Golden Gate Park
Measuring more than 1,000 acres, the Golden Gate Park has stood as a symbol of natural beauty, easily earning the title as one of the most visited city parks in all of America. As San Franciscans turned their attention to the happenings of New York City’s Central Park, residents began to yearn for their own scenic community dwelling. Today, although similar in shape, Golden Gate Park possesses an array of unique and one-of a-kind features that sets it apart from other urban settings.
During the 1860s, plans were put into motion to transform the bleak sand and shore dunes that decorated San Francisco into a usable, inviting park for the all to enjoy. In 1870, a field engineer named William Hammond Hill organized a survey and developed a topographic map that would serve as the blueprint for the new park site. One year later, he was deemed commissioner of the project. At first, the park plans were met with natural opposition as engineers attempted to sketch a course of action that would add traverse roadways throughout the park. The positioning of gems, such as the Concourse and the Arboretum, made this difficult to achieve.
In the beginning, ¾ of the park was covered in ocean dunes, but were soon blanketed with various tree plantings. By 1875, the area bloomed with close to 60,000 trees, such as the Blue Gum Eucalyptus and the Monterey Pine. Four years later, 155,000 trees were placed over 1,000 acres of land. In 1903, the Dutch Windmills found their home at the western end of the park with an initial duty to pump water and life throughout the park.
Throughout the years, Golden Gate Park saw the establishment of a wealth of intriguing and entertaining attractions. To name a few, the Japanese Tea Garden welcomed visitors after it originally served as part of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. The plans for the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum were realized during the 1890s, but planting was stalled until 1937 due to lack of sufficient funds. Local donations helped place the garden on the map. The De Young Museum was first built in 1921 and has since undergone complete renovation and re-opened in 2005.
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