“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

San Francisco in San Francisco City and County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

Glen Canyon Park History

Glen Canyon Park History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, November 18, 2016
1. Glen Canyon Park History Marker
Inscription.  Unfortunately this marker has been badly vandalized. Missing portions are represented by ...

Imagine how the Glen Canyon Park used to be part of the open ... hills far south of San Francisco... how you might feel if you came across this 70 acre... foot deep canyon for the first time ...tected ... the winds down small rive... provide sweet water... lush vegetation and wildlife .... local Ohlone people were drawn to Islais Creek and used Glen Canyon for shelter and hunting.

1690s - 1840s
Remote Grassland
During the Mexican colonization and governance of California (1697-1848), Glen Canyon was part of a large estate called Rancho San Miguel and cattle grazing was prevalent.
Smugglers and cattle rustlers (thieves) hid in rock outcrops the canyon's Caves during the Gold Rush, With the invention of the automobile still may years away. It took 3 hours to hike here from downtown.

Explosive Past Through local connections, Alfred Nobel (Nobel Prize) leased land from L.L. Robinson in what was still known as Rancho San
Glen Canyon Park History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, November 18, 2016
2. Glen Canyon Park History Marker
Miguel. The Giant Powder Company was incorporated as the first commercial manufacturer of dynamite in the United States, personally licensed by Nobel. In eighteen months, the whole facility would blow up in one big fireball. This site has been designated as California Historical Landmark No. 1002.

A Growing City
The dreamy canyon changed its face when real estate agent A.S. Baldwin tried to attract ... some buyers with ab amusement park soon after he acquired it in the late ... acquired a zoo, bowling alley, air balloon ... performers, and a tight rope walk across the Canyon.
Glen Canyon ... then became an infamous picnic area for corporate and private parties that got .... with "boisterous" drinking. In 1922 the San Francisco Recreation and Parks ... acquired the property as a playground to protect the area.

In 1935 O'Shaughnessy Boulevard was was ... over the Canyon's steep western slopes, connecting Glen Park to the western parts of the city but cutting off the watershed from Mount Davidson and reducing the small Islais River to a trickling creek.
In 1937 the Works Progress Administration (WPA) which helped build bridges, streets and parks all over the country with government funding, built the Recreation center
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that we still enjoy today. In the mid-1940s the Silver Tree Day Camp was established ... by 1960 the Silver Tree ... had

In the 1950s and 1960s there were several attempts by developers and engineers to build a highway through Glen Canyon including ... through ... connect ... of the ... These various ... were met by community ... the 1960s, ... activists -- ...eraldine ... Nordstrom rallied Glen Park residents to oppose a four-lane freeway expressway that was planned through the Canyon.
They formed ... Save the ... Committee devoted ...ting the park ...rations, and organ... Glen Park School protest the freeway plan. Approximately 400 people attended. In 1967 after several years of disputes and protests, the City finally conceded, and the "high capacity roadway" was abandoned.
The neighborhood mom activist were dismissively dubbed "The Gum Tree Girls" by a pro-freeway city engineer. One of the main trails in the Canyon is name the Gum Tree Girls in recognition of these three women who effectively fought to maintain the integrity and beauty of this amazing urban oasis and as a testament to grassroots activism.
Erected by San Francisco Parks and Recreation. (Marker Number 1002.)
Marker series.
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This marker is included in the California Historical Landmark marker series.
Location. 37° 44.423′ N, 122° 26.488′ W. Marker is in San Francisco, California, in San Francisco City and County. Marker can be reached from O'Shaughnessey Boulevard near Elk Street, on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1271 O'Shaughnessey Boulevard, San Francisco CA 94131, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. St. Mary's Pub (approx. one mile away); St. Mary's College (approx. one mile away); Christine Jorgensen (approx. 1.4 miles away); Randy Shilts (approx. 1.4 miles away); Harvey Milk (approx. 1.4 miles away); Harry Hay (approx. 1.4 miles away); a different marker also named Harvey Milk (approx. 1.4 miles away); Gertrude Stein (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Francisco.
More about this marker. This marker is located on the Gum Tree Girls Trail about 1/2 mile from the Recreation Center.
Regarding Glen Canyon Park History. NO. 1002 SITE OF THE FIRST DYNAMITE FACTORY IN UNITED STATES - The first commercial manufacturing of dynamite in the U.S. occurred in what is now Glen Canyon Park. On March 19, 1868, the Giant Powder Company began production at its first manufacturing plant, under exclusive license from Alfred Nobel to produce his new explosive in America. The factory did not last long. On November 26, 1869, an explosion completely destroyed the entire facility, turning every one of the buildings on the place, and the surrounding fencing, into "hundreds of pieces," according to a newpaper account. The company moved its operations elsewhere, an action that was to be repeated again in the future under similar circumstances, until it moved to its permanent and final home at Point Pinole on San Pablo Bay. -- California Historical Landmarks
Related marker. Click here for another marker that is related to this marker. CHL 1002-1 — Site of Giant Powder Company at Point Pinole
Also see . . .  10 Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Glen Canyon - Curbed SF. Glen Canyon is a rare example of a canyon in an urban setting, and offers a unique escape from the hustle and bustle of city life. What started as a eucalytus grove before taking a turn as a dynamite factory and later an amusement park, the park is definitely an unparalleled outdoor space in San Francisco. (Submitted on November 20, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.) 
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Credits. This page was last revised on December 15, 2019. This page originally submitted on November 20, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California. This page has been viewed 178 times since then and 7 times this year. Last updated on December 14, 2019, by Craig Baker of Sylmar, California. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 20, 2016, by Barry Swackhamer of Brentwood, California.
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