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From Bison to Archery: Mapping 25 Secrets of Golden Gate Park

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Golden Gate Park is San Francisco's grand dame of outdoor spaces, clocking in at just over 1,000 acres. Carved out of sand dunes in the 1870s in an unincorporated area west of San Francisco's then-current borders, the park draws millions of people every year. Here now, Curbed presents a map of 25 of the best features Golden Gate Park has to offer, some super famous and some hidden treasures. This list is by no means comprehensive, so leave your favorite spot in the comments.

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1. Golden Gate Park Carousel

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198 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA
(415) 831-2700
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There have been 3 carousels since the children's playground opened in 1888, but the current one a 1914 version built by the Herschell-Spillman Company. The carousel appeared as one of the main sights at the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island. It was restored in 1984.

2. Sharon Art Studio

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The Sharon Building as built in 1888 as a canteen for children and mothers visiting the Golden Gate Park Children's Quarters, and today operates as the Sharon Art Studio community art center.

3. Foresters of America WWI memorial fountain

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A marble and bronze statue commemorating a benevolent secret society during WWI, the fountain was built in 1927 to serve both people and horses.

4. Conservatory of Flowers

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100 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 831-2090
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As California Historical Landmark #841 and SF Landmark #50, conservatory was built in 1879 and has the honor of being California's first municipal greenhouse.

5. McLaren Lodge

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501 Stanyan St
San Francisco, CA 94117

SF Landmark #175 was built in 1896 built as the offices of the Park Commission, as well as the person home of the Park Superintendent, John McLaren for 47 years. Today the building serves as the headquarters of the Rec and Park Department.

6. Lawn Bowlling Club

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Formed in 1901, the Lawn Bowling Club is the oldest lawn bowling club in the United States. The clubhouse was added in 1915.

7. Brown Gate (Cougar and Bear)

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Fulton Street & 8th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

Sculptor M. Earl Cummings created the bronze animals that flank the park entrance in 1908.

8. Shakespeare Garden

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Martin Luther King Junior Dr
San Francisco, CA 94121

Dating back to 1928, the Shakespeare Gardens incorporate plants and flowers mentioned within the works of William Shakespeare.

9. Portals of the Past at Lloyd Lake

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When the 1906 Earthquake and Fire destroyed all of the A.N. Towne mansion, all that remained was the front entranceway. It was later removed and brought over to Golden Gate Park as a memorial to the disaster.

10. SF Model Yacht Club WC

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The San Francisco Model Yacht Club dates back to 1898 and is believed to be the oldest such organization in the United States. The City built the clubhouse in 1937, which contains one of the world's largest vintage free-sailing-model collections.

11. Music Concourse

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Concourse Dr
San Francisco, CA 94122

The main portion of San Francisco Landmark #249, the Spreckels Temple of Music was constructed in 1899 with money from sugar magnate Claus Spreckels and designed by the Reid Brothers.

12. Bison Paddock

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Chain of Lakes Dr E at John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94122

In 1890, a bison cow and bison bull were transported from Wyoming and Kansas to Golden Gate Park. More were added, and the herd at one point reached up to 30.

13. Japanese Tea Garden

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75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118
(415) 752-4227
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The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. When the fair closed, Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and superintendent John McLaren reached a gentleman’s agreement, allowing Mr. Hagiwara to create and maintain a permanent Japanese style garden as a gift for posterity.

14. Apple Juice Press Statue

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The bronze sculpture by Thomas Shields was on display during the Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. People think it's a monument to wine making, when it's actually depicting apple cider pressing.

15. Sphinx

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Golden Gate Park, Music Concourse
San Francisco, CA 94122
(415) 252-2590
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A pair of concrete sphinxes replaceed the original black granite sculptures from the Egyptian revival Fine Arts Building of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. At the fair’s end, the building served as the first de Young Museum, but the granite sphinxes were removed by 1912. New concrete sphinxes based on the initial plaster maquettes were placed at the site.

16. Polo Fields

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Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94122

The Golden Gate Park Stadium had a velodrome constructed for bike racing in 1906, which later became known as Polo Field.

17. Pioneer Log Cabin

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2 Stow Lake Dr
San Francisco, CA

The Pioneer Log Cabin was built as a meeting house for the Association of Pioneer Women of California in 1911. It is constructed of unpeeled redwood logs from Humboldt County and was restored in 1995.

18. Golden Gate Anglers Club

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1900 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club was organized in June 1933 as an offshoot of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club. The San Francisco Fly Casting Club, the second oldest casting club in the U.S., was founded in 1894, when the first tournament was held as Stow Lake. The WPA constructed the present Anglers' lodge and casting ponds in 1938.

19. Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden

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John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94121

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (grandmother of the existing queen, Beatrix) donated the Dutch Windmill structure to the city in 1902. The tulip garden is named in her honor.

20. Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant

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1000 Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94121
(415) 386-8439
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Beach Chalet was designed by Willis Polk and opened in 1925 with a lounge and changing rooms on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor. The murals, mosaics, and wood carvings were funded later by the WPA.

21. Bercut Equitation Field

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The Bercut Equitation Field consists of a fenced arena with small grandstand and judging booth used for training of horses and riders. It is not known exactly when this use started at this site, sometime after 1935.

22. Murphy Windmill & Millwright Cottage

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Conceived by John McLaren, Adolph B. Spreckels and Reuben Lloyd, the two windmills standing near the Pacific Ocean in the western corners of Golden Gate Park were built at the beginning of the 20th Century to pump water into the park's irrigation system. Built in 1903 as the residence for the caretaker of the windmill, the Cottage was recently restored and at one point was eyed for a restaurant tenant.

23. Archery Range (Golden Gate Park)

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944 47th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

The only archery range in the city is free and offers 9 target bales. Shooters are responsible for furnishing their own targets and equipment, but can rent from the nearby San Francisco Archery Shop.

24. Strybing Arboretum

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Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 55 acre site with more than 7,500 varieties of flora from across the world. It is the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

25. Stow Lake

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Stow Lake Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

Stow Lake is a manmade lake dating back to 1893, popular for its rental pedal boats, 10-foot artificial waterfall, Chinese pagoda, and rustic bridges.

1. Golden Gate Park Carousel

198 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA

There have been 3 carousels since the children's playground opened in 1888, but the current one a 1914 version built by the Herschell-Spillman Company. The carousel appeared as one of the main sights at the 1939 World’s Fair on Treasure Island. It was restored in 1984.

198 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA

2. Sharon Art Studio

San Francisco, CA 94117

The Sharon Building as built in 1888 as a canteen for children and mothers visiting the Golden Gate Park Children's Quarters, and today operates as the Sharon Art Studio community art center.

3. Foresters of America WWI memorial fountain

San Francisco, CA 94117

A marble and bronze statue commemorating a benevolent secret society during WWI, the fountain was built in 1927 to serve both people and horses.

4. Conservatory of Flowers

100 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

As California Historical Landmark #841 and SF Landmark #50, conservatory was built in 1879 and has the honor of being California's first municipal greenhouse.

100 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

5. McLaren Lodge

501 Stanyan St, San Francisco, CA 94117

SF Landmark #175 was built in 1896 built as the offices of the Park Commission, as well as the person home of the Park Superintendent, John McLaren for 47 years. Today the building serves as the headquarters of the Rec and Park Department.

501 Stanyan St
San Francisco, CA 94117

6. Lawn Bowlling Club

San Francisco, CA 94117

Formed in 1901, the Lawn Bowling Club is the oldest lawn bowling club in the United States. The clubhouse was added in 1915.

7. Brown Gate (Cougar and Bear)

Fulton Street & 8th Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94118

Sculptor M. Earl Cummings created the bronze animals that flank the park entrance in 1908.

Fulton Street & 8th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94118

8. Shakespeare Garden

Martin Luther King Junior Dr, San Francisco, CA 94121

Dating back to 1928, the Shakespeare Gardens incorporate plants and flowers mentioned within the works of William Shakespeare.

Martin Luther King Junior Dr
San Francisco, CA 94121

9. Portals of the Past at Lloyd Lake

San Francisco, CA 94121

When the 1906 Earthquake and Fire destroyed all of the A.N. Towne mansion, all that remained was the front entranceway. It was later removed and brought over to Golden Gate Park as a memorial to the disaster.

10. SF Model Yacht Club WC

San Francisco, CA 94121

The San Francisco Model Yacht Club dates back to 1898 and is believed to be the oldest such organization in the United States. The City built the clubhouse in 1937, which contains one of the world's largest vintage free-sailing-model collections.

11. Music Concourse

Concourse Dr, San Francisco, CA 94122

The main portion of San Francisco Landmark #249, the Spreckels Temple of Music was constructed in 1899 with money from sugar magnate Claus Spreckels and designed by the Reid Brothers.

Concourse Dr
San Francisco, CA 94122

12. Bison Paddock

Chain of Lakes Dr E at John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94122

In 1890, a bison cow and bison bull were transported from Wyoming and Kansas to Golden Gate Park. More were added, and the herd at one point reached up to 30.

Chain of Lakes Dr E at John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94122

13. Japanese Tea Garden

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

The oldest public Japanese garden in the United States was originally created as a “Japanese Village” exhibit for the 1894 California Midwinter International Exposition. When the fair closed, Japanese landscape architect Makoto Hagiwara and superintendent John McLaren reached a gentleman’s agreement, allowing Mr. Hagiwara to create and maintain a permanent Japanese style garden as a gift for posterity.

75 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118

14. Apple Juice Press Statue

San Francisco, CA 94122

The bronze sculpture by Thomas Shields was on display during the Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. People think it's a monument to wine making, when it's actually depicting apple cider pressing.

15. Sphinx

Golden Gate Park, Music Concourse, San Francisco, CA 94122

A pair of concrete sphinxes replaceed the original black granite sculptures from the Egyptian revival Fine Arts Building of the California Midwinter International Exposition of 1894. At the fair’s end, the building served as the first de Young Museum, but the granite sphinxes were removed by 1912. New concrete sphinxes based on the initial plaster maquettes were placed at the site.

Golden Gate Park, Music Concourse
San Francisco, CA 94122

16. Polo Fields

Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94122

The Golden Gate Park Stadium had a velodrome constructed for bike racing in 1906, which later became known as Polo Field.

Golden Gate Park
San Francisco, CA 94122

17. Pioneer Log Cabin

2 Stow Lake Dr, San Francisco, CA

The Pioneer Log Cabin was built as a meeting house for the Association of Pioneer Women of California in 1911. It is constructed of unpeeled redwood logs from Humboldt County and was restored in 1995.

2 Stow Lake Dr
San Francisco, CA

18. Golden Gate Anglers Club

1900 John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA

The Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club was organized in June 1933 as an offshoot of the San Francisco Fly Casting Club. The San Francisco Fly Casting Club, the second oldest casting club in the U.S., was founded in 1894, when the first tournament was held as Stow Lake. The WPA constructed the present Anglers' lodge and casting ponds in 1938.

1900 John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA

19. Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden

John F Kennedy Dr, San Francisco, CA 94121

Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (grandmother of the existing queen, Beatrix) donated the Dutch Windmill structure to the city in 1902. The tulip garden is named in her honor.

John F Kennedy Dr
San Francisco, CA 94121

20. Beach Chalet Brewery & Restaurant

1000 Great Hwy, San Francisco, CA 94121

Beach Chalet was designed by Willis Polk and opened in 1925 with a lounge and changing rooms on the first floor and a restaurant on the second floor. The murals, mosaics, and wood carvings were funded later by the WPA.

1000 Great Hwy
San Francisco, CA 94121

21. Bercut Equitation Field

California

The Bercut Equitation Field consists of a fenced arena with small grandstand and judging booth used for training of horses and riders. It is not known exactly when this use started at this site, sometime after 1935.

22. Murphy Windmill & Millwright Cottage

San Francisco, CA

Conceived by John McLaren, Adolph B. Spreckels and Reuben Lloyd, the two windmills standing near the Pacific Ocean in the western corners of Golden Gate Park were built at the beginning of the 20th Century to pump water into the park's irrigation system. Built in 1903 as the residence for the caretaker of the windmill, the Cottage was recently restored and at one point was eyed for a restaurant tenant.

23. Archery Range (Golden Gate Park)

944 47th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94121

The only archery range in the city is free and offers 9 target bales. Shooters are responsible for furnishing their own targets and equipment, but can rent from the nearby San Francisco Archery Shop.

944 47th Ave
San Francisco, CA 94121

24. Strybing Arboretum

San Francisco, CA 94122

Strybing Arboretum and Botanical Gardens is a 55 acre site with more than 7,500 varieties of flora from across the world. It is the largest of its kind on the West Coast.

25. Stow Lake

Stow Lake Dr, San Francisco, CA 94118

Stow Lake is a manmade lake dating back to 1893, popular for its rental pedal boats, 10-foot artificial waterfall, Chinese pagoda, and rustic bridges.

Stow Lake Dr
San Francisco, CA 94118