By Amy O’Hair
Founded in 1974, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association is coming up for its fiftieth anniversary. The slim pile of paper newsletters that were entrusted to me from the pre-internet days of the organization have now been scanned, thanks to the volunteer work of LisaRuth Elliott.
They are now available on the Internet Archive, part of the online collection of San Francisco Neighborhood Newspapers that LisaRuth and the San Francisco Department of Memory spearheaded. I’m immensely pleased that Sunnyside has now joined this collection, and I extend my sincere thanks to her for this work, delayed as it was by covid. Being in the Internet Archive means they will always be available to future historians, and any interested person, indexed for search. My historian’s heart is aflutter.
The issue above, Winter 1979, features a piece by Greg Gaar writing about saving the Sunnyside Conservatory. Editor Ken Hoegger rhapsodizes about the eucalyptus trees of Martha Hill, which was soon to be a new public open space–Dorothy Erskine Park as it is now known. Read the issue in full size here. I feel a strong personal gratitude to the people who worked on these projects over forty years ago, saving vital open spaces and the historic Conservatory; it was a critical moment in the development of livability in the city. Continue reading “Now on the Internet Archive: Sunnyside newsletters 1970s-1990s” →
By Amy O’Hair
Traffic calming – planting and saving trees – safe places for children to play – newly revealed local history: the issues on the minds of Sunnysiders fifty years ago were not so different from things that interest residents now. The newsletters of Sunnyside’s local organization from those years have recently been archived and made available online at the Internet Archive, and tell some inspiring stories about actions that still impact our lives today.
Although Sunnyside has seen organized advocacy by residents since the 1890s (more here), the current organization, Sunnyside Neighborhood Association (SNA), dates to late 1974. The 1970s saw a surge of local activism in the many neighborhoods in San Francisco. Five decades later, we still enjoy some of the fruits of that upwelling, for instance in open spaces that were established as parks. There was also a downside to the activism then that still affects the city; in some areas, such as the Richmond district, residents fought density with downzoning measures, working to exclude multi-unit buildings and “retain local character,” resulting in a dearth of housing units in subsequent decades, and de facto residential segregation.
But SNA was, according to the record of these early newsletters, more intent on trees, parks, and calming traffic. Monterey Boulevard had already undergone big changes in the 1950s and 1960s, with an extensive apartment-building boom. The 1970s saw even more upzoning on the boulevard. SNA didn’t oppose more housing, but as we’ll see, it did try to rescue trees that were eventually to fall victim to a particularly determined developer of multi-unit buildings, among many other projects, such as tree-planting and boosting local businesses.
The publication of the new archive of the SNA newsletters is due to the work of LisaRuth Elliott and her team for the Neighborhood Newspapers of San Francisco project on the Internet Archive. Continue reading “Sunnyside in the 1970s: Trees, Traffic, Taxes” →