A loving look S.F.’s pre-festival outside lands

COURTESY  PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

“Gone but not forgotten” is the theme of “Growing Up in San Francisco's Western Neighborhoods: Boomer Memories from Kezar Stadium to Zim’s Hamburgers,” a book of charming vignettes that capture a time and place as rapidly shifting as the sand dunes that once covered the outside lands.

The volume collects columns Frank Dunnigan wrote for the Western Neighborhoods Project, a group dedicated to preserving the history of San Francisco's west side co-founded by Woody LaBounty, who wrote the foreword.

Although it focuses mostly on the Richmond and Sunset, the book references most of San Francisco’s 46.9 square miles and, indeed, America’s past. Chapter 1, “Unspoken Facts of Life,” begins with the comment, “The bread is never fresh on Wednesdays” and ends with “The weather was usually foggy.”

Dunnigan, who grew up on 18th Avenue near Vicente Street, addresses dining out, shopping, churchgoing, movies and other quotidian activities, as well as birthdays, holidays and vacations, and newsworthy events and local personalities. He describes parks and playgrounds, delis and bakeries, and lists schools.

Remember Dekker & Sons Sporting Goods? The El Rey theater? The Hot House at Playland at the Beach? Real estate also is covered, including architects Henry Doelger and Oliver Rousseau, who built many houses in the Sunset.

Knowledgeable and personal, Dunnigan begins the “School Days” chapter: “Sometimes my thoughts drift back to my own school days in the Outside Lands, beginning with Mrs. Beckerman’s afternoon kindergarten class at Parkside School in the fall of 1957.”

Illustrations and black-and-white photos – including reproductions of brochures, Muni tickets, maps and other vintage ephemera, much from Jack Tillmany’s extensive collection – add oomph.

An index and bibliography (listing books, Internet sites, archives, alumni newsletters and newspapers) and four undated published periodical articles round out the text. It would have been nice to know when the pieces were written or posted, but that’s a minor point. Old timers and new residents in the area are likely to embrace this evocative trip down memory lane.

BOOK NOTES

Growing Up in San Francisco's Western Neighborhoods: Boomer Memories from Kezar Stadium to Zim’s Hamburgers

By: Frank Dunnigan

Published by: The History Press

Pages: 188

Price: $19.99

artsbooksBoomer Memories from Kezar Stadium to Zim’s HamburgersFrank DunniganGrowing Up in San Francisco's Western Neighborhoods

Just Posted

Epic Cleantec uses soil mixed with treated wastewater solids to plants at the company’s demonstration garden in San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of Epic Cleantec)
This startup watches what SF flushes – and grows food with it

Epic Cleantec saves millions of gallons of water a year, and helps companies adhere to drought regulations

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler congratulates San Francisco Giants first baseman Darin Ruf (33) in the dug out after hitting a home-run in the 5th inning against the Washington Nationals at Oracle Park on July 9, 2021. (Christopher Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
How Gabe Kapler sets the tone for Giants success with strategy, mindset

‘There’s no doubt in my mind that he’s the hands-down manager of the year’

The Kimpton Buchanan Hotel in Japantown could become permanent supportive housing if The City can overcome neighborhood pushback. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco leaders must reject NIMBY discrimination against homeless housing

By San Francisco Examiner Editorial Board “We support supportive housing. But just… Continue reading

The 49ers, opening with a win against the Lions in week one, play the Eagles. (Courtesy 49ers)
NFL Week 2 predictions: Our picks against the spread

By Emmanuel Morgan New York Times Last-second field goals. Teams flooding the… Continue reading

“Ticket to Ride,” on view at RVCA’s Haight-Ashbury store, is made up of artistic renderings of Muni tickets. (Courtesy Optimist Williams)
Celebrating pre-tech SF through Muni transfer tickets

‘Ticket to Ride’ exhibit presents public transit as art and equalizer

Most Read