19 Reviews

Know about this? Rate It!

    by LaurieWiegler
  • © All Rights Reserved  by Raúlgh;The Windmill 2012
    © All Rights Reserved by Raúlgh;The...
    by JulieJueletha
  • Japanese Tea Garden postcard from 1937
    Japanese Tea Garden postcard from 1937
    by grandmaR
  • JulieJueletha's Profile Photo

    The San Francisco Windmill

    by JulieJueletha Updated Jan 6, 2014

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Murphy Windmill at the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park (near 48th Avenue and Lincoln Way) across from Ocean Beach was completed in 1908 with large donations from many prominent San Franciscans and gifted to the city by banker Samuel G. Murphy. The (now-restored) Murphy Windmill was the largest windmill in the world when it was built. Able to pump 40,000 gallons of well water a day for Golden Gate Park irrigation, its purpose was to save the city from the exorbitant costs that a private Water Company charged.

    Electric pumps replaced the windmill's reason for existence fairly quickly and it fell into great disrepair surviving more decades without its massive spars and sails than with them. Although it had been without it's turning sails, this is how I knew the windmill growing up in San Francisco.

    On August 4, 1907, the plans were approved, and Superintendent McLaren was ordered to begin the construction and to estimate the cost of creating a lake that would serve as an irrigation reservoir when the new windmill was built. When McLaren reported that the lake could be built for $9,513, the commissioners ordered that the work be done as soon as the weather permitted. Not until April 11, 1908, was the windmill and reservoir completed and the park commissioners and mayor gathered to see the new windmill turn its sails for the first time. The structure pumped from the wells beneath it to the new lake a mile away. In keeping with ongoing political practice, the lake was named after the president of the commission and became Metson Lake.

    A long campaign to restore the Murphy Windmill ended in 2012, and today the blades can often be seen turning again as it was intended.

    More information can be had from the book:
    The Making of Golden Gate Park, The Growing Years: 1906-1950, Raymond H. Clary, 1987

    Fondest memory: My memory of this part of San Francisco is sitting as a kid looking up at the old windmill without blades and wondering what it would look like with them turning in the breeze. I also wondered what the windmill had been for, had it pumped water to homes? Is this where the water came from when my grandmother told me about the time she got a glass of water from her home tap and there was a small fish in it? *smiles* fond memories.

    The Original Windmill The Windmill without sails �� All Rights Reserved  by Ra��lgh;The Windmill 2012
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • LaurieWiegler's Profile Photo

    Get lost in the park

    by LaurieWiegler Updated Apr 6, 2008

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Yeah, the Japanese Tea Gardens and restored De Young Museum are fabulous, but if you really want to enjoy this park and you have the knees for it, run through the park, which is what I did when I lived on 9th Avenue and in that area for many years. Something about the scent of those ferns filling the lungs on a misty San Francisco morning enlivens as nothing else can.

    I find it very peaceful to run - or walk - in the morning in the park, especially off-tourist-season, when you're apt to find many stretches of greenery to yourself. Start at the entrance at 9th avenue, cross the street (on Saturdays watch out for the rollerbladers) and then wend your way on a path cleared through the trees.

    When I think of it, I think of Cindy Lauper singing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" because that's what I played on my Walkman back then (predated iPods!)

    Fondest memory: I can't pick a fondest memory of San Francisco. That would be like asking a woman with 10 kids which is her favorite. But here are a few:

    ** Seeing a young Ellen DeGeneres perform standup in the San Francisco Standup Comedy Competition ialong Columbus Ave. n the 80s, and just knowing she was going somewhere;
    ** Having a romantic dinner at Otafuku in Japantown;
    ** Sailboating under the Golden Gate Bridge when I was 10 and nearly getting thrown off the bow (really, it was a good memory, albeit horrifying);
    ** wacking the moles at Pier 39;
    ** kissing from a bench in the Presidio, overlooking the Bay towards the Golden Gate Bridge;
    ** eating dinner with my mom and brother at a now defunct Mexican restaurant in the Mission District;
    ** laughing my xa** off with my acting friends from ACT along Geary;
    ** composing poetry from a cafe on Clement;
    ** puffing up from the encouragement of professors in the writing departments at State;
    ** running the Bay to Breakers with my friend Cindy in 1986;
    ** finding my last cat, Wendell, with my brother after brunch in the Sunset District - my brother pointing out that Wendell seemed sad when I walked away from his cage, so I went back to buy him (from the SPCA);
    ** odd, but one of the world's greatest dentists (Dr. Stricker) and his rumbling office along the Judah line in the Outer Sunset -- he was always so friendly and sweet, making my myriad dental problems less overwhelming!
    ** writing a short story from my little bedroom on 48th Ave. underneath Debbie's and Mark's house;
    ** stuffing my face with pizza with a man I loved out in the inner Sunset;
    ** my annual birthday parties with friends;
    ** working at San Francisco ballet, watching the dancers from the office above their pirouettes

    Was this review helpful?

  • worldkiwi's Profile Photo

    Squirrels in a Pohutukawa??!

    by worldkiwi Written May 12, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: For New Zealanders from the northern part of our country, the pohutukawa tree is an iconic and almost spiritual symbol of summer, beaches and good times. To find them all over San Francisco was very surprising and kind of weird. To see them flowering in July (the middle of winter back home) was even more peculiar. In Golden Gate Park I found the scene of squirrels playing in an old pohutukawa most fascinating! We don't have these types of animals in NZ. I was seeing the familiar and the totally foreign combined!
    To walk in a grove of trees endemic to New Zealand, some of which were clearly established here long ago, and see them rooted to a foreign soil gives a most intriguing feeling. I guess we kind of take for granted the fixed nature of our flora in our countries, but when we find it somewhere else it becomes a sharply defined reminder of the idea of "homeland".

    An odd sight... A pohutukawa in bloom in July! SF street scene.
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • Bregman's Profile Photo

    Golden Gate Park

    by Bregman Updated Apr 9, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Visit Golden Gate Park. This is huge park with a lot of attractions like the Botanic Garden, the Tulip Garden and the most beautiful of all Japanese Tea Garden.

    Japanese Tea Garden

    Was this review helpful?

  • KaiM's Profile Photo

    Bisons at Golden Gate Park

    by KaiM Updated Sep 21, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Golden Gater Park is the largest park in the World that was completely constructed by human hands. It is about 5 kilometers long and 1 kilometer broad and houses more than 7,000 species of plants. It is also home to a huge herd of bisons. The park was founded in 1871. While looking at the picture can you imagine that there were only sand dunes in this area before the park was constructed?

    Bisons on a meadow in the park
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • School Holidays
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • wrldtravler's Profile Photo

    Blue Skies and Hills

    by wrldtravler Written Jun 19, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Golden Gate Park occupies a significant portion of the city and houses some of the best flora, fauna and museums on the american west coast.
    The de Young Museum is located in Golden Gate Park and is a popular exhibition centre for the world's greatest artworks.
    Apart from horse riding the park also has a bison ranch and many spicies of birds.
    The Park divides the latter half of the city into the Richmond ( on the right if looking from Downtown) and Sunset Districts (on the left).

    Fondest memory: Skating through the park at night.
    Look at the map for detailed locations of points of interest in the The Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

    GG Park Map
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Music
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Japanese Tea Garden

    by grandmaR Updated May 14, 2003

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: I loved the cable cars, the marvelous views, and the wonderful restaurants

    Fondest memory: I climbed on this bridge to get a better view of the garden. I'm in the middle of the bridge wearing a grey green suit with my back partly turned taking a photo in the other direction, My two children are at the top of the bridge on the side nearest to the photographer. One is wearing a dark coat with toggle buttons, and her sister is behind her.

    The lady and child in white in front of me, and the child in red behind me, and the people climbing the steep steps are not part of our family group.

    I don't know if this is my mom's picture or my dad's picture.

    Me and kids on the Japanese Tea Garden bridge Japanese Tea Garden postcard from 1937
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • jzeidman's Profile Photo

    Get ready for some award winning people watching!

    by jzeidman Written Dec 24, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Golden Gate Park is amazing. It's a huge park plunked down in the NorthWest corner of San Francisco between the Sunset and Richmond districts that has it all in the way of parks. Japanese Tea Garden, Rose Gardens, Palm Tree Gardens, auditoriums, museums, research centers, events and MUCH MUCH more. Great for a day of picnicking, walking, biking or roller blading. Good for all ages and walks of life. Also hosts many important events including the SF Aids Walk, biggest walk on the west coast.

    Fondest memory: This is a very liberal, diverse and stimulating place. It is never bland, ordinary or predictable. Expect to see people of every race, color and origin. You can walk by ten different types of ethnic cuisine on one city block. The people here are unique and very open about their lifestyles and personalities. Enjoy the diversity that makes this town a haven for those seeking a retreat from the hum drum of run of the mill life.

    Was this review helpful?

  • OrlandoBR's Profile Photo

    There are beautiful parks all...

    by OrlandoBR Written Sep 8, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: There are beautiful parks all around, like the one just before the Golden Gate Bridge (Presidio, I think), where this picture was taken...

    Fondest memory: Flying over San Francisco on a helicopter. It's expensive, but worth every single penny. Unforgettable experience... and the pilot asked us if we wanted to fly UNDER the Golden Gate, which of course we did!!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Golden Gate Park with it's...

    by Pavlik_NL Written Sep 8, 2002

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Golden Gate Park with it's various international 'corners'. On Sunday the best way of exploring this huge park is by (roller)skates or by bike. Cross through the greens and have a picknick. Enjoy the park like the San Franciscans do and you can make great friends as the people are very open.

    Fondest memory: Drinking tea in the Japanese part of Golden Gate Park and ... the crazy Steller Sealions that 'honk' in the harbour while sunbathing on the wooden platforms.

    Was this review helpful?

  • See Fisherman's Warf, Bay...

    by Il_Shin Written Sep 7, 2002

    Favorite thing: See Fisherman's Warf, Bay bridge, Golden gate bridge, Golden gate park, Cliff house... and ride a cable car.

    Visit Sausalito, Tiburon, Wainery tour, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Monterey......

    Fondest memory: I enjoyed the time when we had BBQ party at Golden gate park in a peaceful and fresh air.

    I didn't remember the fantastic night scene of Bay bridge.

    Was this review helpful?

  • melancholia's Profile Photo

    my favourite areas of san...

    by melancholia Written Aug 26, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: my favourite areas of san francisco are the haight-ashbury and golden gate park. you can experience both in the same day as they are in close vicinity to eachother. in fact if you walk to the end of haight st, it goes directly into golden gate park. i would advise though to be wary of a lot of homeless folk and people offering drugs. i was offered marijuana by 3 different people, and i was simply walking around the park minding my own business. they weren't trying to sell me drugs, just offering for me to join them in their drug use. (and if you are curious, no i did not smoke with them)...people do tend to be quite friendly here though, and that's quite a nice change. i also had a guy in the park offer to be my tour guide and take me around the city. i took his phone number, but never's hard to measure ones true intentions, eh? as everyone warns, i figured it'd be better 'safe than sorry'...i suppose i got a bit sidetracked into golden gate park..more on haight-ashbury...haight st is full of a variety of hippie shops, you'll see a fair amount of tie dye and bright coloured shop fronts. there's also a bit of punk and gothic type stores mixed in. if you're a fan of music i would suggest to check out the 'amoeba record store' it's located at the end of haight, before mcdonalds, and the entrance to golden gate park. it is a HUGE building with a lot of people..but there's also a very large selection of music and posters, and a sizable section for clearance cd's. you can find a lot of new music here as well, not only music no one ever wants to buy. prices in the clearance range from $1.00 to $4.99. check it out. as for transportation to this area i took the N-Judah muni(metro/subway like system) from powell and market st station. you are dropped off 4 blocks north of haight st at carl and cole streets.

    Fondest memory: out of all the interesting sites and whatnot..i'd actually have to say when i think of san francisco i will mostly remember the people i met. i made some new friends that i wish i had more time to get to know in person. other than that, once again haight-ashbury, golden gate park, and also chinatown will be remembered.

    Was this review helpful?

  • go to the Exploratorium. it's...

    by sav3 Written Aug 25, 2002

    Favorite thing: go to the Exploratorium. it's an interactive science museum. It would take alll day to try everything. I still haven't. You could make shadow picture, echos, optical illusions, grow and shrink in one room, and sometime's there's special night shows. It's a great place for kids too. it's next to the Palace of Fine Arts, a real architectural beauty, and the only building left from the World's Fair.

    Fondest memory: Every Sunday I love to go to Hippy Hill. There's always a drum circle, hacky sackers, and usually people playing soccer or frisbee, dancing, doing acrobatics, juggling, or poi. It's at it's height in the early summer. Here people are happy, relaxing, enjuying music, and golden gate park. It's called Strawberry Hill on the park map and if you come in from Haight it just right of Children's Playground.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Mindjob's Profile Photo

    Mindjob's General Tip

    by Mindjob Written Aug 25, 2002

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fondest memory: Fleishacker pool in the 60's. Largest salt-water pool is gone now. Also Playland at the Beach, the amusement park. The Grateful Dead and Jefferson Airplane used to play in Golden Gate Park. I still love Ocean Beach and the downtown area.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jtaylor's Profile Photo

    My favorite place is Golden...

    by Jtaylor Written Aug 24, 2002

    1 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: My favorite place is Golden Gate Park. It is absolutely the prettiest part of San Francisco with a large assortment of things to see and do.

    Fondest memory: I have so many wonderful memories of San Francisco from when I lived there for 3 years and then all of my visits back each year. The city is so unique and so much to see and do. It would be hard for me to select just one favorite memory.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Francisco

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

29 travelers online now


View all San Francisco hotels