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Richmond YMCA students get their turn on the Red Carpet, May 1

This Saturday, students from the Richmond District YMCA’s Afterschool program may have to look over their shoulder for paparazzi while their short films premiere on the big screen at the Balboa Theater.

The “Richmond District YMCA Movie Premiere” event takes place at 11am on Saturday at the Balboa, 3630 Balboa Street. The films being shown are movies that K – 5 students in the program wrote, made the costumes for and starred in.

Tickets are $5 per person (adult or child) and all proceeds benefit the the Richmond District YMCA Afterschool Program for children at Argonne and Lafayette Elementary schools.

For more information, contact Raquel Espana at the Richmond District YMCA at 666-9605 or respana@ymcasf.org.

Sarah B.

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 1:42 pm | Posted under Events, Kids, Movies, Schools | Comments Off on Richmond YMCA students get their turn on the Red Carpet, May 1

“Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It” author at Green Apple Books, May 1

If you’re into D.I.Y. activities, this author event is for you.

This Saturday, author Billee Sharp will appear at Green Apple Books to share her freecycling, budget-savvy, barter-better wisdom that is part of her book, Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It.

From the radical common sense introduction to the practical how-to’s and yummy recipes, Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It is a step-by-step handbook to revolutionizing spending habits and reclaiming quality of life in the process.

Sharp will talk about some of the tips in her book including how to start a community garden and to seed share, ditch the grass and raise organic veggies in the front lawn, eco-clean the house with lemons and lavender, cure minor maladies from the kitchen cabinet, organize a trade-for-what-you-want free flea market, and cook meals for pennies.

The event is free and will take place in the Granny Smith Room at Green Apple Books, 506 Clement Street, at 2pm.

Plus, here’s a recent interview with Billee Sharp on Examiner.com.

Sarah B.

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 8:31 am | Posted under Events | Comments Off on “Fix It, Make It, Grow It, Bake It” author at Green Apple Books, May 1

How the Richmond District got its name

The February edition of the Western Neighborhoods Project newsletter included a great cover story on how the Richmond District was named. Written by WNP historian Woody LaBounty, the article does a great job of tying together the man behind the name, George Turner Marsh, and his enduring stamp on the northwest corner of San Francisco.

The name of “Richmond District” has been in use for some 125 years. But it was only in early 2009, with the help of local historian John Freeman and Supervisor Eric Mar, that the name became official again.

On March 3, 2009, the Board of Supervisors passed ordinance 36-09 to designate the neighborhood bounded by Arguello Boulevard, Ocean Beach, Lake Street, and Fulton Street, the Richmond District. The 2009 ordinance permanently reversed one passed in 1917 which had named the area the “Park Presidio District”.

The Park Presidio moniker never really stuck. Even the local paper stayed with their “Richmond Banner” masthead. By the 1930s, everyone was back to calling it the Richmond District.

The original name for the neighborhood goes back to an Australian immigrant named George Turner Marsh. During his family’s move from Australia to San Francisco in 1872, they made a stop in Japan. George was fascinated with Japanese culture and after begging his family to let him stay in Yokohama, “his father found the boy a position at a tea import/export firm and auction house, and George began his life in business.”

Four years later, George moved to San Francisco to rejoin his family. He had already amassed quiet a collection of Japanese antiques and art, so with his father’s help, “he opened his own store in the Palace Hotel at 625 Market Street, “G.T. Marsh and Company: Japanese Art Repository”. It was likely the first Asian-art gallery in the United States.

A bit later, in 1880, George Turner Marsh married and built a large home in what was then the sparsely settled Western end of San Francisco, also known as the outside lands.

The home and estate Marsh built on the southeast corner of 12th Avenue and Clement Street was considerably different than most of the humble houses in the area. The residence was large and elegant, and on the land around it Marsh installed a garden and ornamental stream, orchard, carriage house, stables, quarters for servants, and chicken pens.

See a photo of George Turner Marsh’s home

Commuting between the outside lands and the Palace Hotel was no small feat. In one of my favorite parts of the article, Woody describes Marsh’s unique solution to help bridge the distance:

Marsh raised carrier pigeons, and would always carry a couple with him when he rode on horseback to work downtown. In the late afternoon he would send a bird home with a message for his wife about when he’d be home, and if he planned to bring guests for dinner. In one family story, Marsh even sent a vial of medicine to a doctor by carrier pigeon to save one of his children stricken by diphtheria.

As the district became more populated, there was a move in 1884 to decide on an official name. Outside lands was no longer appropriate, as evidenced by this note in a March 1884 issue of the San Francisco Bulletin:

“…the section noted is gradually being built up by tasty one and two-story structures, occupied by families whose heads are mostly identified with down-town business firms, and whose interests, personal or otherwise, can hardly be classed as outside in any sense.”

George Turner Marsh was one of those very business men, and had named his home “Richmond House” after his home suburb of Richmond in Australia. LaBounty writes, “His prosperity and respectability must have seemed a model for the face of the growing neighborhood, because after various names were suggested, the property owners selected Richmond as their choice of name.”

The city made the Richmond District name official by passing ordinance 2309 in 1890, “obliterating the name ‘Outside Lands’ from the official map” and designating the area the Richmond District.”

I encourage you to read Woody’s full article, Naming the Richmond District: George Turner Marsh and the Birth of a Neighborhood” on outsidelands.org to learn more about Marsh’s life, his pioneering retail store, and to see a photo of his original Richmond District home at Clement and 12th Avenue.

Outsidelands.org is a website belonging to the Western Neighborhoods Project, which is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to preserve and share the history and culture of the neighborhoods in western San Francisco. Become a member today to support their efforts – you get a quarterly newsletter, special guided history walks, and other great historical information.

Special thanks to Woody LaBounty for authoring and sharing this excellent article.

Sarah B.

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 7:15 am | Posted under History | 1 comment

Richmond residents get in free to the Academy of Sciences, April 30 – May 2

The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park is hosting Neighborhood Free Days for the Richmond District this Friday through Sunday.

Free admission is available for any resident living in the 94115, 94118, 94121, 94129 zip codes this weekend (with valid ID; see below).

If you want to see the new Extreme Mammals exhibit, be sure to go right to the second level when you arrive to pick up passes. Same is true for the planetarium shows – secure your passes as soon as you arrive.

Each visiting adult during neighborhood free days must show a valid photo ID with proof of residency. The following items or combinations are acceptable:

– A driver license or state ID card
– Photo ID plus postmarked envelope, postcard, or magazine label with name and date
– Photo ID plus utility bill (gas/electric/cable), bank statement, or letter from a government agency with name and home address (not a P.O. Box)

The Academy is open 9:30am – 5pm on Friday and Saturday, 11am to 5pm on Sunday. Have fun!

Sarah B.

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 3:22 pm | Posted under Free stuff, Golden Gate Park, Kids | Comments Off on Richmond residents get in free to the Academy of Sciences, April 30 – May 2

Update from Richmond PD on alleged Mt. Lake Park lurker

An email sent out this morning by Captain Richard Correia of the Richmond DIstrict Police Station:


On April 21, 2010 Richmond Station was alerted though a widely circulated email about suspicious activity by a lone adult male at Mountain Lake Park . The email stated the individual had been using his cell phone to take photographs of other people’s children near the park’s play structures. He did not have any children with him and was doing pull ups while wearing slacks and a jacket. A parent used a cell phone to take a photograph of the subject, which she included with the email.

The volume of Internet traffic related to this issue was significant and served to raise public awareness about the issue. From the online comments and those we heard at a community meeting, it was apparent that the incident generated a great deal of angst and questions about the level of safety in our community. People were frightened.

Upon receipt of the email we started an investigation. Our intent was to identify the individual, determine if he had violated any laws and ascertain if he presented an actual risk to our community.

On April 26, 2010, plain-clothes officers identified the subject and met with him at his home. While surprised at being the subject of a police investigation, he was cooperative and unguarded. Officers interviewed him and reviewed his background. He allowed officers to examine his cell phone and his laptop computer. He stated that he hadn’t taken any photographs. He explained that he was looking at his phone’s screen while using the telephone’s stop watch feature as part of his work out. Such an activity could be perceived as a person taking photographs.

Our investigation did not disclose any facts that suggest that the individual had engaged in illegal activity or that he presents a risk to our community. We informed him about signage in the park that prohibits adults from entering the children’s play area except when they are accompanying children.

I appreciate your many emails about this incident. I hope that the results of our investigation help to assuage any worries you have had about the safety of children in our community. Please feel free to call or email me if you have any questions.

Captain Richard Corriea

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 12:06 pm | Posted under News, Parks | 40 comments

A restaurant name inspired by the Governator?

I can’t help but think of Arnold when I pass by “Cali Pho Nia” at Clement and 11th Avenue. 😉

Sarah B.

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 11:27 am | Posted under Food, Photos | 4 comments

Ocean Beach through the lens

A nice set of photos of Ocean Beach taken by SF à gogo.

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 8:44 am | Posted under Photos | Comments Off on Ocean Beach through the lens

Beth Shalom’s “Energy Blast!” community event, May 2

Next Sunday, May 2, from 12pm – 4pm, stop by Beth Shalom at 14th and Clement for a special community event, The Energy Blast!

Enjoy toe-tapping bluegrass music, Israeli folk dancing, delicious food and energetic activities – including cooking in a solar oven and a kids’ pedal parade (kid’s, please bring your bicycle to decorate). Relax in the massage chairs, tour the shiny fire truck and check out the Lag B’Omer camp site.

You can also enter to win one of dozens of raffle prizes including sports tickets, yummy edibles, hotel stays, party packages, and the grand prize – up to $10,000!

Tickets are $18 for adults and free for kids. Proceeds benefit Congregation Beth Sholom. For more information, visit their website, email energyblast@bethsholomsf.org
or call 221-8736, x124.

Sarah B.

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 10:06 am | Posted under Events, Kids | Comments Off on Beth Shalom’s “Energy Blast!” community event, May 2