Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, United States, is a large urban park consisting of 1,017 acres of public grounds. It is administered by the San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department, configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20 percent larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a mile north to south, in the 1860s, San Franciscans began to feel the need for a spacious public park similar to Central Park, which was then taking shape in New York City. Golden Gate Park was carved out of unpromising sand and shore dunes that were known as the Outside Lands, conceived ostensibly for recreation, the underlying purpose of the park was housing development and the westward expansion of the city. The tireless field engineer William Hammond Hall prepared a survey and topographic map of the site in 1870. He was later named Californias first state engineer and developed a flood control system for the Sacramento Valley. The park drew its name from nearby Golden Gate Strait, the plan and planting were developed by Hall and his assistant, John McLaren, who had apprenticed in Scotland, home of many of the 19th-century’s best professional gardeners. John McLaren, when asked by the Park Commission if he could make Golden Gate Park one of the beauty spots of the world, replied saying With your aid gentleman, and God be willing, that I shall do. He also promised that hed go out into the country and walk along a stream until he found a farm, and that hed come back to the garden and recreate what nature had done. In 1876, the plan was almost replaced by one for a racetrack, favored by the Big Four millionaires, Leland Stanford, Mark Hopkins, Collis P. Huntington and it was Gus Mooney who claimed land adjacent to the park on Ocean Beach. Many of Mooneys friends also staked claims and built shanties on the beach to sell refreshments to the patrons of the park, Hall resigned, and the remaining park commissioners followed. In 1882 Governor George C. Perkins appointed Frank M. Pixley founder, Pixley was adamant that the Mooneys shanties be eliminated, and he found support with the San Francisco Police for park security. Pixley favored Stanfords company by granting a lease on the route that closed the park on three sides to competition. The original plan, however, was back on track by 1886, Hall selected McLaren as his successor in 1887. The first stage of the development centered on planting trees in order to stabilize the dunes that covered three-quarters of the park’s area. By 1875, about 60,000 trees, mostly Eucalyptus globulus, Monterey pine, by 1879, that figure more than doubled to 155,000 trees over 1,000 acres. Later, McLaren scoured the world for trees, by correspondence and he lived in McLaren Lodge in Golden Gate Park until he died in 1943, aged 96. In 1903, a pair of Dutch-style windmills were built at the western end of the park
Image: Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
John McLaren served as superintendent of Golden Gate Park for 56 years.
One of many music entertainers in Golden Gate Park