BART started service in San Francisco, from Market Street to Daly City, on November 5, 1973. I played hooky from work that afternoon, and rode from Powell Street to Glen Park and back, with a friend visiting from out of town. I had heard that the Glen Park station was an architectural standout. We got out, rode the escalators up and down and fully agreed.
My family moved to Glen Park in 1986, and BART became my 12-minute commute downtown, or our easy travel to sights in Berkeley or Oakland. The sense of arrival in the expansive station with brick, marble and careful concrete detail offset the somewhat chaotic pedestrian crossings of Diamond and Bosworth streets.
How did the National Register nomination process come to be?
The late Bruce Bonacker, as many people know, was a long-time Glen Park resident, successful architect, officer and board member of the Glen Park Association, a leader of San Francisco’s historic preservation community, and general “nudge.”
In 2016, Bruce advocated that GPA work for a National Register nomination for the Glen Park BART Station. Some of us asked: Why does this 1970’s building need National Register status? Bruce noted that the station was showing its age, and elements such as the canopies over the fare gates could need replacement. The National Register listing would ensure that BART would have to adhere to original design character as part of any maintenance or upgrade.
Working with Tania Treis, Scott Stawicki, myself, and other board members, GPA successfully applied for funding for the Chris VerPlanck study, with grants from San Francisco Architectural Heritage, the City’s Historic Preservation Fund, a direct GPA donation, and some individual donations. Chris VerPlanck’s research included outreach to BART and its archives.
As the nomination went through the review steps, BART actually objected to the nomination, asserting that BART would be responsible for reviewing the architectural significance of all the structures in the system. Nonetheless, the State Historic Preservation Officer recommended approval of the nomination in 2019.
Sadly, Bruce passed away in August 2017, before the BART station nomination was complete.