Our bloggy hipster friends in the Mission like to make fun of Bernal Heights because of our obsession with lesbianism, dogs, child-rearing, and backyard gardening. That’s fine, because in return we like to make Mission hipsters’ heads explode by announcing: “WE ARE YOUR FUUUUUTTUUUUUURE!” (Johnny O from Burrito Justice pioneered that reply, and it never fails.)
Privately, Bernalwood appreciates those proto-self kids in the Mission, and a geeky interest in local history is a friendly touchstone we all share. So thank you, Uptown Almanac, for turning me on to a series of panorama images taken from the top of Nob Hill in 1878.
The resolution of these photos is amazing, especially when you recall that in 1878, they didn’t even have the Pano app to use with their iPhones! Right? Also amazing is the fact that most all the buildings you see in these photos were destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.
Here’s a detail of the view to the north, looking toward Alcatraz:
Now, let’s look south, to take a closer look at Bernal Heights. Grab the photo, then we’ll zoom, sharpen, and enhance. What do we see???
That first light-grey hill in the background is Bernal Heights. There aren’t many buildings to speak of in 1878 Bernal, nor any trees or large-scale vegetation. But what they did have then that we don’t have now are the two Lost Peaks of Bernal Hill, which are clearly visible just to the east of the present-day summit:
As we learned previously, the Lost Peaks were excavated into oblivion sometime during the 1940s. To reprise:
Bernal Heights had two other major peaks to it, to to the north east of the current peaks – roughly under what is now the flat planes that lie between Peralta, Rutledge and Franconia Streets . Vicky Walker of the Bernal History Project sent me a couple of their aerial survey maps that show that these two peaks were removed sometime between 1938 and 1948. Terry Milne said that they have been trying to find records which usually exist for 1900’s large excavations, about where all that hillside was dumped, but so far to no avail. Note that the peak between Rutledge, Massasoit and Brewster was not just chopped off, but gouged out from the Bernal hillside
Way cool. If you want to explore some more, check out the entire collection of 1878 Panorama Photographs, and prepare to get lost in time.