In the picture: Sunnyside Elementary School students through the years

There is nothing quite like kids’ faces! I’ve been fortunate over the years to have been given the chance by several former students to scan class photos from the 1930s to the 1960s. I present them here in reverse chronological order without commentary.* My thanks to Marty Hackett, Mark Sultana, Julie Spalasso Vozza, Bill Wilson, and Greg Gaar for sharing these with me.

The current building of Sunnyside Elementary School (250 Foerster Street, San Francisco) was built in 1927. Here more about its history here.

Sixth grade, Sunnyside Elementary School, 1964. Courtesy Marty Hackett.
Sixth grade, Sunnyside Elementary School, 1964. Courtesy Marty Hackett. View larger. 
Fourth/fifth grade, Sunnyside Elementary School, 1963. Courtesy Marty Hackett.
Fourth/fifth grade, Sunnyside Elementary School, 1963. Courtesy Marty Hackett. View larger. 

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The radio listening habits of Sunnyside School students in 1948

Photo: otrcat.com

Part of a series of articles about Sunnyside School.

In 1948, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on a survey that the Second District PTA made at Sunnyside School to find out about when and how students were listening to the radio — the “wireless” entertainment of the day. The reporter noted that the Sunnyside student body then represented families who were “neither overly rich nor overly poor … a most ideal medium between the two.”

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SF Chronicle, 30 May 1948. Read whole article here. 

The survey asked about 220 students in grades three through six about how many radios they had, when and what they listened to, and what their favorite programs were.

Wireless Distractions

One of the points the reporter harped on was the use of of the radio during studying. Making it sound slightly shocking, he lauded the PTA for revealing this possibly harmful practice as “something that must give educators a morning-after-sized headache.” (Hardly an apposite metaphor to use for supposedly responsible adults!)

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1946, Sunnyside School. Ms Carol White’s third-grade class. Not a particularly diverse school body at that time. Courtesy Bill Wilson.

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1899: ‘Not Enough Seats for the Scholars Out at Sunnyside’

Part of a series of articles about Sunnyside School.

Presenting a feature in the San Francisco Examiner in 1899, detailing the state of Sunnyside’s first school, located in a cottage. More about the difficult early years of Sunnyside School here. 

The conditions for these children were incredible. The house where the school was located was in poor condition and no bigger than most houses here today. Imagine one full of 117 children!

This house still stands at 143 Flood Ave and was recently sold for just over $1M. (How did the house number change?) Despite what the article states, Sunnyside was then largely Irish and German immigrants and their families.

View this article image larger.

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SF Examiner, 21 Nov 1899. From Newspapers.com. Click to view larger. 

 

The Mystery Arcade of Sunnyside School

1938 Sunnyside School. Photo: DavidRumsey.com

Part of a series of articles about Sunnyside School.

Until the mid-1970s, Sunnyside Elementary School had an odd structure that projected into the playground area, called the Arcade. It was about twelve by forty-five feet, one large room, and at least during the 1950s and 1960s housed the school library. What is the story behind this quirky feature?

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1940s. Sunnyside School, viewed from Hearst Ave, showing “arcade” structure. San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

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Sunnyside School: the first real schoolhouse, 1909 to 1927

OpenSFHistory.org

Part of a series of articles about Sunnyside School.

The first dedicated schoolhouse to be built for the neighborhood was neither big enough nor safe enough to serve the needs of families in Sunnyside in the long term, but for 18 years it was a busy and productive place. During this time, Sunnyside emerged as a vital neighborhood, no longer ignored by City government and able to garner its share of public monies. Community and parental involvement was effective and intense, centered on a newly founded PTA. Then a group of mothers helped bring to the City’s attention the schoolhouse’s dangers and inadequacies. When it came time to build a replacement, rather than drag the process out for a decade, as the City had with the first provisional school in a cottage, that new building went up in just a few years.

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The east face of the first Sunnyside School. Taken in the 1910s. From outsidelands.org, courtesy of longtime Sunnyside resident Ron Davis. There is a link to the photograph at this end of this post.

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Sunnyside School: the cottage-house years, 1896 to 1911

Sunnyside School, SF Chronicle, 23 Jul 1899.

Part of a series of articles about Sunnyside School.

Despite the profiteers who sold lots in Sunnyside in the early 1890s primarily as investments, families did move here, and they had children–often lots of them. But there was no school. Then they were given only a rented cottage for a one-class school. The story of how long it took before the district finally built a real schoolhouse here is a lesson in both City government corruption and the perseverance of the early residents.

Promises, promises. SF Board of Education declared its intention to build Sunnyside a school over and over, and just as often broke those promises. First purpose-built schoolhouse not built until 1909, sixteen years after neighborhood residents first asked for one. Details on news items at end of post.
Promises, promises. SF Board of Education declared its intention to build Sunnyside a school over and over, and just as often broke those promises. The first purpose-built schoolhouse was not constructed until 1909. [Details at end of post.]
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