On a week when being outdoors is hazardous, history can substitute for fresh air. Here is a story from a century ago, about a group of Sunnyside children called the Log Cabineers, who were led in many activities around the then-undeveloped hills in the neighborhood by a remarkable young woman, Elfreda Svenberg of Foerster Street. She introduced them to the joys of being outside with plants and animals, taking them on hiking trips–even a ten-day vacation in Marin.

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SF Examiner, 20 Mar 1917. View larger.  Newspapers.com.

Miss Svenberg included both boys and girls in her club, saying they were “too occupied with the joys of outdoor life” to become boy-struck or girl-struck.

The group was featured in the SF Examiner article above during a fund-raising drive for a club house. It was customary to give a small token in thanks for a donation–a wild flower boutonniere in this case, perhaps picked from Mount Davidson, where native wild flowers famously grew before development. (Read an account here.) 

Rowing a boat, hiking among the wildflowers, eating a picnic lunch outside–it all sounds rather wonderful right now, while San Francisco is engulfed in toxic smoke.

Perhaps Elfreda and her Log Cabineers had some luck with their fund-raising, because later that year, this notice appeared in the SF Chronicle.

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I have yet to find exactly where this was located. SF Chronicle, 15 Dec 1917. SFPL Chronicle Archive.

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