Golden Gate Park Lakes

Unfinished History

1910 Willard Worden inter-dune-pond.jpg

This c. 1910 photo by Willard Worden shows an inter-dune pond in the future Sunset District. Before Golden Gate Park was developed, 14 native inter-dune lakes existed within the park's 1,013 acres. All of the native lakes were filled except the Chain of Lakes, and manmade bodies of water replaced the natural lakes.

Photo: Private Collection, San Francisco, CA

Plat-59 Golden-Gate-Park-west-end-1876.jpg

1876 map of western end of new Golden Gate Park, showing the original fresh water lakes east of sand ridges, one near the ocean, and the other that later was reconfigured into "Chain of Lakes" near 41st Avenue.

Map: courtesy David Rumsey collection

1876 Plat-58 east-end-GG-Park.jpg

Eastern end of Golden Gate Park, 1876, with large-ish lake at site of the Sharon Children's Playground, later filled in. Original Big Four cemeteries visible at upper right.

Map: courtesy David Rumsey collection

Chain-of-lakes 4592.jpg

Chain of Lakes near western end of Golden Gate Park, 2014.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

Chain of Lakes circa 1905 wnp15.1719.jpg

Chain of Lakes with rustic bridge, c. 1897.

Photo: wnp15.1719

North Lake, Chain of Lakes, Rustic Bridge, Two women posing on high bridge to island on North Lake. c1900 opensfhistory wnp27.2851.jpg

North Lake, Chain of Lakes, rustic bridge, two women posting on high bridge to island, c. 1900.

Photo: wnp27.2851

Woman posing on concrete rustic bridge, likely on North Lake in Golden Gate Park.opensfhistory wnp37.03245.jpg

Woman posing on concrete rustic bridge, probably North Lake.

Photo: wnp37.03245

Spreckels-Lake 4565.jpg

Spreckels Lake, home to the S.F. Model Yacht Club, 2014.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

Elk-glen-lake 4543.jpg

Elk Glen Lake, 2014.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

1893-bridge-on-Stow-Lake-to-Strawberry-Hill-island 4515.jpg

1893 bridge crossing Stow Lake to Strawberry Hill, 2014.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

Stow-lake-w-birds 4500.jpg

Stow Lake provides sanctuary to many different birds.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

Stow-lake 4506.jpg

Stow Lake, 2014.

Photo: Chris Carlsson


Mallard Lake, with its namesake inhabitants.

Photos: Chris Carlsson

September 24, 2022

Chain o' Lakes, Golden Gate Park

Our first Walk n Talk Urban Forum of Fall 2022 season, started the north edge of the Northernmost of the Chain of Lakes in western Golden Gate Park. After traversing the width of the park we proceeded west and encounter a number of other stories related to trains, bicycles, feminism, shipwrecks and more!

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Chain-o-lakes 20220816 210806668.jpg

Chain o' Lakes view, 2022.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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