Sunnyside History Walks

I am currently working on creating self-guided Sunnyside history walks for a mobile app, to replace my in-person walks. If you’d like updates, please subscribe. 

All walks have different subject matter, routes, and photos. I’ve conducted history walks in Sunnyside since 2015. Space is limited on all walks. Reservations and proof of vax required. Email: Amy O’Hair 

Upcoming Sunnyside History Walks:

  • Date TBD / Sunnyside: The Early Years. (11am-1pm) Find out what life was like at the turn of the century: Where did the lost creek once flow; the first school in a cottage; the huge coal-fired power plant that ran San Francisco’s first electric streetcar; stories from early families; the inventor who built the Conservatory. Photos and stories available nowhere else. Meet at Cup Café, 6 Monterey Blvd. Ends on the 200 block of Joost. Level: Moderate with stairs. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk. RSVP for this walk
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  • Date TBD / The Southern Boundaries of Sunnyside: The Wild 1890s, the Jail Next Door, and the Making of City College. (11am-1pm) On this two-mile walk, hear about the neighborhood’s rough beginnings; the county jail complex nestled up next to houses; the Southern Pacific Octopus’s grip on Sunnyside; founding of City College; the WWII Navy base; the massive reservoir that was never filled; architectural features of Mohr’s Subdivision; and the forest at the end of the road. Meet at Cup Café, 6 Monterey Blvd. Level: moderate with hills and dirt paths. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk. RSVP for this walk
  • Date TBD / Radical Sunnyside: Protests, Sit-ins, and Direct Action in Neighborhood History. (11am-1pm) This new walk ties together a century of local actions that had the aim of community good, including saving Sunnyside Conservatory, getting the park built, building a community hall, and standing up for the last gas station on the boulevard. Meet at Cup Café, 6 Monterey Blvd. Ends at Ridgewood and Monterey. Level: strenuous with hills. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk.  RSVP for this walk
  • Date TBD A Walk Down Mid-Century Monterey Boulevard. (11am–1pm) On this one-mile walk, explore the past of Sunnyside’s main drag. Learn about the shops, businesses, and restaurants that once lined our commercial district, from the 1920s to the 1980s; mom-and-pop businesses from beauty salons to empanadas, the growth of Safeway, and how things changed. Hear stories collected from longtime residents, see photos available nowhere else. Meet at Monterey Deli, Monterey and Edna. Level: easy. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk.
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  • Date TBD /  The Northern Boundaries of Sunnyside: Dairy Cows, Early Speculators and Activists, and the Steepest Parks in the City. (11am-1pm) On this two-mile walk , hear stories from the north edges; how our two parks were built; two massive landslide disasters; dairy farming on the edge of civilization; and the fight to make the streets safe from speeding steam trains. Meet at Railroad Expresso, Monterey and Gennessee. Level: strenuous with hills. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk. 
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  • Date TBD / Monumental, Inspiring, and Rooted in History: The Public Art of City College of San Francisco. (11:00am – 1:30pm) This walk will take you to all the major public artworks at City College, works that reveal its unique and inspiring history. Science and a faith in progress were brought together with art to give birth to the college; the legacy is a wealth of public artworks on campus. Aside from the famous mural by Diego Rivera, Pan-American Unity, most San Franciscans don’t know about these treasures. Meet at very bottom of Science Hill, at the very bottom of the long flight of steps, at street level near bus shelter on east side of Frida Kahlo Way.  (Transit: Muni line 43, 29, 8, 49, and K; Balboa Park BART.) Level: Moderate with several stairs. Rain or air quality count above 99 cancels walk
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Suggested Minimum Donation $20 for all walks. Proceeds from each walk are donated to a local or city cause in rotation, such as the Detroit Steps Project, the City College Works of Art fund, or the Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco.

The park few know about: Dorothy Erskine Park, at the north boundary of Sunnyside. Its history is covered on  the Northern Boundaries walk. Photo courtesy James Ansbro.


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