Posts Tagged ‘mission’

Dolores Park: What’s in a name?

June 16th, 2015

Dolores Park
Photo copyright Todd Lappin. Used under a Creative Commons license.

The freshly renovated section of Dolores Park opens later this week. If you’re like most people, the name “Dolores Park” conjures up images in your mind of a never ending Pabst-soaked frat party. But why is it called Dolores Park? Who — or what — is it named after?

Let’s start at the beginning. Originally, the park was a cemetery. The city bought the land to turn it into a park and starting coming up with designs in 1905. Those designs were put on hold as the land was used as a refugee camp for people who were freshly homeless thanks to the 1906 earthquake and fire.

According to the Priceonomics blog, the original park construction took place from 1908 to around 1910. Various improvements, including the removal of a wading pool, were made in the 20′s and 30′s.

Take a look at a map from the early 1930′s and you’ll find Dolores Park originally had a different name: Mission Park.

Clearly at some point after this map was made the name of the park was changed. I’m not sure exactly when that happened, because that bit of history doesn’t seem to be available on the internets. (Believe me, I checked them all.)

At least at first, it seems like a safe assumption that the park was renamed in honor of the nearby Mission San Francisco de Asis, aka Mission Dolores. After all, that building is the namesake of the city and the neighborhood, not to mention a street that takes you to Dolores Park.

But since the park was already named after Mission Dolores in the first place, it seems like an unnecessary name change. Given the lack of available historical records, and given what they say about assumptions, I felt more research into this topic was needed before I could be certain.

Now I know what you’re thinking — let’s check Wikipedia! Well I hate to tell you this, but that’s when this entire endeavor slid into a serious rathole.

To quote the Wikipedia page for Dolores Park:

Dolores Park is named for Miguel Hidalgo (El Grito de Dolores), the father of Mexican independence, and the town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico. As a priest in Dolores, it was Hidalgo’s ringing of the town’s church bell and public cry for freedom that sparked the Mexican revolution. A statue of Hidalgo and replica of the church bell at Dolores Hidalgo were erected in the park to honor the father of the Mexican independence movement, and the town where it all began. In recent years, the park has been frequently and incorrectly referred to as “Mission Dolores Park”. The confusion probably stems from the assumptions of many romanticists, that based upon its former and current names of “Mission” and “Dolores” suggests it must’ve been named after Mission Dolores two blocks to the north. Logic, however, dictates that such monuments to the most pivotal moments in Mexican history would not sit in a public space bearing the name of an institution seen by many as a symbol of Spanish colonialism and oppression.

(Emphasis mine)

Huh. That does explain why Dolores Park contains the Mexican liberty bell replica and the statue of Miguel Hidalgo. Those features of the park were installed in the 60′s, and it’s plausible that Mission Park was renamed Dolores Park at that time.

Now here’s the problem — that entire section on Wikipedia has no citations, and is largely the work of a single anonymous user who goes by the name DoloresParkLover. Previously, the page attributed the park’s name to Mission Dolores, but that version was also citation-free.

Still, I have to admit that the park’s decorations feel very out of place without this context. But if what it says on Wikipedia is true, that’s one hell of a naming coincidence.

At this point I thought maybe looking at newer maps would do the trick to verify the name of the damn park, but it turned out once again I was being naive. Google Maps, Apple Maps, and OpenStreetMap all list the park as “Mission Dolores Park,” whereas Nokia HERE Maps call it “Dolores Park.” Foiled again.

Combing through the current version of the city charter (the only version I could find online) was not helpful either. Dolores Park is only mentioned twice, and both times it’s referred to as “Mission Dolores Park.” Then if you look at the planning maps that go along with the charter, it’s referred to instead as “Dolores Park.” Sigh.

It’s worth noting that SF Park and Rec calls it “Mission Dolores Park,” and their own website says the park was “[n]amed for nearby Mission Dolores,” while SFMTA asserts that the park is named after our old friend Miguel and his freedom cry. As usual, our city’s agencies can’t agree on anything.

I reached out to a Parks and Rec official for comment but haven’t heard back.

So after all this I have to admit defeat. I started out with a simple question, but it raised more questions than answers. Hell, I don’t even know what the park is called anymore! Perhaps the only remaining course of action is to give in and call it Brolores Park. Cheers, and happy day drinking.

Everything you do is a balloon

March 29th, 2015

Everything you do is a balloon
Spotted at 21st and Mission

I imagine the conversation went a little something like this:

“Hey, how should we decorate our storefront?”
“Well, all I have is this bike pump and a drawer full of balloons.”
“Uh… *scratches head* sounds kinda like a plan!”

And there you have it; a storefront filled with balloons.

(With apologies to Boards of Canada.)

Hip parking meter is hip

June 15th, 2014

Hip parking meter

A few years ago the city installed new smart parking meters that accept credit cards and are powered by the sun. But did you know they’re also smart enough to wear clothes and enjoy sports?

Well, this particularly hip parking meter at 21st and Valencia is not only hip, but is also a 49ers fan. Take that, dumb meters.

Disneyland comes to The Mission

November 24th, 2013

The New Mission: Haute, Yet Edgy

Good news, everyone! Disneyland is coming to the Mission!

A recent street stencil breaks the news. I called up Disney’s headquarters for more information. Here’s the scoop:

  • Unlike Disney’s other parks, this one will be both “haute” and “edgy” with cast members playing hobos, hipsters, and street drunks. Keeping with the theme, a scary Tomorrowland ride called BART will whisk you from one end of the park to the other.

  • There will be plenty of places to eat, although they’re all a bit expensive for what you get. And of course there will be numerous gift shops selling cheap junk at ridiculous prices — but you’ll buy a souvenir anyway because that’s what people do.

  • Other attractions will include Goofy’s Art Alley, The Hunchback of San Francisco de Asis, Haunted Denim Shop’s Ghostly Price Tag Scare, and Snow White’s Naughty Vibrator Emporium. When you’re done, why not relax in Kermit the Frog’s Dolores Park Village?

  • Be prepared for long lines. You might want to bring something to read, and be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

I Love You

January 24th, 2012

I Love You I Love You

Flyers proclaiming their love for you have started appearing around the Mission. Is this some kind of viral marketing for a new romcom staring Adam Sandler? Someone’s unusual art project? The CIA’s new mind control experiment?

Who knows. The posters direct you to visit, a mostly empty page which directs you to a rather sappy blog.

Visit those links at your own peril: don’t say I didn’t warn you about the sappiness.

When to wash your hands

September 25th, 2011

When to wash your hands

Not sure if Pi Bar really has a problem with this in their bathroom, but it’s good advice nonetheless.

Dolores California Gourmet Burritos in Berlin

August 10th, 2011


IMG_0067 IMG_0065

On a small side street near the touristy hellhole of Alexanderplatz is a San Francisco themed burrito place. If you’re a burrito lover in or around San Francisco, you may have heard of this by now: they have a San Francisco Muni map covering on the wall and Anchor Steam (imported via Amsterdam) by the bottle.

The burritos are made traditionally, but they didn’t use an “assembly line” format like you find in so many SF taquerias. Rather, you order at the counter and they call your number.

To me, the burrito I had tasted more like something from Rubio’s than a traditional SF burrito. It was more sweet than spicy, very light on the rice, and wasn’t tightly rolled. Which isn’t to say that it wasn’t good! It’s just different. Unsurprisingly, the place seems to attract American expats in Berlin longing for home. And I can’t say I blame them — after a few days of heavy carb-and-fat laden German food, a burrito really hit the spot for me.

Estraberis are back!

May 2nd, 2011


You might recall the favorite fruit of Spaniglish-speakers everywhere, the estraberi showing up at Loma Produce last year.

Well thanks to this photo by Alexia Anthem, we can see that estraberis have returned to Loma Produce for 2011!

4chan infiltrated Noisebridge

April 20th, 2010

Oh dear, the Anonymous meme junkies at 4chan seem to have infiltrated San Francisco’s hacker-den, Noisebridge, with a variety of meme-stencils.


i liek mudkips


Longcat is looooooooooong

Gir rides a pig

Spanglish: Estraberi

March 31st, 2010

English: Strawberry
Spanish: Fresa
Spanglish: Estraberi


Spotted at La Loma Produce.

Photo by Rose