Two local authors take different approaches in handsome new Arcadia Publishing books about San Francisco history that enrich readers’ appreciation of neighborhoods that don’t always attract attention.
In “San Francisco’s Twin Peaks,” Lynn Oakley has a personal view as she covers changes in the area over 150 years, while in “Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset, and Golden Gate Park,” Lorri Ungaretti highlights personalities who made their mark on the outside lands once considered an uninhabitable desert.
Oakley, a longtime Twin Peaks resident, writes, “Historically, Twin Peaks has been both an iconic landmark for San Franciscans and visitors as well as a challenge to city planners and travelers puzzling over how to circumnavigate these two centrally located hills.”
Using maps and photographs from the San Francisco History Center as well as private collections including her own, Oakley explores the fascinating history of the hills. Several before-and-after images dramatically document the major changes made to the area over the last century.
Oakley, whose grandparents were early Twin Peaks settlers, is active in the local music community. She and her husband Roy play viola and violin with The Lamplighters, Villa Sinfonia, the Villa String Quartet, Oakland East Bay, Marin and San Francisco symphonies.
Ungaretti – a San Francisco native, walking tour leader, editor, historian and author of several books on the Sunset and Richmond districts – includes portraits of famous and lesser-known characters in her volume.
Readers likely are familiar with writer William Saroyan, Satanist Anton LaVey, politician Philip Burton, photographer Ansel Adams, actress Barbara Eden, philanthropist Rosalie Stern and architect Henry Doelger.
But they may not know about Mary Ada Williams, the first person to write a book about the Sunset, Lenny Stefanelli, former president of Sunset Scavenger Company; Josephine Cole, the first African-American teacher hired by San Francisco Unified School District; or Jane Cryan, the “earthquake shack lady” known for refurbishing 1906-era cottages in the Sunset.
Handily arranged by themes such as “History Lovers” and “Making a Difference,” “Legendary Locals” also has a useful index, a feature that would benefit all Arcadia books.
San Francisco’s Twin Peaks
By: Lynn Oakley
Legendary Locals of San Francisco’s Richmond, Sunset, d Golden Gate Park
By: Lorri Ungaretti
Published by: Arcadia Publishing