Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it’s no longer there, maybe it’s been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.
Seward Street slides [Photo: teamboost]
Tucked into a mini park in Noe Valley is an impossibly steep set of concrete slides. Over 30 years old, the slides were created by a neighborhood who cared and a 14-year-old's design inspiration.
Back in the 1960s, a vacant lot in Noe Valley was considered for a new 105-unit residential building. The neighborhood, which was mostly full of low-scale houses, began a campaign of petitions and letters to city, state and federal officials, complete with a sit-in during the developer's last day to begin work. The opposition got their way, effectively leading to city legislation requiring a minimum amount of neighborhood open space.
The entire Seward Mini Park [Photo: Google Maps]
Neighborhood kid Kim Clark, then 14, won the "Design the Park" competition with her curved double slide. Kim lived on Seward Street and attended Alvarado School, where local sculptor Ruth Asawa ran a special arts program she was in. Cool side note - Kim got her inspiration from a slide that used to be at Playland Amusement Park out at Ocean Beach (which was torn down in 1972). The park opened in 1973, and is now open to visitors, complete with leftover cardboard boxes to ride the slides on. Just don't try to go after it closes at 5pm - neighbors are vigilant about reporting shenanigans.
· 'Slide Park' Turns 30 [Noe Valley Voice]
· Corwin Community Garden and Seward Mini-Park [Found SF]
· Seward Street Slides: Great and Unusual San Francisco [SF Travel]