Mission Dolores Park
|Mission Dolores Park|
View from the park
|Area||15.94 acres (6.45 ha)|
|Operated by||San Francisco Recreation & Parks Department|
|Open||6am to 10pm daily|
Mission Dolores Park is a city park in San Francisco, California. It is located two blocks south of Mission Dolores at the western edge of the Mission District. South of the park is a hillside area known as "Dolores Heights," while The Castro neighborhood is located a short distance to the west. Dolores Park is bounded by 18th Street on the north, 20th Street on the south, Dolores Street on the east and Church Street on the west. The northern end of Dolores Park is located directly across the street from Mission High School.
Dolores Park offers several features including many tennis courts, a basketball court, a soccer field, a children's playground, and a dog play area. The southern half of the park is also notable for its views of the Mission district, downtown, the San Francisco Bay and the East Bay. Also notable is the routing of the Muni Metro J-Church streetcar line through the park.
The park lies east of Twin Peaks in the warm and sunny microclimate of the Mission neighborhood. In recent years, the park's popularity among San Franciscans looking for outdoor relaxation and recreation has increased, and as of 2016 it is attracting up to 7,000-10,000 people on a sunny weekend day.
Dolores Park is named for Miguel Hidalgo (El Grito de Dolores), the father of Mexican independence, and the town of Dolores Hidalgo, Guanajuato, Mexico. As a priest in Dolores, it was Hidalgo's ringing of the town's church bell and public cry for freedom that sparked the Mexican revolution. A statue of Hidalgo and replica of the church bell at Dolores Hidalgo were erected in the park to honor the father of the Mexican independence movement, and the town where it all began. In recent years, the park has been frequently and incorrectly referred to as "Mission Dolores Park". The confusion probably stems from the assumptions of many romanticists, that based upon its former and current names of "Mission" and "Dolores" suggests it must've been named after Mission Dolores two blocks to the north.
The park site consists of two plots, Mission Blocks #86 and #87, formerly owned by Congregation Sherith Israel and Congregation Emanu-El and was used as a Jewish cemetery, which became inactive in 1894. The cemetery was moved to San Mateo County when San Francisco land became too valuable for the dead and burial within the city limits was prohibited. The graves were moved to Colma (via Southern Pacific railroad), where they still rest today at Hills of Eternity and Home of Peace Cemeteries.
In 1905, the City of San Francisco bought the land of Dolores Park for $291,350 (equivalent to about $4 million in 2004). In 1906-07, the park served as a refugee camp for more than 1600 families made homeless by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. Camp life after the earthquake ended in the summer of 1908. Some people kept their temporary shacks as houses and a few still survive today scattered across western San Francisco. In 1917, the J-Church streetcar line, which runs along one side of the park, began service.
Dolores Park is served by the Church and 18th Street and Right Of Way/20th St stations of the J Church Muni Metro line. There are six tennis courts and one basketball court; two soccer fields, a playground, and a clubhouse with public restrooms. Dolores Park has been the neighborhood center for cultural, political and sports activities since the 1960s. It has hosted political rallies, festivals, Aztec ceremonial dances, Cinco de Mayo celebrations, San Francisco Mime Troupe performances, and an annual "Hunky Jesus" competition on Easter by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. In 2010, it was announced that the park was to be closed throughout 2011 as part of massive renovations and a construction of a new playground. In spring 2012, the new Helen Diller Playground opened in the park, featuring two large slides, two swing sets, a granite climbing structure, a sand box and climbing nets. The playground is accessible to children with disabilities. As of 2014, there were plans for two off-leash dog play spaces in the park, but these plans were stalled by an environmental appeal from a local resident who felt that the space should be left open to allow more room for children to play, with the goal of reducing childhood obesity. Up to 2016, more than $20 million were spent on the park's first upgrades in six decades, including the installation of additional toilets to address problems with public urination.
Man making large bubbles on field in Dolores Park. View of Mission High School in background
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