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Monday, November 12, 2012

Aquatic Park, Hyde and Beach Street, San Francisco, CA

Aerial view of Aquatic Park

William Mooser Jr. and William Mooser III - Architects

National Archives photo
Dedication ceremony

Aquatic Park was designed for swimming and other water activities. Water here is a little bit warmer, and there are some swimmers around. Children wade at the beach. This is a great place to take sunbath. You can find your sunny spot at the beach, meadow, and at the concrete steps of amphitheater. There is stadium style seating next to the Maritime Museum, or you can set up on the grass.
Steps from Ghirardelli Square and the cable car turntable, Aquatic Park offers great views of Alcatraz and Angel Island, not to mention the Golden Gate Bridge.

There is a tunnel running from Aquatic Park under the Fort Mason bluff, built in 1914 and now abandoned, which was constructed to haul materials for building the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE).
Tunnel to Fort Mason

The tracks ran from South of Market along the Embarcadero into the Presidio for the State Belt Line Railroad. The tunnel was closed in the 1970s.
July, 1937

Originally the San Francisco Aquatic Park, this area is now officially the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. The Park's distinctive streamline moderne style WPA building (pictured below) stands at the foot of Polk Street. It was originally built as a public bathhouse, and now houses the Maritime Museum.
[Beachgoers at Aquatic Park]
Sept. 23, 1939
Newscopy: "This picture shows that the people like Aquatic Park beach, especially these hot days. But few of them venture inside the WPA-built pavilion. They seem to fear to 'trespass' on 'private property.'.
San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

SA description from Healy's 1939 work reads:
'(32 Acres) ... A water park, par excellence. ... Built 3,250 cubic yards of rubble sea wall, bath house, 2 boat houses, paved 101,000 square feet of promenades. Handled 20,000 cubic yards of excavation and fill, relocated 1,400 lineal feet of railroad track, installed flood light system for night bathing, rowing and water pageants. This improvement changed an unsightly area into a beautiful bathing beach bordered by massive concrete grandstands and promenades. The recreation building, lavishly decorated, is an architectural highlight in nautical building design.(1)
Places like this make you just stop and soak in the loveliness of your surroundings.
This is the very first place for sunbathing along the bay and Embarcadero. The next one is nearby - Fort Mason.

1949 Aquatic Park

Jerry Garcia
Phoebe Graubard says, "Jerry used to take his guitar with him wherever he went, and one time we went down to Aquatic Park on the bus. We were sitting on the grass and he was playing the guitar and this old Basque man, who worked in a restaurant or something, had a pot full of food that he was going to feed to the birds, but he said he liked Jerry's guitar playing so he gave us the big pot of food instead..."

1.)^Healy, Clyde E. San Francisco Improved: Report of Clyde E. Healy, Assistant City Engineer - City of San Francisco and Coordinator of W.P.A. Projects, Period October 10, 1935 to August 31, 1939. San Francisco : [s.n.]., 1939.
2.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia: An American Life, pg. 41

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