Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bandshell, Golden Gate Park, 50 Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Park and the new music stand, the Clamshell. Ca. 1886. Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library

Before 1886 there was a small "Sgt. Peppers" type of music bandstand in a different part of the park.
"There was a second bandshell in Golden Gate Park, 1886-1899, but that was in a different part of the park, not in the area that later became the Music Concourse and Spreckels Temple of Music."(17)
The Music Concourse is a sunken, oval-shaped open-air plaza originally excavated for the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. The only remaining exhibit from the 1894 Fair is the Japanese Tea Garden -- the Egyptian Fine Arts Building later evolved into the deYoung Museum, but that building (the original Egyptian building leftover from the Fair) was torn down in the 1930's.

Bandshell behind car
This building would later become the DeYoung Museum.

The Spreckels Temple of Music, also called the "Bandshell", was designed by the Reid Brothers in 1899. It was completed in 1900. Numerous music performances have been staged.
It was later altered in 1960 with a lower performance stage.

Built of gray Colusa sandstone, it has a high proscenium arch over the music platform flanked by balustraded colonnades.  It includes a number of statues of various historic figures, four fountains, and a regular grid array of heavily pollarded trees.

Love old postcards!

The Music Concourse was planned with terraces for seating around the perimeter for an anticipated capacity of 20,000. Its depressed elevation was intended to provide protection from summer winds. The Spreckels Temple of Music and the M.H. de Young Museum, which remained from the 1894 fair, were originally the only structures in the Music Concourse area.

Other structures were added later such as the California Academy of Sciences in 1916 and the Rideout Fountain in 1924.
Many other monuments and statues are located in and around the Music Concourse. Most monuments were donated. Three fountains line the center of the plaza with a fourth at the top of a staircase adjacent to the bowl. The plaza is planted with many trees laid out in a regular grid array. The pollarded trees in the Music Concourse include primarily London plane trees and Wych elms with some maples and walnuts. It is not clear when the present trees were planted. Original drawings and photos of the Music Concourse indicate fewer trees than at present. Other historic features of the Music Concourse include three pedestrian tunnels under adjacent roadways.
At the opposite end of the Music Concourse from the Bandshell is a monument dedicated to Francis Scott Key, though this was not its original location, having been moved to this spot in 1967. (Pollock, Christopher (2001). San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. West Winds Press. ISBN 1-55868-545-6.)

With the prodding of his son, Park Commissioner Adolph Spreckels, who was heavily involved with the development of Golden Gate Park, Claus Spreckels donated the Spreckels Temple of Music.

Claus Spreckels, formally Adolph Claus J. Spreckels (July 9, 1828 – December 26, 1908), (his last name has also been spelled as Spreckles, was a major industrialist in Hawai'i during the kingdom, republican and territorial periods of the islands' history. He also involved himself in several California enterprises, most notably the company that bears his name, Spreckels Sugar Company.
He had 13 children!
The family first settled in South Carolina, where Spreckels opened a grocery store business. Within a short time they moved to New York City, then in 1856 relocated to San Francisco, where Spreckels began a brewery and made a fortune. Spreckels used some of his wealth to purchase vast tracts of land in California and Hawai'i to grow sugar beets and sugarcane. Spreckels entered the sugar business in the mid 1860s and came to dominate the Hawaiian sugar trade on the West Coast. While in Hawaii, he purchased the Pacific Commercial Advertiser in 1880 and became a publisher. Today, known as the Honolulu Advertiser, it is one of the largest newspapers in circulation in the United States. Spreckels's conservative, pro-monarchy slant caused him to fall from favor in the business community, and he eventually sold the newspaper.

Adolph Spreckles
Earleir, in 1884, Adolph shot Michael H. de Young, co-founder of the San Francisco Chronicle, supposedly because of an article in that newspaper suggesting his sugar company defrauded its shareholders.[2] Spreckels pleaded temporary insanity to the charge of attempted murder and was acquitted.[3]

The California Palace of the Legion of Honor, which was championed by his wife Alma and paid for from the Spreckels fortune, and the M. H. de Young Memorial Museum were merged in 1972 to become the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.[4] Spreckels Lake, in the park, is named after Adolph.[5]  
Spreckels was also fond of horse racing and owned and bred a number of race horses, most famously Morvich, the first California-bred horse to win the Kentucky Derby (1922).
Morvich after winning the Kentucky Derby in 1922

The family's 1913 mansion, located at 2080 Washington Street in the Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, is currently the home of novelist Danielle Steel.[7] This French Baroque chateau was designed for Adolph and Alma de Bretteville Spreckels by George A. Applegarth, graduate of the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. (Applegarth reputedly hung out with Jack London, and the pair would bicycle from the Bay Area to Yosemite where they climbed Half Dome.)
The Spreckels Mansion had a supporting role in the 1957 movie Pal Joey playing Frank Sinatra's nightclub Chez Joey.
To accommodate his grand chateau, Spreckels bought and combined several prime lots with views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate. Mrs. Spreckels insisted on saving the existing Victorian houses. Six house on Jackson Street and two on Washington Street were moved. Alma Spreckles was introduced to Adolph who courted her for five years before marrying her in 1908 when he was fifty and she was twenty-four.
Alma Spreckels incomparable gift to San Francisco. It shows the permanent installation of The Thinker by Auguste Rodin.
Rodin's The Thinker, California Palace Of The Legion Of Honor
Alma was born on a sandy farm in the city's Sunset District in 1881. Alma's parents, both Danish immigrants, struggled with near poverty during much of her early childhood.
Alma, Victorian pinup girl

It’s one of San Francisco’s best-loved monuments — the figure of a heartbreakingly beautiful girl balancing lightly atop a granite column high above Union Square. She soars above both pedestrians and pigeons, gracefully clutching trident and victory laurels, lifting her shapely arms in triumph over the city of San Francisco.
It was intended to memorialize Admiral Dewey, a hero of the 1898 Spanish-American war. But in the century since then, it’s honoured this now-obscure naval officer in name only; the statue has become inextricably identified with its model, one of its wealthiest and most notoriously colorful characters in San Francisco history; Alma de Bretteville Spreckels.(12)

After the birth of their last daughter, Spreckels' health began to deteriorate due to syphilis he had contracted before his marriage. He had known about the disease and had kept it secret from his wife, but fortunately for her during their intimate years it had been in a latent, non-contagious state. Spreckels died in 1924 from pneumonia.[1]Alma de Bretteville Spreckels died of pneumonia also, in 1968. Hmmm.....

Anyway, at the formal dedication of the Concourse and ‘bandshell’ on Sept. 5th 1900, Claus addressed a crowd 75,000 and proclaimed “ This noble pleasure ground will doubtless be the chief scene of the open air festivities of the people of California and indeed of the whole Pacific Coast for all time to come.”

The temple was damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake and was rededicated in 1994 after a complete seismic reconstruction. (excerpt is from "San Francisco: The Bay and its Cities":1940,p341)

The Golden Gate Park Band continues a 120-year tradition performing every summer Sunday.

Golden Gate Park
A large urban park consisting of 1017 acres of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 174 acres larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared.
Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley, Bancroft Library
The tireless field engineer William Hammond Hall prepared a survey and topographic map of the park site in 1870 carving it out of unpromising sand and shore dunes that were known as the "outside lands" in an unincorporated area west of then-San Francisco's borders.
The actual plan and planting were developed by Hall and his assistant, John McLaren, who had apprenticed in Scotland, the homeland of many of the nineteenth century's best professional gardeners.

After he had served his apprenticeship he followed the path of dreams to California to begin a prearranged tenure as the head gardener on a San Mateo County estate. He was hired by George Henry Howard, a trustee of the Bank of California who owned 6,500 acres on the peninsula south of San Francisco. Howard was scouring Europe looking for an "able gardener with the necessary knowledge and experience" to create a park on his ranch in San Mateo similar to those he had seen in France and Austria, and interviewed McLaren in Scotland. Howard had been developing his grounds for many years -- Frederick Law Olmsted had prepared a plan for the estate in 1865 -- but now he wanted gardener McLaren to enlarge the estate's ornamental landscape. McLaren busily labored for Howard over the next fourteen years until he was hired away to become superintendent of Golden Gate Park.
John McLaren
He was friends with John Muir, and dedicated his life to vigorous advocacy and development of the 1,017-acre (4.12 km2) Golden Gate Park, one of the largest public parks in the world, using considerable political skill in addition to his remarkable gardening skill. Appointed Park Superintendent in 1887, he requested thirty thousand dollars a year for park building. One of John McLaren's stipulations before taking the superintendent job was, "There will be no 'Keep off the Grass" signs." His horticultural philosophy was to achieve a natural look, typified in his dislike for statuary, calling them "stookies" and planting trees and shrubs to hide them. He built two windmills to pump water to his park and had the sweepings from San Francisco streets delivered as fertilizer. When ocean waves and wind piled sand on the west end of the park, he began a forty year effort to pile branches, clippings and laths on the shore to capture sand and build the great berm that now holds the Great Highway.
As a lover of the mountains from his youth in Scotland, McLaren enjoyed tramping the Sierras with John Muir, bringing back mental pictures of waterfalls, fern-hung canyons, pine-covered slopes and flower- filled meadows. These pictures he translated into scenes that made Golden Gate Park so picturesque. On one of these tramps, his fellow-Scot Muir showed him a waterfall he had discovered in a gorge. "You've nothing like that in your park John" twitted Muir. "No," McLaren replied, "but we will have." This exchange led to him constructing Huntington Falls in the park. Its great dramatic power may make it McLaren's greatest achievement in the park.

The first stage of the park's development centered on planting trees, in order to stabilize the ocean dunes that covered three-quarters of the park's area. By 1875, about 60,000 trees, mostly Blue Gum Eucalyptus, Monterey pine and Monterey cypress, had been planted.
By 1879, 155,000 trees were planted over 1,000 acres.

When McLaren refused to retire at age 60, as was customary, the San Francisco city government was bombarded with letters: when he reached 70, a charter amendment was passed to exempt him from forced retirement. He is credited with planting two million trees during his lifetime. The McLaren Park in the southern part of San Francisco is named after John McLaren. That park is where every year, Jerry Garcia is celebrated. McLaren lived in McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park until he died at age 96, in 1943.
A small statue of McLaren was erected in the park which he had hidden away only to be discovered after his death.
The memorial to John McLaren is located near the entrance of the John McLaren Rhododendron Dell, west of the Conservatory of Flowers, along John F. Kennedy Drive.
He was an astute judge of San Francisco society and was perhaps the best-loved man in San Francisco. The position of park superintendent controlled the employment of hundreds of workers and large budgets, so people actively pursued it. Only a politically astute superintendent could have kept his position for 56 years while the city's demographic, social, and political environment changed rapidly about him. In 1917, when McLaren reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, the citizens protested with such vehemence and devotion, that the Board of Supervisors wrote legislation that permitted him to remain superintendent as long as he lived. Since he would thus lose his pension, the board also doubled his salary for life. The gruff little man ruled the park with a strong hand for more than a quarter century after that.
McLaren wanted to grow redwoods, and wise men laughed at his folly. Nevertheless, from seeds McLaren planted emerged the grove of Sequoia sempervirens, the evergreen redwoods, in Golden Gate Park. He was eighty years old when he planted them. He lived to be ninety-seven, a clear-eyed little Scotsman working almost to the day of his death. And when he died, his grove of redwoods stood in Golden Gate Park - trees thirty feet high! McLaren died in 1943. For eighty years he had lived by his father's admonition: "Me boy, if ye have nothing to do, go plant a tree and it'll grow while ye sleep."

After his death, McLaren's body lay in state in the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda. Afterwards, the funeral cortege drove his casket through Golden Gate Park as a special honor.

Longtime guardian of the Japanese Tea Garden, Makoto Hagiwara, to stimulate business in his own teahouse, puts fortunes into cookies. San Francisco’s Chinese restaurateurs capitalize on this idea.(14)(15)(16)

Jerry performed here on
10/6/66 Grateful Dead
10/16/66 Grateful Dead
6/21/67 Grateful Dead (Summer Solistice Celebration)
8/??/67 Grateful Dead
7/16/88 Zero

1.)^Craig, Christopher. "Spreckels (née de Bretteville), Alma Emma". Encyclopedia of San Francisco. Retrieved 2008-01-09.  
3.)^McGarrahan, Ellen (October 4, 1995). "Color It Gone". SF Weekly. Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
4.)^Russell, John (June 4, 1989). "ART VIEW; To France Via the Golden Gate Bridge". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-01-14.   
5.)^Press Reference Library (Southwest Edition): Notables of the Southwest. Los Angeles Examiner. 1912. p. 341.  
6.)^Amero, Richard. "The Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park". San Diego Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-01-10.   
7.)^"Tour San Francisco: Pacific Heights". Retrieved 2008-01-10.  
8. Dickson, Samuel (1947).  San Francisco is My Home.  Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.  pp. 215-221.  
9. Tom G. Aikman. (1988). Boss Gardener: The Life and Times of John McLaren. San Francisco: Lexikos.  
10. Terence Young (2004) Building San Francisco's Parks 1850-1930 Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press.  
11. Raymond H. Cary (1987) The Making of Golden Gate Park: The early years 1865-1906.  San Francisco: Don't Call It Frisco Press. .
12.)^ (Pollock, Christopher (2001). San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. West Winds Press. ISBN 1-55868-545-6.)
14.)^Ono, Gary (2007-10-31). "Japanese American Fortune Cookie: A Taste of Fame or Fortune -- Part II"
15.)^Lee, Jennifer 8. (January 16, 2008). "Solving a Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside a Cookie". The New York Times.
16.)^Pollock, Christopher, Golden Gate Park,
17.)^Fusello, Mike, comments, 2014-05-19, email to author.

No comments:

Post a Comment