Golden Gate Park History


For a summary of park features with point-by-point locations, see the Golden Gate Park guide map. See also Postcards.

For much more information on Golden Gate Park, see Christopher Pollock's impeccably researched and beautifully written book, San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

All photos on this page are courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library.


  • Newly planted trees dotting the park landscape in 1880

  • Aerial view of Golden Gate Park in 1938

  • Entrance to Golden Gate Park at Page Street and Stanyan

  • The Alvord Bridge in 1890

  • Alvord Lake in 1904

  • The original Kezar Stadium, larger than the current stadium

  • The Children's Playground in 1890

  • View of Children's Playground, including Cable Car

  • Children's Playground in 1943

  • Farmer Brown's Barn, at the Children's Playground

  • Children's Playground, Farm Yard, and Kezar Stadium in the background

  • Rabbitville, in the Farm Yard

  • Merry-go-round at the Children's Playground in 1951

  • Front of the Sharon Building after the 1906 earthquake

  • Back of the Sharon Building in 1906

  • The Horseshoe Courts in 1955

  • The Conservatory of Flowers in 1904

  • View of the park including Conservatory of Flowers, in 1909

  • Rhododendrons in 1932

  • Players at the Lawn Bowling Green in 1938

  • Music stage dedicated in 1888, located at the current site of the Tennis Clubhouse

  • The Music Concourse area and Francis Scott Key Memorial in 1890

  • Above the Midwinter Fair in 1894

  • The Midwinter Fair development, 1894

  • The Music Stand under construction in 1899

  • The completed Music Stand

  • The Music Concourse area in 1931

  • The Music Concourse in 1944

  • Cars in front of the DeYoung Museum in 1929

  • The DeYoung Museum in 1931

  • The DeYoung Museum

  • Pool of Enchantment in front of the DeYoung Museum in 1925

  • Seals in front of the Steinhart Aquarium in 1948

  • Construction of the Morrison Planetarium in 1950

  • Inside the Morrison Planetarium in 1955

  • Sphinxes in the Music Concourse area, installed in 1928

  • Peace Lantern in the Japanese Tea Garden, 1953

  • Big Rec Ball Field in 1940

  • Powell Street Railway Station at Fulton and 7th Avenue park entrance

  • The Shakespeare Garden in 1934

  • Bust inside the wall of the Shakespeare Garden, 1955

  • Shakespeare Bust, now locked behind steel doors

  • On the shore of Stow Lake in 1955

  • Launching a boat at Stow Lake in 1943

  • Boat in Stow Lake, 1958

  • Huntington Falls and Strawberry Hill in 1897

  • Sweeney Observatory at the top of Strawberry Hill, 1894

  • Strawberry Hill the top of Sweeney Observatory

  • Ruins of Sweeney Observatory after the 1906 earthquake

  • Inside damaged Sweeney Observatory in 1906

  • Sweeney Observatory and earthquake damage

  • Pioneer Log Cabin in 1951

  • Prayerbook Cross and hill in 1894

  • Construction of bridge at Crossover Drive in 1937

  • Mallard Lake surface frozen in 1949

  • The Polo Field in 1920

  • View of the Polo Field

  • Deer in Golden Gate Park in 1953

  • The North Lake, in the Chain of Lakes, 1941

  • Middle Lake in the Chain of Lakes

  • The sailing ship Gjoa on display in 1928

  • The Gjoa near the Dutch Windmill in 1939

  • Dutch Windmill with all spars missing, 1953

  • The Murphy Windmill

  • Murphy Windmill and Millwright's Cottage

  • Side view of Murphy Windmill