Like many San Franciscans, I’ve been taking the *golden opportunity* presented by the pandemic to do some exploring close to home. A good place to start was Bernal Heights park, which is nearby and which I’d surprisingly never visited before.
Armed with a map and walking tour directions (details below), my husband and I made our way up the Bernal Heights hill and caught the expansive view from 445 feet. As we circumnavigated the crest, I couldn’t help noticing what felt like a constant feature of the landscape when looking west: Glen Park School (aka The Big Blue School).
It seemed to pop out of the landscape with a distracting insistence. Obviously its bright blue color distinguished it, but weren’t there any other structures vying for my attention? Everything else seemed dull and gray from the distance (although golden Dolores Huerta Elementary ran a close second from certain vantage points).
After pondering the why of this visual, I began to appreciate the usefulness of the school in placing the Glen Park neighborhood in context with the surrounding areas, such as Diamond Heights, Twin Peaks and others.
Try finding Glen Park School in the slides below. Guaranteed, it’s there.
(Relevant personal aside: When we moved to Glen Park in the ’80s, the school was actually lavender. Over the years, the color underwent a change and gradually turned blue. When it was repainted, the same blue color was used. If any reader has a recollection of this, please leave a comment — my timeline is pretty vague. In an amazing coincidence, after moving in we painted our house lavender and the same phenomenon occurred. )
Recently on a neighborhood walk, this time on Everson Street, the imposing edifice of Glen Park School again hollered for attention, albeit from much closer in.
Glen Park School — it cannot be ignored.
A recommendation: Urban Trails – San Francisco, by Alexandra Kenin, Chronicle Books, 2016. This walking tour, called Bernal Beauty, also included Holly Park and the fascinating and lovely streets of Bernal Heights.