Glen Parkers and residents from adjoining neighborhoods packed the library last Thursday to see a section (of the 120) of the San Francisco Scale Model and hear its fascinating story. At the same time, it was an exciting history lesson about our neighborhoods. The model was in storage for 77 years, until now.
The presentation was put on by the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project and featured historians Evelyn Rose, founder of GPNHP; Amy O’Hair of Sunnyside; Hannah Simonson of Diamond Heights, and Jacquie Proctor of Miraloma Park.
In the talk and slide show, Evelyn Rose noted the history of the San Francisco model as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project that provided employment during the Great Depression. It took 300 craftspeople, working thousands of hours, two years to build.
The model contains all the houses and structures (6,000, minus some missing pieces) that were in existence in 1938, including many of the houses in Glen Park. Diamond Heights as we know it now didn’t exist. The three hills in that location were bare except for a bizarre network of roads.
After the talk and a round robin of diagrams of the neighborhoods in the meeting room, the group gathered around the model on display in the library’s main room. Local history came to life as people were able to identify their houses, or at least their location, and the lay of the land 80 or so years ago.
For a complete discussion of the model and its history,
Assembled, the model measures 37 by 41 feet. Component parts are displayed in corresponding neighborhood libraries until March 25.
SF Chronicle Datebook notes “…the model was built to come apart, and seeing it in smaller quadrants elevated off the floor makes it easier to home in on the detail…Even without all of its pieces, this is considered to be the largest and most intact of any of a number of city models built across America by the WPA.”
However, there’s a movement afoot to at last have the entire assembled model on display. There’s a petition online to get this done. It’s on the Take Part page of SFMoma’s website.
Let your voice be heard.