‘Organic and Inorganic Science’ by Herman Volz

Herman Volz, Organic and Inorganic Science, City College San Francisco. Photo: Amy O'Hair.

Herman Volz’s mosaic murals on the north and south porticoes of Science Hall at City College of San Francisco contain a wealth of references to the history, discoveries, and tools of science.  Below are images of the four sections of the mural with many of the items identified. [Main Art Walk page.]

The mural in the North Portico is oriented to the organic sciences: biology, meteorology, geology, geography–the act of discovering and measuring. It features a young Charles Darwin at the center, holding one of the skulls that were so critical for his theory of evolution. On the right is William Harvey, 17th century English scientist who proved the circulation of blood, using dogs. The figure at the lower left is ‘Man the Geometer’ rather than the medieval idea of  ‘God the geometer.’ The references are labeled on each image.

North Portico, upper portion:

Herman Volz, 'Organic and Inorganic Science' (North Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O'Hair.
Herman Volz, ‘Organic and Inorganic Science’ (upper North Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O’Hair. View larger. 

North Portico, lower portion:

Herman Volz, 'Organic and Inorganic Science' (North Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O'Hair.
Herman Volz, ‘Organic and Inorganic Science’ (lower North Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O’Hair. View larger. 

The mural in the South Portico is oriented to the inorganic sciences: construction, mechanics, aeronautics, and those principles that give rise to new practical inventions–the act of making.

South Portico, upper portion:

Herman Volz, 'Organic and Inorganic Science' (South Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O'Hair.
Herman Volz, ‘Organic and Inorganic Science’ (upper South Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O’Hair. View larger. 

South Portico, lower portion:

Herman Volz, 'Organic and Inorganic Science' (South Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O'Hair.
Herman Volz, ‘Organic and Inorganic Science’ (lower South Portico). Photo illustration: Amy O’Hair. View larger. 

[Main Art Walk page.]

 

Sunnyside street-name changes, new and old

Phelan Ave street sign. Photo: Amy O'Hair

Next week the San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes to approve changing the name of Phelan Avenue to Frida Kahlo Way. This is far from the first such change for this neighborhood’s streets, and a good occasion to look at the several other name changes over the years since its beginning.

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1891. Sunnyside homestead map. About 3’x6′. Photographed and montaged by Amy O’Hair. San Francisco History Center. San Francisco Public Library. View larger.
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Detail from southwest corner of Sunnyside homestead map. Only three of eight street names here are still in use. View larger. 

Continue reading “Sunnyside street-name changes, new and old”

From Tennis to Housing: The Gennessee Courts

For twenty years there were public tennis courts at the corner of Phelan and Judson Avenues—the only park facility in Sunnyside then. It attracted tennis aficionados from all over, such as these folks visiting from a fancier part of town in 1932.

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A group of well-heeled friends at the “Genessee Courts” on 15 April 1932. The house at 1 Gennessee Street can be seen in the background. OpenSFHistory.org wnp26.1268.jpg
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Detail from 1938 aerial photo below, showing tennis courts on Judson Ave near Phelan (now Frida Kahlo Way). Maybe the trees were planted to keep the nearby County Jail out of sight. DavidRumsey.com View larger map.

The facility was opened in 1927 with great fanfare—Mayor James “Sunny Jim” Rolph gave the dedication address, and a small army of politicians, as well as Superintendent of Parks John McLaren, gave speeches.   Continue reading “From Tennis to Housing: The Gennessee Courts”