The Panhandle

From FoundSF

Unfinished History

You can't tell the history of the Haight Ashbury without addressing the development of Golden Gate Park, especially of the Panhandle. The Panhandle is actually the oldest of the parks; at one time it was John McLaren's arboretum. Every bush, every tree, even the Eucalyptus (now politically incorrect non-native species) were first planted in the Panhandle to see how they survived. Thus the Panhandle has the oldest trees in Golden Gate Park and 21 varieties of Eucalyptus.

- Calvin Welch from a lecture at New College in Fall, 1994.

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The Panhandle in 1882. Baker and Oak Streets at front right corner of park, dunes still predominant in area.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA

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Just a little over a decade later, the Victorians are beginning to crowd around the Panhandle, gateway to Golden Gate Park.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA

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Fell Street at Cole, c. 1926.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA

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United Railroads trolley lumbers west on Oak Street, c. 1933.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA


Cars drive up the Panhandle to enter Golden Gate Park, circa 1931.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA

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Former roadway through the Panhandle is now a series of grassy meadows approaching the park.

Photo: Chris Carlsson


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Masonic looking south through Panhandle, 1935.

Photo: Private collector, San Francisco, CA

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Masonic looking south through Panhandle, 1994.

Photo: David Green

Plans for Panhandle Freeway, defeated by concerted citizen activism in the 1950s-1960s.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

1948 vision of easterly view towards Fillmore between Fell and Oak.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer

Route of proposed Panhandle freeway.

Image: courtesy Eric Fischer


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