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Police Blotter – January 30, 2015

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of January 31, 2015. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org.]

01-30-2015 Weekly Update
Richmond District Police Station
San Francisco Police Department
461 6th Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94118

NOTE: We are trying a different format for the weekly newsletter. We hope this gives our readers a brief summary of noteworthy events that is easily read on a mobile device. In the words of Sgt. Joe Friday, “Just the facts…”


BURGLARY OF AN APARTMENT 300 block of 24th Ave
An unknown suspect forced the door open during the afternoon while the residents were away. The suspect took cash and misc. property

An unknown suspect entered an open garage while the residents were gone for just an hour during the morning. Tools and a camera were stolen.

An unknown suspect somehow opened the door of a shared apartment building garage at about 11:00AM. Alert residents called 911 and the suspect fled in a silver Honda CRV without taking anything. The suspect was described as a Latino male 45-50 yrs old 5”9 195lbs wearing grey work clothes and glasses.

BURGLARY OF AN OFFICE 2800 block of California
An unknown suspect entered a closed business office overnight by climbing through an unlocked window. Cash, computers and a cell phone were taken.

BURGLARY OF A STORE 3400 block of Geary
An unknown suspect broke a window, entered a closed store overnight and stole electronic items.

A resident received a call on his home phone from an unknown suspect who claimed to be calling from the Social Security office. The suspect asked for the resident’s social security number, mother’s maiden name, and address. The resident gave him this information.

SAFETY TIP: Never give out this sort of identifying information to an unknown person – especially if you did not initiate the call.

Neighbors called 911 after hearing a person screaming in a nearby apartment. Upon arrival, officers found a woman who was hearing voices and experiencing delusions. She was transported to the hospital.

A male sent several suicidal text messages to an out of town friend who then called the SFPD. When officers went to check on the man, they found that he was despondent and that he had a handgun sitting on the table in his residence. The man was transported to the hospital and the gun was taken to the station for safekeeping.

A man suffering a psychiatric crisis jumped out of a second story window. Fortunately, his injuries were minor. He was transported to the hospital.

An officer on patrol saw a man cross busy Geary Blvd in spite of the “Do Not Walk” signal and stopped him to issue a citation for this dangerous violation. A routine records check showed that this person had a warrant for his arrest for a felony domestic violence charge out of Sacramento County. The man was arrested (and cited for the traffic violation as well).

FELONY WARRANT ARREST Golden Gate Park: JFK Drive at Stow Lake
An officer on patrol saw a vehicle being driven with expired registration. During the traffic stop, a routine records check showed that this person had a warrant for his arrest for a felony fraud charge out of Tehama County. The man was arrested (and cited for the traffic violation as well).

THEFT Washington High School
One student stole another student’s new iPhone and sold the phone downtown. The suspect (a 16 year old boy) was detained and taken to the Juvenile Justice Center.

ASSAULT Roosevelt Middle School
Two 14 year old girls punched and kicked another 14 year old girl on the playground at the middle school. The victim and one of the suspects are students at the school while the other suspect is a student at a high school. The victim suffered minor injuries. The suspects were both detained and taken to the Juvenile Justice Center.



Tuesday 02-17-2015 at 7:00 PM
Richmond Station Community Room
461 6th Ave.

Call 911 for emergencies
Call 415-553-0123 for non-emergency police service

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 3:49 pm | Posted under Crime | 12 comments

Video: “California Cowboys” short documentary on Ocean Beach surfers

We don’t know too much about the video other than the interviews and photos were conducted by Claire Kirshner. It’s a nice look at the surfers that frequent the wild waters of Ocean Beach.


UPDATE: We got a note from Claire with some extra info on the video: “Hi there, I am Claire who created the Ocean Beach audio slideshow. Thanks so much for sharing it on your blog! I am a USF student and live in the Richmond district so it is such an honor! This project was for Audio Production class at USF taught by Beth Hoffman and features interviews by Andy Falzone and Aaron Lanes, two good friends of mine. All of the interviews, photos, videos and editing were done by me. Thanks again!”

Sarah B.

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 12:48 pm | Posted under Ocean Beach, Video | 1 comment

Local links: Burmese Kitchen back, Red Lantern to open, GWHS’ views & more

Sunset at Ocean Beach, 1/26/15. Photo by @ob-kc

Happy Tuesday, everyone! While the east coast is getting the lion’s share of harsh weather, enjoy last night’s sunset above – and these local links:

  • Hoodline has a new article on the coyotes of Golden Gate Park with some nice photos. “Coyote-watchers are encouraged to visit the western end of Golden Gate park at dusk and in the early morning hours. They’re also frequently spotted near North Lake, Ocean Beach, Presidio Golf Course and Land’s End near dawn.”
  • It was curtains for Burmese Kitchen but they have found a new home in the neighborhood in the old To Hyang space (3815 Geary near 2nd Avenue). “Though not strictly vegetarian, Burmese Kitchen prominently bills itself as vegetarian-friendly and even has a decent amount of vegan options, with most dishes priced between $6.95-9.50. Hours will be daily from 5-10 p.m., with weekend lunch hours to be announced soon.” [Bold Italic]
  • In other food news, a new Asian fusion / sushi restaurant called Red Lantern is getting ready to open at Geary and 22nd Avenue. They’re finishing their build-out according to their Facebook page but no opening date or hints as to the menu yet. Thanks to @cassfung for the tip.
  • Not surprisingly, one online publication named the George Washington High School football stadium as one of the top 10 in the country thanks to its amazing view of the Golden Gate Bridge. The field is also “accented by a beautiful 2,500 square foot frieze with panels that depict both ancient and modern sports in the Olympics. Quotations from Plato and other philosophers are also displayed.”
  • You might notice some painting and tiling happening on the front of the Busvan buildings on Clement Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues. The improvements aren’t for a new tenant, according to owner Michael B. “We felt that we needed to repaint them to keep them fresh and attractive for our current tenants. The added benefit of retaining their pleasantness is that doing so helps improve the overall look of the Clement portion of the inner Richmond, which is both a business value for Busvan and a personal value for our family,” Michael told us. The project also includes uncovering and restoring some of the original, cobalt blue and black facade tiles that are upwards of 90 years old. Looking good, Busvan!

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 9:53 am | Posted under Business, Food, Golden Gate Park, Schools, Wildlife | 16 comments

New priest at Star of the Sea Church bans girls from being altar servers

According to a recent story from KPIX, parishioners at Star of the Sea Church are upset over a new policy banning girls from being altar servers.

It’s been a long standing tradition in the Catholic Church to have boys act as altar servers, but since the 1970s, Star of the Sea Church at Geary and 8th Avenue has been allowing both boys AND girls to serve.

But that decades old policy was reversed when Father Joseph Illo took over as head priest five months ago and decided to train only boys to be altar servers.

Some Star of the Sea parishioners are not happy with the change, and some have even left the church. But Father Illo remains undeterred, telling KPIX he “has no choice but to exclude girls because the future of the Catholic Church is at stake.”

“The specifics of serving at the altar is a priestly function,” Illo said. “And the Catholic church does not ordain women.”

Some parishioners feel the new policy is discriminatory by excluding girls from participating in church activities.

“It just kind of makes me feel that I’m not good enough because I’m a girl,” said a 7th grader at the school.

Father Illo seems to be standing by his unpopular policy, which is controversial given that Star of Sea also runs a co-ed school on the premises that boasts 230 students.

Illo believes the new policy will bring in more parishioners because it helps promote the priesthood, even if some parishioners decided to leave.

“We have seen an overall increase in numbers and the income is up,” Illo told KPIX news.

Illo says he did get permission from the San Francisco Archbishop to make this change to only allow boys to be altar servers. So far, Star of the Sea is the only Catholic church in San Francisco to make this change to their altar server policy.

Father Illo’s decision is designed to boost attendance at Star of the Sea Church, but its negative backlash may have the opposite effect.

You can read Father Illo’s official statement on the policy change here.

What do you think of this change at Star of the Sea Church? Leave a comment to let us know.

Sarah B.

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 9:53 am | Posted under Community | 57 comments

Police Blotter – January 23, 2015

[Reprinted from The Richmond Police Station Newsletter of January 23, 2015. To be added to the station’s mailing list, email sfpdrichmondstation@sfgov.org.]

It’s a scenario that happens hundreds of times a day at amusement parks all across the world. You’re walking along with your family or group, young child in hand, but when you look down a minute later, alas, he or she is gone! You suspect they’ve run off into the large crowd and begin to panic.

How to avoid the panic
Before you go, explain to your children what they should do if they get separated at any time from you or their guardians.

Tell them to find a uniformed park employee and explain to them that they have been parted from their group. Make it clear that it is NOT okay to ask or follow strangers for help, even if they do look friendly. Have them explain to the employee (or security officer) their name, your names and where they got lost.

Write your mobile phone number on a sticker and fix it to the inside of their shirt. If you don’t have a sticker, write it on paper and put it in their pocket. Tell them to give it to a uniformed staff member if they get lost.

Use your camera or cell phone and take a picture of your children when you arrive at the park. This way you will have a current picture with you.

Make sure everyone in your group, including parents and older siblings, are wearing the same bright, recognizable clothing. Bold orange or yellow shirts will work fine for this purpose. Avoid wearing dark colors as these will make you and your children blend in easily with the crowd, and avoid putting your child’s name on it. This will make it easy for strangers to call them out and take your child with them.

Bring along a way to communicate with your kids. You can give older siblings a cell phone (just make sure they know your number). Younger kids can benefit from the use of a walkie-talkie to keep in touch with you should they get lost. Show them how to use it and explain that it is not a toy, but a way to reunite if you do get separated.

Find a place to designate as your ‘meeting spot’ if someone from the group is separated, once you arrive at the amusement park. Crowded, commonly designated areas like the front gates of the park or at a bench next to a popular attraction are not good meeting spaces as they will be very crowded at all times of the day and relatively unsafe for a young child to be sitting at alone. Instead, choose a less popular area to meet up, like at the security booth or next to the restaurant where you plan to eat. This will make it easier to find a lost child.

Our next community meeting is Febuary 17th, 2015 at 7:00 PM.
Location: Richmond Station Community Room (Location Subject to Change)

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook

(Regarding some of the incidents in the weekly newsletter. We are not always able to give a full or complete account of what has occurred. We do not want to furnish information about ongoing investigations which may be prejudicial or interfere. We do our best to give a general overview of incidents within the district.)

On January 15, 2015 at 12:10 AM, Officers Mariano and George were on patrol in the area of 4th Avenue and Geary when they observed a vehicle with non-working tail lights. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. The driver was unable to produce a driver’s license and a computer query revealed he had never been issued one in California. The driver was cited for multiple violations

On January 15, 2015 at 8:20 AM, Officers Joshua and Canedo were on patrol in the area of Lake and 12th Ave. when they were cut off by another vehicle traveling eastbound on Lake Street. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. The officer requested the driver’s license and a computer query revealed it had been suspended in 2014. The driver told the officers he did receive a notification from DMV but was “too busy to go to the DMV to deal with it.” The officer cited the driver for both violations. The driver then telephoned the officers later in the day to say that he went to the DMV to take care of his paperwork. The DMV removed the suspension from the driver’s license.

January 15, 2015 at 1:56 PM, Officer Downing along with other Richmond units responded to the 100 block of 25th Ave. regarding a reported robbery. Police dispatch broadcast a description of the two suspects in this incident, but the responding officers were unable to locate them. The victim said she had been walking on 25th Ave. towards Lake Street when she “sensed” somebody approaching her from the rear. The 1st suspect said “give me your phone and your wallet,” but the victim clenched them closer in an effort to retain them. With the assistance of the 2nd suspect an iPhone, iMac PC and purse were forcibly removed from the victim and both suspects fled on foot towards El Camino Del Mar and into the Presidio. The victim attempted to give chase but eventually lost sight of both suspects. The victim in this incident was uninjured and the investigation continues…

On January 15, 2015 at 11:24 PM, Officer Wheeler was on patrol in the area of Fulton and 41st Ave. when he observed a black Camaro with expired registration. The officer initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. A computer check revealed that the driver’s license was suspended and the driver was cited for both violations.

On January 16, 2015 at 8:30 AM, Officer Joshua responded to the 700 block of 3rd Avenue regarding a burglary the previous night. The victims in this incident stated they parked their vehicles in the garage at 6 PM the previous evening and discovered the garage unlocked at 8 AM on the 16th. Both victims searched the contents of the garage prior to calling the police and discovered a variety of items were missing including bicycles, helmets, a snowboard and a toolkit. Officer Joshua examined the scene and while there were no signs of forced entry did discover latent evidence at the scene. The investigation into this incident continues…

On January 16 at 5:33 PM, Officer Kulstad responded to the 2500 block of McAllister Street regarding a burglary report. The victim in this incident stated that at about 1:30 am that morning she thought she heard footsteps coming up her stairs from the garage and walk around the kitchen area of the house. The victim believed that possibly one of her children was making the noise. The victim called out to the person making the noise multiple times without a response. The victim woke her husband who then conducted a search of the house and the outside area but was unable to locate anyone. At the time of this report the only loss indicated by the victim was a laptop computer she was unable to find. The investigation continues…

On January 16, 2015 at 11:32 PM, Officer Schor was patrolling the 2400 block of Sutter Street. Officer Schor saw a vehicle double parked and blocking traffic on the block so the officer contacted the driver regarding the violation. During his contact the officer observed one of the passengers was not wearing a seatbelt and he smelled the distinct odor of marijuana coming from the inside of the vehicle. During the course of the officer’s narcotics investigation, he discovered numerous items of clothing and fashion accessories with their security tags still attached. None of the occupants of the vehicle were able to provide any receipts for the individual items located within the vehicle. One suspect took off running in an attempt to escape but was captured a short time later. A computer check on the suspect revealed that he had an outstanding felony warrant for his arrest. As a result of officer Schor’s “routine” traffic stop, thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was recovered, one suspect was booked at County jail and two possible suspects were identified. The investigation into this incident is ongoing…

On January 17, 2015 at 12:50 PM, Officers Ferretti and Macaulay responded to the area of 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr. in Golden Gate Park regarding a report of a male cutting a lock on a bicycle and then cycling away. The two officers quickly found the suspect and discovered he was in the company of a second individual. The officers detained both subjects and other Richmond units responded to assist. During the course of their investigation the officers discovered wire cutters, locks and other indicia on both subjects. During this time, officer Magayanes responded to the De Young Museum to interview the witness in this incident and was then approached by two victims regarding the stolen bicycles. The witness was able to identify the suspects and the victims were able to identify the bicycles which were returned to them. Both suspects were booked into County jail on various charges.

On January 18, 2015 at 7:53 PM, Officers Finigan and Mariano responded to the 200 block of 21st Ave. regarding a Street robbery with a knife. Multiple SFPD units also responded to the scene to assist in locating the suspects. The victim had a laceration on her left hand between the thumb and index finger. Medical assistance was immediately requested to the area as responding officers rendered first aid. The victim stated she was riding a Muni Bus alone and when it reached 6th Ave. two females got on the bus. The victim used her iPhone while on the bus and got of the bus at 22nd Ave. and Geary with two suspects following. One of the suspects approached from behind and put her arm around the victim’s neck while producing a six-inch knife in her other hand. The 2nd suspect in this incident acted as a lookout during the robbery. The victim struggled with the suspect who was holding her in an effort to retain property. It was during the struggle that the victim obtained the laceration to her hand. The suspects fled from the scene with the victim’s shoulder bag which contained a variety of items. The investigation into this incident continues…

January 19, 2015 at 9:26 AM, Officer Brandenburg responded to the 3000 block of Jackson Street regarding a burglary of a residence under construction. The victim stated he had locked his toolbox which was on the first floor at 3 PM on the 17thand when he returned at 7 AM on the 19th he discovered that the box had been broken into. A variety of construction tools were stolen during this incident and the investigation continues…

On January 19, 2015 at 5:50 PM, Officer Stephens observed a vehicle on Bush Street with expired registration the officer initiated a traffic stop and contacted the driver. A computer check revealed the driver had a suspended license. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

On January 20, 2015 at 11:20 PM, Officers Faynshteyn and Tyler were on patrol in the area of Geary and 7th Avenue when they saw a vehicle drive through a solid red light. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver regarding the violation. A computer query revealed that the driver had driving restrictions placed on his license due to a prior violation. The restriction only allowed the driver to operate his vehicle to and from work and when he was asked, the driver stated he was doing neither. The driver was cited for operating his vehicle outside the restrictions and for running a red light.

On January 21, 2015 at 5:20 PM, Officer Flannery was on patrol in the area of St. Joseph’s Avenue when he observed a vehicle with non-working tail lights. Officer Flannery conducted a traffic stop and contacted the driver who was unable to produce a California driver’s license, a computer query revealed that the driver (who has lived in California for 10 years) has never possessed any license. The driver was cited at the scene for multiple violations.

On January 21, 2015 at 6:10 PM, Officer Stephens was on patrol in the area of Arguello and Geary when he saw a red Toyota Camry double parked on Arguello Boulevard blocking the bicycle lane. Officer Stephens contacted the driver and a records check revealed that the driver has been suspended from driving for the past three years. The driver was cited for multiple violations.

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 6:11 pm | Posted under Crime | 5 comments

New book celebrates “Legendary Locals” of west side; author event Sunday

The Richmond District is full of great history – just take a look at the 1000+ historic photos that recently came to light thanks to the Western Neighborhoods Project.

But local history is about more than just places, events, and artifacts. It’s also about the people. Which is what makes a new book called “Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset and Golden Gate Park” so interesting.

Authored by local historian and author Lorri Ungaretti, the book shines a light on the people that have helped make the western neighborhoods of San Francisco what they are today – varied, vibrant, colorful, full of beauty, rich with history, and still thriving.

Ungaretti, who has also authored books “San Francisco’s Richmond District” and “Stories in the Sand: San Francisco’s Sunset District”, focuses not only on the famous, former residents of the west side like Johnny Mathis, Ansel Adams and Barbara Eden, but also on the infamous – like Anton LaVey of 6666 California Street.

But you don’t have to be a famous or infamous figure to make it into Ungaretti’s book. True to the west side, it’s the people and businesses that are part of everyday life that have helped shape the neighborhood.

People like Angie Rando, owner of Angelina’s Cafe at 22nd & California, whose 30 plus years in business has made her business a neighborhood hub.

“I feel as if I’m just the ‘keeper’ of this place,” Rando says in the book. “It really belongs to the neighborhood.”

Or Paul Kozakiewicz, who started and continues to publish the free Richmond Review newspaper every month. And Woody LaBounty and David Gallagher of the Western Neighborhoods Project who help preserve our neighborhood’s history.

The book groups legendary local into six chapters: Golden Gate Park, History Lovers, The Builders, Making a Difference, The Arts, and Businesses.

Whether you’re interested in learning more about the legendary locals of the past, or those that still work day in and day out to make our community great, “Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset and Golden Gate Park” is a fun and interesting read.

“Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset and Golden Gate Park” by Lorri Ungaretti is available in paperback at local bookstores like Green Apple Books, and online at Amazon or the Western Neighborhoods Project website.

And while Ungaretti is too modest, it’s safe to say that her contributions to documenting our neighborhood’s history would easily earn her a page in her latest book. But you can thank her and show your appreciation at a special book signing on Sunday at the Richmond District Neighborhood Center (741 30th Avenue) from 10:30am until 2:30pm.

Stop by to pick up a signed copy of “Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset and Golden Gate Park”. Who knows, you might even rub elbows with a legendary local or two while you’re there. ;)

Sarah B.

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 9:23 pm | Posted under Events, History | 2 comments

Photos: SFFD rescues woman on Sunday after a fall off cliff at Lands End

A jet ski heads to shore to rescue the woman. Photo by Eugene Kim

On Sunday afternoon around 4:30pm, SFFD received a report that a woman had fallen off a cliff at Lands End in the area below the Legion of Honor.

She was rescued about an hour later by an emergency boat and a jet ski. She was taken to a nearby harbor and put on an ambulance but was not sent to a hospital, the fire department said.

It is unknown at this time if she sustained any injuries.

Flickr member Eugene Kim happened to be on an evening stroll at Lands End when he came upon a fire truck on the coastal trail, assisting in the rescue.

“I wasn’t expecting this when I set out for an evening stroll!” he wrote on Flickr.

Sarah B.

A fire truck attempts to turn around on the Land’s End trail in the fog after a successful rescue of a hiker.
Photo by Eugene Kim

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 12:00 pm | Posted under Lands End, Photos | 6 comments

Local history group releases 1,000+ photos from Richmond District’s past

Ocean Beach. View looking southeast from the Cliff House circa 1905.
(Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

In early 2013, the volunteers at the Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP), a historical group dedicated to preserving the history of San Francisco’s western neighborhoods, were offered the chance to take stewardship of a massive photo collection containing thousands of images of San Francisco’s past.

The goal: to digitize and archive the photos, and make them available to the public. The collection, spread across more than 25 filing cabinets, contained 8×10 inch prints; acetate, glass, and nitrate negatives; cabinet cards; panoramas; postcards; scrapbooks; yearbooks and other items.

The WNP is a small organization but they took on the task, deciding to initially pilot the project with the historical images from the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Sutro Heights, and Ocean Beach areas.

“We would sort, rehouse, catalog, digitize, and put online this first installment, then step back to assess the effort, costs, and rewards,” they wrote on their website.

Efforts began in summer 2014 and after 6 months of hard work, the WNP shared the first 1,182 images from the pilot last week.

We interviewed WNP members Woody LaBounty, David Gallagher and Nicole Meldahl about the project to find out more about the massive undertaking and why this collection is so significant to their mission, and the city’s history.

On your site, you refer to this as “perhaps the greatest collection of historical San Francisco photographs in private hands”. What makes it so valuable and great?

Woody: Sheer size to start. We’re talking tens of thousands of images. The collector’s house is jammed from basement to rafters with filing cabinets of negatives, prints, slides, and ephemera. The quality and clarity of many images is stunning and some items are incredibly important to San Francisco history. We may have discovered the very first photographic view of Alcatraz, for example.

We know these are a from a private collector who wishes to remain unnamed, but do you know how he or she came into possession of these images? You mention that much came from other local collections but do you know any more than that?

Woody: The collector is an accomplished photographer and knows his way around a darkroom. Over the past thirty years, he’s made copy negatives and prints from local collectors, institutions, businesses, and libraries, and, like all collectors, he traded and bartered and bought, from flea markets to eBay. The whole collection contains prints of well-known shots many of us have seen (say, much-reproduced views of Market Street or the 1906 earthquake), to one-of-kind negatives that exist nowhere else.

David: What Woody said is correct, I would add that the collector was tenacious in their pursuit of images and finding sources for them.

Second Cliff. View looking west from offshore circa 1890 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Are there more in the collection from the west side? Or just these ones from Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Sutro Heights, and Ocean Beach? If more west side, how much do you estimate?

Woody: Every corner of San Francisco, west side and east, is covered. We came to an agreement with the collector that we would do a pilot project, starting with Ocean Beach views, to see if both sides felt comfortable with the arrangement. This is a huge responsibility, caring for these objects correctly, saving them for future generations, and we didn’t want to jump in without being certain we’d have the resources to do it right. This is an ongoing discussion internally, and we are carefully moving forward about taking more.

David: I would estimate that there are hundreds of images for every neighborhood.

Describe the process you went through to digitize a single 8×10 image including a time estimate per image.

David: The over 1600 8×10 prints (made by the PC in his darkroom in the 80s) came to us roughly sorted in 6 boxes arranged by location: Playland, Cliff House, Ocean Beach, Sutro Baths, Sutro Heights, etc. These areas were what we agreed to take in the pilot project, primarily because we all believed that they would be the most popular. These were sorted into a single set, duplicates weeded out ( although we kept at least 2 of each image if we had them), the prints were numbered and rehoused in archival folders and boxes, catalogued in a spreadsheet, the best prints were scanned at 600dpi 13” at the long side (about 7000 pixels) each one took about 2 minutes. The spreadsheet, which documents any notations or words on the prints and the physical folder was used as the basis for adding descriptive information about the image to a database. We put versions of the images on a hidden site online and invited local experts to help with the metadata for each image; adding dates, titles, descriptions, locations, photographer, even other copies on the web. We are also producing an academic finding aid for the collection which will be available on the site at some point. It’s hard to estimate the time for an individual image, but suffice to say that it is multiple hours from removing it from the original storage, cataloguing, rehousing, digitizing, documenting, identifying, and posting it to the web. All that is without even interpreting it for the public, which is what we are more known for in the first place.

Nicole: What David said is spot-on. This is been a time intensive labor of love.

At Playland: Shoot the Chutes circa 1925. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Who worked on digitizing the collection? Feel free to name volunteers etc – we want to acknowledge them!

David: The collection has had many volunteers and still needs more. Nicole deserves the greatest praise in this, without her archival and cataloguing skills from her 8 tears at the GGNRA, we wouldn’t be in a position to accept this at all. I did the heavy lifting of scanning the images and building the interface online to display them. We had documentation help from Dustin Magidson, Julie O’Keefe, Beth McLaughlin, and Brandi Chalker. (all west side residents I might add.) We had expert identifications help from James R. Smith, John Freeman, and especially John Martini who has spent many hours online and in our office. I use the past tense here, but all these efforts are ongoing.

I’m sure you have many, but what are your 3 favorite images from the collection?

Nicole: It’s so hard to pick just three! However, a favorite series of mine shows a group of young boys adventuring around Ocean Beach and Lands End. A truly charming slice of life from the early 1920s bit still completely relatable to modern life.

Was there a particular image that made your heart beat faster when you first came across it? Why?

David: I put together the 25 featured images, the ones I thought were the best and most interesting, but my absolute favorite of those is the glass negative showing the view from Sutro Heights in 1895:

View south. Seal Rock House, Ocean Beach Pavilion, and Lurline Pump Station at left.
(Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Nicole: Again, it’s too hard to pick just one! We’ve just received a large series glass negatives that depict the 1894 Mid-Winter Fair in Golden Gate Park. We usually see officially sanctioned images that were mass produced in souvenir publications, but these are more informal and while you lead through them in succession you almost feel as if you’re touring the fair in person. In particular, they document the people who worked the fair–not the high profile officials or visitors, but the ladies and gentlemen who worked the exhibits. That was pretty exciting to see.

Point Lobos Ave. Paving street near Cliff House 1922. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Was there an image that you remember that made you say “well that hasn’t changed at all!” or “that is completely unrecognizable compared to today”?

Nicole: Visitors to Ocean Beach all take the same photo of friends and family looking up the beach towards the Cliff House, no matter the era. And the versions of the Cliff House may change through the years but that visitor vantage point remains the same. As for unrecognizable, the obvious call would be Sutro Heights and the Sutro family residence that is a shadow of its former glory.

Sutro Heights Conservatory 1909 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Adolph Sutro’s Stable 1910 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Sutro Heights. View of Adolph Sutro’s residence and observatory tower circa 1895 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

What surprised you about these images? Were there any social or cultural findings that surprised you?

David: One detail I love in seeing the large scans of these is the bicycles. We talk on our site about the bicycle culture that existed in the 1890s, the Lady Falcons of Carville for example, but it’s another thing to see bicycles sitting around in so many of the pictures. I know it’s a long hard ride to get all the way out to the beach, ok it’s harder getting back, but folks have been doing it for more than 100 years!

Leonard Mendoza in front of the Skeeball parlor at Playland. circa 1935. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Snow on Ocean Beach Dec 11, 1932. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Nicole: Even after eight years of processing and researching historical images of San Francisco, I am always struck by how the City is continually evolving yet the people–be they plumbers, politicians, or someone in between–are the same. They visit the Conservatory of Flowers, they picnic in the sand at Ocean Beach, they come out in droves to see a shipwreck at Lands End. San Francisco’s changing landscape and the sociability of San Franciscans are the same now as they were in 1890, the only difference being technology and fashion! (And probably a few other differences too)

Wreck of the freighter Ohioan at Point Lobos 1936 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

What was the total spend for this pilot, be it $ and / or volunteer hours?

David: Specifically for the pilot project we received donations of over $12,000. All of it was used for archival supplies, equipment and software. Volunteer hours amounted to at least 2500.

Do you plan to make these available to other digital archives? And if so, which one(s)?

Woody: We’re exploring best practices in the display, organization, and contextualization of historical images online. We’re contacted frequently to add Western Neighborhoods Project content (mostly images) to mobile platforms, aggregation sites/projects, social media groups, and slideshow presentations for use on other sites. Our mission is to share history with the public, so we’re not opposed to a lot of this, but we want to make sure that the information that travels with an image is accurate and that people have an easy way to find out more (usually linking to our site). So we are open to such an idea if it makes sense.

Ocean Beach. Olympic Club run and swim 1912. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Picnickers at Ocean Beach circa 1910 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

If there was one place or event you could travel back in time to in the neighborhood, what would it be and why?

Woody: In the Richmond? Well, my family is from here, so I selfishly would like to go back to my great-grandparents house on 16th Avenue a century ago to chat up my relatives. Other than that, I think an 1897 stroll around the Victorian Cliff House (what’s going on in those towers?), a brand-new Sutro Baths, and some tea with Adolph Sutro in his library above it all sounds great.

David: It’s hard to argue with Woody’s idea, but I wouldn’t mind taking the Park and Ocean Railroad out from Haight and Stanyan all the way to end of the line at 49th and B then setting up a barstool at the Seal Rock House or Ocean Beach Pavilion. (maybe climbing some shipwreck junk while I’m out there.)

Nicole: This might seem a little too recent, but I wish I could have seen Robin Williams perform at Holy City Zoo on Clement. His high energy comedy in a space that intimate would have been unforgettable.

Sutro Baths. Bathers in pools with bleachers in background circa 1910 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Sutro Baths. Life Saver and swimmers circa 1910 (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

Sutro Baths. Woman and man in boxing match circa 1910. (Courtesy of a Private Collector & outsidelands.org)

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 4:15 am | Posted under History, Ocean Beach, Photos | 24 comments