The primary trail is a paved road that loops through the park, beginning and ending at the eastern end of Key Avenue. Remnants of stairs and retaining walls built by the Works Progress Administration during the Depression can still be seen along the roadway.
Around 1900, the parkland known today as Bayview Park was nearly lost to development when George Hearst and the Bay View Land Company proposed to develop the area into an exclusive district for the wealthy. Fortunately the land was considered too far removed from downtown, and development plans were dropped. In 1902, the Bay View Land Company sold a large portion of the hill’s crest to the city, which apparently had plans to build a “pest house” (isolation hospital) on the hilltop. Charles Crocker, a nearby landowner, offered to give his portion of the ridge to the city on the condition that it not build the hospital. One city official explained, “Charles Crocker didn’t want a pest house close to his other properties.” As a result, the hilltop was officially declared a park. In 1997, the City and County of San Francisco acquired an additional 16 acres of the upper northeast slope to be used as open space.
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