Welcome to Buena Vista
Buena Vista Park was established in 1870 under the same law that established Golden Gate Park. At the time, the land had been long occupied by pre-emption claims but remained undeveloped save for a few scattered farm homes. Compensation was paid to landowners whose land was removed from the park. The city's Park Commissioners permitted the park to stay in its natural state for several decades until the neighborhood grew more inhabited. Thus, the choice to purchase land for Buena Vista Park was foresightful.
The park's primary evolution occurred as a result of Haight Street's designation as a thoroughfare. This grading created a cliff along the northern border of Buena Vista Park, and after heavy rains, the soil would tumble off the hillside onto the street. The earth was subsequently taken away to be used in Golden Gate Park's gardens.
According to a plaque in the park, the park was developed in the 1890s. The concrete staircases and paved walks in the park, on the other hand, appear to come from a later period. In 1895, a newspaper article described the park as "neglected and desolate," adding that "no one would think it is a public park now." Another 1896 story claims that residents formed the Park Hill Improvement Club to lobby the Park Commission for improvements. According to the newspaper, "the Park in its current state is regarded as a disgrace to the city." It is a desolate tract of land covering thirty-six acres and densely forested with scrub oaks.
According to what is known, the Park Commission did not solicit $25,000 from the city supervisors to create the park until 1910. Finally, in 1912, work began and was finished according to a design devised by Parks Superintendent John McLaren. This $15,000 project includes grading the hill's eastern slope, constructing a driveway to the summit, enlarging an esplanade there, grading a new walkway from Buena Vista Avenue to the summit, constructing a staircase from a sidewalk to the top of a terrace, and planting hundreds of trees. In April 1913, this piece was properly dedicated. The next year, the Haight and Ashbury District Improvement Association requested an additional $25,000 for renovations to Buena Vista Park. It is possible that the steps leading into the park and the park's paths were constructed in stages.