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Then & Now: Laguna Honda Hospital

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Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.

[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Alex Bevk] Looming at the base of Twin Peaks facing the Forest Hill Muni station, Laguna Honda Hospital is a sprawling pre-war complex dedicated to serving seniors and adults with disabilities. The Hospital's history dates back to the founding of the city, long before it's current building was constructed in 1924.


Laguna Honda first opened in 1867 as an almshouse for the Gold Rush pioneers (the ones who didn't strike it rich, anyway). The city constructed a four story wood frame building on the old San Miguel Rancho west of Twin Peaks. The large rancho site had a natural spring that fed a deep lagoon, hence the name Laguna Honda, and the almshouse grew its own food and livestock on the 87 acres. A 24-bed hospital was opened during a smallpox epidemic in 1868, and was replaced by a small asylum two years later. Buildings continued to be added to the site, and by 1906 it served as a care facility for Earthquake refugees. A new pavilion-style building was constructed, and dedicated by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909. A large permanent care building known as Clarendon Hall was built in 1910.

[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Alex Bevk] Mayor James "Sunny Jim" Rolph officiated the groundbreaking of the Spanish-Revival style buildings that would become Laguna Honda Hospital in 1924. Designed by John Reid Jr, the building features eight "Florence Nightengale"-style wings each ending with circular bays, tile roofs, and an inner courtyard. In 2008 Clarendon Hall was demolished for the new Laguna Honda Hospital buildings designed by Anshen+Allen Architects and Stantec Architecture, though they are not really visible from the road with all the tree coverage.

New Laguna Honda Hospital building [Photo: San Francisco Department of Public Health]

· Our History [Laguna Honda]
· 375 Laguna Honda Blvd [SF Planning]