was asked by my former professor and new colleague and now colleague Paula Birnbaum to speak with her museum studies class at USF about the problems and opportunities of historic house museums. Kind of through the lens of what we were able to do interpreting a historic location with our pop up at the former Cliff House restaurant. We followed that with a site visit to Haas Lilienthal House, thanks to someone we're all familiar with here on the pod, Mr. Woody Labounty. Aand we're so grateful to him for opening that space to us. And it's also really important to us at WNP to foster learning however and wherever we can. And we're so grateful to these institutions to have, to send us invitations, to share what we know. And so, thank you WMA and USF and Haas Lilienthal House for being spirited collaborators.
Woo. I don't think I'm going to be able to speak English for the rest of this [00:51:00] podcast, but I'm going to try to get through the rest of this. We're almost done friends. Anyways, we're kind of winding down our public events for the year. Thank god, I'm exhausted. But you can find all the latest upcoming happenings on our website, outsidelands.org/events. And you can also sign up for our monthly newsletter on our websites, the very top of the main page. And be sure to join over 415 followers of WNP's Eventbrite page, and by doing that, you get to be the very first to know when an event goes live, because they ping you with an email.
So, with that, I will say adieu for the week and our preview for next week is, speaking of St. Anne's, tune in next week to hear all about the healing properties of a saintly relic right here in the West side So, until next time I'm Nicole Meldahl and this has been another episode of [00:52:00] Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of Western Neighborhoods Project. Thank you so much to our guest Sabrina Oliveros and as always Thank you for being with us 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 outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.