By Peter Hartlaub
Welcome to Our San Francisco, a yearlong project looking at 150 years of the city’s history. Each week a different chapter will be explored in the newspaper, on SFChronicle.com, in Peter Hartlaub’s The Big Event blog on SFGate.com, and on social media at #OurSF.
This week’s chapter: Golden Gate Park.
Golden Gate Park shouldn’t exist. It sprang out of sand dunes in the 1870s; these so-called Outside Lands were so windswept and uninviting that the newspapers and many politicians accused supporters of throwing taxpayer money away.
But visionaries, including park Superintendent McLaren, had ambitious hearts, a stubborn drive and gardeners who worked like a religious order. Golden Gate Park was built by men and women who cherished horticulture and despised politics. And because of them, it is a treasure.