Tramps of San Francisco

In search of San Francisco's forgotten histories

Greetings, Fellow Trampers!

Local tramper, 1909. Personal Collection, Evelyn Rose

Throngs of residents and tourists in San Francisco tramp daily over hill and dale, flatland and shore. Yet, few are aware of the remnants of history that lie beneath our feet; events that helped establish the foundation for the energized, eclectic City we revel in today.

Having been a resident of the Bay Area for nearly 35 years (almost 30 years in various locations within San Francisco’s 49-square miles of dirt, dune, and rock), I continue to be amazed at the number of mini-Ah-Ha! moments I regularly encounter. Pearls of information that change my wonder in, perspective of, and appreciation for this magical “… City that knows how.”

Strap on your hobnailed boots and follow Tramps of San Francisco on virtual excursions in San Francisco and the surrounding area as we continue to discover the hidden, lesser known histories of our golden City by the Bay!


1. Visitor Information. Available at

2. City and County Quick Facts. Available at

3. PPIE – The City That Knows How. Available at the

© 2012-2014. Evelyn Rose, Tramps of San Francisco.      Last update February 17, 2014.

21 ResponsesLeave one →

  1. Interesting…good for you!!! You GO GIRL!!!

  2. Sharon nadeau

     /  July 15, 2012

    The way you are parcelling out San Francisco’s history makes an interesting read!

  3. Marion

     /  July 25, 2012

    I can’t wait to hear about what the Mission District was called

  4. Perhaps oddities in Glen Park?

  5. Catherine H

     /  August 13, 2012

    Great site! I just visited New York City and, while there, got very interested in learning more about the history of the places we saw. I planned to buy some books and start exploring the history of that other great city. Then I returned home to SF, saw your blog and realized that this is the city I need to learn more about! My history lesson begins here on your blog. Thanks for the resource. By the way, I especially love the Glen Park and Sunnyside notes. It’s nice to be included. :)


    • Thank you, Catherine! I’m so pleased to hear that you find Tramps of San Francisco to be such a useful resource. I’m in search of San Francisco’s forgotten history so I look forward to bringing more of those stories to you. Thanks for tramping!

  6. Hi, Evelyn. I would like to include a link to your piece on Richard Chenery on the “Gold Rush Stories” website hosted by the Pioneer Valley History Network, here in western Massachusetts. Your piece is well-researched and is perfectly consistent with our mission to tell the stories of our local folks who went to California. Check out our site at:

    Can we include a link to your piece?

  7. Bonnee Waldstein

     /  August 3, 2013

    I very much enjoyed your presentation on Glen Park history at our recent Glen Park Association meeting. I’m looking forward to Part 2! I write for the Glen Park News and I also live on Chenery Street. I wrote an article for the Spring 2008 issue on what I found to be the likely origin of the name of our street. Although my research wasn’t as extensive as yours, I found enough matching information in your account to believe that I had it right. I would be glad to send you a scanned copy, if you’re interested (do you have an email address I could use?) My story is not online anywhere I can find. I’m still amazed at the achievements, travels and multiple careers Richard Chenery packed into his life.


  8. Paul C.

     /  August 10, 2013

    You have to cover the San Francisco vigilantes. They were the largest and most successful movement of their kind.

    • Thanks, Paul! Yes, the Vigilance Committees of ’51 and ’56 have a fascinating history. I always make note to gaze over to the former location of the old Fort Gunnybags on Sacramento Street whenever I’m in the area.
      The history of the Vigilance Committees is fairly well known. As you may know, Tramps of San Francisco attempts to resurface San Francisco’s forgotten histories. Should I make a surprising re-discovery about the Committees, you can be sure I’ll write about it! Thanks for the post!

  9. We’re you on the dig in Tiburon with Gary Paul in the 8Os? I worked that dig for two summers and was always in the pit because I did such good wall drawings. Down 5,000 years. Miss that so much. I have found some treasures in my own backyard here in Glen Park. I am a hiker (with a new knee).

    • Hi, Kerry! Yes, I was, at Strawberry Point. I worked during the initial summer and we didn’t get much past the historic period that year. I did hear later that the dig had gone back quite a bit into prehistory. The need to dig has never left me, either! Would be fascinated to know what you found in your backyard! Hope you can come to my talk this Wed, Oct 23, 6pm at the Glen Park Branch of the SF Public Library for Part I of The History of Glen Canyon: Prehistory to Alfred Nobel. Thanks for tramping!! –Evelyn

  10. conor forde

     /  November 6, 2013

    Hi Evelyn
    Really enjoyed this evenings talk at the Glen Park Library. Fascinating that history can be buried right under your nose, and it’s only a few generations old. I will look at the canyon in a new light for ever more. Loved the photos of Morro Castle in your back yard.

    • Hey, Conor! It was so terrific to see you at the library last Wednesday! Thanks so much for your comments – very much appreciated. I’m glad I was able to share some tidbits that help provide new perspective on our 170-acres of not-so-virgin wilderness in our own Glen Canyon. Hope to see you again soon — Evelyn

  11. Peter Tannen

     /  June 8, 2014

    Marker for CA Hist. Landmark 1002 Site of the First Dynamite Factory in US –

    Below is an E-mail I got from CA Office of Historic Preservation. We need a marker in Glen Canyon!

    On Fri, May 2, 2014 at 3:56 PM, Correia, Jay@Parks wrote:

    Dear Mr. Tannen,

    California Historical Landmark No. 1002, Site of the First Dynamite Factory in the United States, has no landmark plaque or marker. No funds were available for creation of a plaque marker when the property was listed in 1991, and the state of California does not provide funds for California Historical Landmark plaques.

    For many years we have relied on local government, local historical societies, and others, to fund the casting of California Historical landmark plaques. Let us know if there is local interest in funding the casting of a plaque for CHL 1002.

    Thank you for your interest in the California Historical Landmarks program.


    Jay Correia
    State Historian III
    Supervisor, Registration Unit
    California State Office of Historic Preservation

    • Peter, thank you so much for your comment. We absolutely DO need the plaque installed and it will be one of the first major goals of the new Glen Park Neighborhood History Project. We had our kick-off meeting earlier in May and will be meeting again in late June, early July. May I sign you up? If so, please email We are also on Twitter @GlenParkHistory.

      You can see my article about the Giant Powder Company at Ms. Jean Kortum, a community activist and historian (sadly, she passed away in 2010), is responsible for making the request to declare the site for landmark status in the early 1990s. She also gained permission from two City of San Francisco committees for having the plaque placed.

      At the time, the estimate for the plaque/marker was about $3500. It had been my assumption that community funds were unavailable at the time and I thank you for the confirmation. I would also like to see if we can “edit” the description to include mention of the eventual creation of the Nobel prizes from the enormous amount of wealth left following Alfred Nobel’s death.

      I’ve had very preliminary conversations about the placement of a marker with SF Parks and Recreation, and it’s possible it may be placed inside the Glen Canyon Recreation Center but would still be visible from the outside. That is a process still ongoing but as we get closer to the Rec Center refurbishing, the Glen Park Neighborhood History Project will continue discussions.

      Thanks again for your interest in Glen Park History! Best regards, Evelyn


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