Monday, January 16, 2017

Corona Heights Park, San Francisco, Then & Now: 14 & 16 January 2017

Corona Heights Park is located above both the  Corona Heights neighborhood and the Castro Neighborhood. The park is Buena Vista Park’s southerly sister, and it has some of the best views of San Francisco. In the early days of San Francisco, the hill was known as Rocky Hill. It was also known for the brick-making kiln and rock quarry sited on the lower southeastern side of the hill. The rock quarry and kiln were owned and operated by two brothers, George and Harry Gray; they established the rock quarry and brick factory on Rocky Hill in 1899. San Francisco needed stone and bricks for ship ballast, construction, street paving, bay fill and other uses, and the Gray brothers provided them. The brothers also operated rock quarries on Telegraph Hill and Billy Goat Hill. The brick making kiln on Rocky Hill burned during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, but rock quarrying continued, and the kiln was rebuilt. 

On 10 November 1914, a desperate 36-year-old former quarry worker named Joseph Lococo approached owner George Gray to urgently request $17.50 due him in back wages. The Sicilian immigrant was ill and was about to be evicted from his house on Arkansas Street. He, his wife and their two babies had not eaten for two days. George Gray refused to pay him and told him to get out. Joseph Lococo then pulled out a gun and shot George Gray to death. Joseph Lococo was acquitted by reason of temporary insanity and walked out of the courtroom a free man. Harry Gray shut down the rock quarry and brick kiln operation in 1915.

In 1928 Josephine Randall the Recreation Superintendent of San Francisco proposed that the City buy the 16 acre Rocky Hill site as a recreation location for the residents of San Francisco; it was purchased by the City in 1941 and named Corona Heights Park. The Randall Museum, located on the lower southwest side of the hill opened in 1951. It was the desire of Josephine Randall to create a place where city children could experience “a day in the country" and learn to love natural history, science, and crafts. Today, the museum offers science exhibits, art and ceramics classes, a theater and a carpentry workshop.

I went to Corona Heights Park on both the 14th and 16th of January 2017 so that I would be able to take pictures of the park from several dissimilar locations.

This is a view of Corona Heights Park; the view is looking northeast. The photograph was taken from the top of Tank HillClick on the image to see the full-size photograph.
The photograph was taken from the top of Corona Heights Park; the view is looking east. Mount Diablo can be seen at about thirty-five miles in the distance. Oakland is visible across San Francisco BayClick on the image to see the full-size photo.



THEN   This view of Rocky Hill, now known as Corona Heights Park, shows the brick kiln built by the Gray Brothers. The photo was taken from Kite Hill circa 1900. The view is looking north.



NOW   This picture of Corona Heights Park was taken from Solari Hill, also known as Kite Hill Open Space. The location of the site of the brick kiln can be seen. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.


Here is another view of Rocky Hill; this photo was taken circa 1904. It appears that this photo was taken from a camera attached to a kite
 One final view of Rocky Hill; this photo was taken circa 1905. The view is looking northwest. The brick kiln is on the far left and almost completely out of view. You will notice some quarry scars on the hillside. 

This plat map of the brick kiln, the surrounding streets, property lines, and houses was drawn in the early 1900s. 

This is one of the few remnants of the brick kiln building. It is located adjacent to State Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

These bricks were used to build a retaining wall. The wall is also located adjacent to State Street. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

This was the location of the Gray Brother's brick kiln building. The land is now used for tennis courts and as a small playing field. The view is looking west; Sutro Tower is ahead in the distance. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
This is the summit of Corona Heights Park; it is at an elevation of 520 feet (158 meters). The view is from the west side of the park. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.



This view of Corona Heights Park was taken from 20th Street. Behind Corona Heights Park is Buena Vista Park, the first official park in the City of San Francisco. Between Corona Heights Park and Buena Vista Park is a long building whose exterior is painted in a light pink hue. That building was originally St. Joseph’s Hospital; it was built between 1926-1928. The building was converted to condominiums in 1979. The view is looking north. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

This picture of Corona Heights Park was taken from Solari Hill. Mr. Solari was a farmer whose cows grazed in the area. Thanks to Mark Lillie for the background information about the naming of Solari Hill. The hill is officially known as Kite Hill Open Space. In this photo, the location of the site of the brick kiln can be seen at Corona Heights Park. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

This is a picture of Kite Hill Open Space. Corona Heights Park is visible in the background on the left side of the photo. The view is looking northeast. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

Beautiful Twin Peaks. The peak on the left is Noe Peak, 910 feet (277 meters) and the peak on the right is Eureka Peak, 904 feet (275 meters). The view is looking southwest. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.
This picture was taken on a Muni Metro F-Market & Wharves streetcar traveling north on Market Street towards downtown San Francisco and its final stop at Fisherman's WharfClick on the image to see the full-size photo.
The distance traveled on 14 January 2017 was approximately 3.9 miles (6.3 kilometers). Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. The cumulative elevation gain was about 778 feet (237 meters). Click on the image to see the full-size map.
A graph of the elevation changes encountered during the walk on 14 January 2017. Click on the image to see the full-size chart.
The distance traveled on 16 January 2017 was approximately 6.7 miles (10.8 kilometers). Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. The cumulative elevation gain was about 997 feet (304 meters). Click on the image to see the full-size map.
A graph of the elevation changes encountered during the walk on 16 January 2017. Click on the image to see the full-size chart.
“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” -Dorothea Lange


The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

Panasonic GX7 camera body mounted with a Panasonic 14-42mm lens was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com