For twenty years there were public tennis courts at the corner of Phelan and Judson Avenues—the only park facility in Sunnyside then. It attracted tennis aficionados from all over, such as these folks visiting from a fancier part of town in 1932.

A group of well-heeled friends at the “Genessee Courts” on 15 April 1932. The house at 1 Gennessee Street can be seen in the background. wnp26.1268.jpg
Detail from 1938 aerial photo below, showing tennis courts on Judson Ave near Phelan (now Frida Kahlo Way). Maybe the trees were planted to keep the nearby County Jail out of sight. View larger map.

The facility was opened in 1927 with great fanfare—Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph gave the dedication address, and a small army of politicians, as well as Superintendent of Parks John McLaren, gave speeches.  

1927. Souvenir program from “Tennis Festival” dedication ceremonies for the new tennis courts at Judson and Phelan Avenues. Inside pages. View larger. 

Beforehand there was a parade, starting at Hamburg Street (now Ridgewood), along Monterey to Edna, down to Hearst, over to Gennessee, then south to the new courts.

1927. Souvenir program from “Tennis Festival” dedication ceremonies for the new tennis courts at Judson and Phelan Avenues. Back and front. View larger.  Program courtesy Pat Hollingsworth via Jennifer Heggie/Sunnyside history Project of 2006.

The event was organized by the Sunnyside Improvement Association (predecessor to the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association). At that time there was a Sunnyside Merchants’ Association, as we had a good deal more businesses on Monterey then. (Interested in the history of Sunnyside businesses? Take the Midcentury Monterey Boulevard walk.) Sponsoring businesses were listed on the back of the event program, such as the first Monterey Deli.

The celebrations included a “Tennis Dance” announced in the Chronicle the week before.

SF Chronicle, 23 Sep 1927. Announcement of dance and related activities of the opening of the tennis courts. Watch out for those girls doing the tennis drill “in uniform.”

The tennis courts (which were also used for volleyball) were open until just after World War II, when the need for housing for veterans enrolled in City College of San Francisco (then SF Junior College) pushed the college into creative solutions for the housing crisis.

On the land where the tennis courts had been, the college erected Quonset huts brought from military camps, to provide married student housing. It was planned in March 1946 and completed by June. Now that is a swift response to a housing crisis.

The Guardsman
CCSF Guardsman, 27 Mar 1946.
The Guardsman
CCSF Guardsman, 10 April 1946.

Each hut had two units, each with a living/kitchette area and two small bedrooms. Also included was gas, electricity, plumbing, and hot/cold running water.

The Guardsman
CCSF Guardsman, 8 May 1946. View larger. 

The Parks Dept was given in trade land at Havelock and Circular, where tennis courts can still be found, now nestled next to the scenic I-280 Freeway. This new housing development closed the tennis courts, meaning that Sunnyside now had no park facility at all, until the Sunnyside Playground was built in the 1960s. Read more about the building of that park here.

Rec & Park Dept tennis courts at Havelock St and Circular Ave, between CCSF and I-280. Google satellite.

The new Quonset hut housing was opened in October 1946 with a ceremony. It was called Hurley Village after Major John Hurley, the only CCSF faculty member to have been killed in action in WWII.

View north toward intersection of Judson and Phelan. Dedication of the Quonset huts called “Hurley Village” in October 1946. SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER. SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY.
The Guardsman
CCSF Guardsman, 8 Oct 1946. Article on dedication of Hurley Village. View larger to read article. 
1952. View north from Cloud Circle, City College, with Quonset huts in middle ground. wnp25.1191.jpg

Read more about post-WWII City College history in this post: WAVES, West Campus, and Waterless Basins: the History of the Balboa Reservoir 1945-1983

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