The History of the Balboa Reservoir: A Timeline

In the next few years, a large section of the Balboa Reservoir land will be developed as a housing project and park, making it a good time to review its long, complex, and often surprising history.

View this timeline in a stand-alone format here. More about the Balboa Reservoir here.


 


View this timeline in a stand-alone format here. More about the Balboa Reservoir here.

Ocean and Frida Kahlo Way: 1980 and Today

Shot from the pedestrian overpass in 1980, this view of Ocean Avenue and Frida Kahlo Way (then Phelan Ave) shows the same transit-dense area as today, but with a few changes. Grand Auto Supply is gone, replaced with housing and retail at 1100-1250 Ocean (2011-2014). City College Station (aka Phelan Loop) was repositioned in 2013. Overhead utility lines were undergrounded in the late 1970s. The Ocean Ave Vet Hospital is still there, on left, 40 years on. The growth of a large tree next to the overpass made a precise match to the original impossible (therefore no slider). View more comparison photos here.

1980. View west from pedestrian overpass, Ocena Ave and Frida Kahlo Way. Photo: William J Madden OpenSFHistory.org
1980. View west from pedestrian overpass, Ocean Ave and Frida Kahlo Way. Photo: William J Madden OpenSFHistory.org View larger 
2019. View west from pedestrian overpass, Ocean Ave and Frida Kahlo Way. Photo: Amy O'Hair SunnysideHistory.org
2019. View west from pedestrian overpass, Ocean Ave and Frida Kahlo Way. Photo: Amy O’Hair SunnysideHistory.org View larger 

Ocean Ave near Balboa Park: 1909 and Today

Move slider to compare photographs. Looking east. Fire station at Ocean and San Jose built 1906 (now gone) visible in center. United Railroads car shops on right, now Muni yard. Southern Pacific railroad tracks in foreground (horizontal) now I-280 freeway (below bridge).  View larger here. Look at other comparison photographs here.

Sunnyside/Jailside: the tale of the big house down the street

OpenSFHistory.org

Who would site “the Largest and Most Important City Subdivision” next to an extensive and notorious jail compound? That’s exactly what Behrend Joost did in 1890 when he created the Sunnyside district from a portion of the Rancho San Miguel land Leland Stanford sold off then. The choicer cuts went to other investors; this was no Stanford Heights (later Miraloma Park), perched on Mt Davidson. (Joost’s true aim was to be Baron of the Electric Rails, in any case.)

1891Apr26-Chron-ad-ALTEREDds
Half-page debut ad for Sunnyside, altered! SF Chronicle, 26 Apr 1891. Click for larger.

There had been a jail on this property in some form or another since the 1850s; the city originally bought the 100-acre House of Refuge lot in 1854, when it was far, far from the city. The 1905 view show below is now unimaginable: the Jail complex has been replaced by City College of San Francisco, and the narrow railroad tracks of the San Francisco-San Jose train line that passed directly by have been replaced by the Interstate 280 Freeway.

1905. View of Ingleside Jail from Ocean Avenue, looking northwest. Southern Pacific tracks run just below jail's white fence. Courtesy SFMTA. Cropped from U00341. sfmta.photoshelter.com
1905. View of Ingleside Jail complex (women’s on left, men’s on right). Looking northwest from Ocean Ave near San Jose Ave. Southern Pacific tracks run just below jail’s white fence. Courtesy SFMTA. Cropped from U00341. sfmta.photoshelter.com

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