A surprising shock of green occupies an empty lot nestled between two large buildings on a residential block of Hayes Valley. The Page and Laguna Mini Park, an oddity in a city that values every square inch of land, offers a quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle of commuters.
The small park contains a community learning garden for the students of John Muir Elementary School, benches for anyone to enjoy, apple trees, and lush vibrant landscaping maintained by volunteers.
With other similar lots of land in the neighborhood being snatched up for housing, we were curious how and when this little park came to be.
The answer dates back to the 1970s. According to SF Parks Alliance, a Victorian home sat on the lot from 1910 to 1969. The city ended up purchasing the land and the house, which was in an advanced state of disrepair, was demolished. In its place, they built a mini park—a trend at the time (similar to today's hot parklet movement).
The park was completed in 1972, complete with a picnic area, a few climbing structures for children, and three statues of mustang horses.
Despite its lofty beginnings, over the next two decades the park became a haven for drug use, homeless encampments and prostitution, which together pushed the facilities into disrepair. The park was renovated in the late 1990s thanks to the work of the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Parks Group, and has remained largely unchanged through today.
If mini parks are now your jam, check out some other ones throughout the city. The Seward Mini Park (home of the famous slides) is located on Seward near Douglass. Nob Hill is home to the Washington and Hyde Mini Park, and the Coleridge Mini Park is in Bernal. A full list of mini parks can be found on the Rec & Parks website.
Do you have anything you consider "secretly awesome" in your neighborhood? Send us a tip!
Never miss a story.
Subscribe today to get Hoodline delivered straight to your inbox.