The Secret Miner in Sutro’s Forest

In the 1880s and 1890s, a reclusive man named Nelson Shoots dug deep mine shafts in search of gold in the rocky hills a half-mile west of Sunnyside, in Sutro’s forest of eucalyptus trees. He worked his claim for over seventeen years, the public learned, when his exploits came to light as he lay on his deathbed in the spring of 1898. The San Francisco Call devoted a whole page to the story, complete with illustrations.

SF Call, 29 May 1898. Read article here https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=SFC18980529.2.161.2&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1
SF Call, 29 May 1898. Read article here or download an image of article here.

Continue reading “The Secret Miner in Sutro’s Forest”

Families on the edge of the forest: Mangels Avenue in the 1910s and 1920s

1917. Photo courtesy Geoff Follin.

At the edge of Sutro’s forest of eucalyptus trees, in the northwest corner of Sunnyside, the 600 block of Mangels Avenue was home to several families who enjoyed a truly rural existence in the early years. Recently some photos were graciously loaned to me to scan, so there is some visual record of life there. The photos are from the personal archive of resident Geoff Follin, sent to him in 1987 by a man who grew up on the block during these years—Lawrence Behler (1908-1999).[1] Behler included a brief letter of explanation.

12 Jan 1987. Letter from Lawrence Behler to resident of 663 Mangels Ave. Courtesy Geoff Follin.
12 Jan 1987. Letter from Lawrence Behler to resident of 663 Mangels Ave. Courtesy Geoff Follin.

Continue reading “Families on the edge of the forest: Mangels Avenue in the 1910s and 1920s”

Greyhounds, Aeroplanes, and Wheelbarrows: the History of the Balboa Reservoir 1894-1944

OpenSFHistory.org

One of a series of articles on the history of the Balboa Reservoir.

The large plot of land that was known as the Balboa Reservoir has had a remarkable history, despite never having been filled with water and once being declared “void of positive features” by the City.[1] Through most of the twentieth century it was owned by SF Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC), yet none of the uses the land has been put to have had any impact for good or ill on the city’s water supply. Now the last third of it still left in the hands of SFPUC is being developed as a housing project.

2016-googlesatellite-BalboaReservoir
The original dimensions of the Balboa Reservoir site, as purchased by the City in 1930. The lot now includes Riordan High School on the north, CCSF’s Multi-Use Building on the east, and housing and commercial buildings along Ocean Ave. View larger.

Spring Valley’s Real Estate Wager

The reservoir site started as part of Adolph Sutro’s Rancho San Miguel holdings, most of which were acquired by him in 1881.[2] Sutro sold the 42-acre lot on the far southeast corner of his eucalyptus-covered kingdom to the Spring Valley Water Company in 1894.[3] The company’s stated purpose was to build a reservoir there. They didn’t.

1894Feb14-Call-p9-purchase-Spring-Valley-BalboaReservoir-crop
SF Call 14 Feb 1894, p9. Read whole article here.

Continue reading “Greyhounds, Aeroplanes, and Wheelbarrows: the History of the Balboa Reservoir 1894-1944”