Daly City remembers historic namesake in centennial tribute

Daly City will be ringing in much more than a fresh decade when the ball drops this New Year’s Eve.

The year 2011 marks the city’s centennial, and to honor its namesake, John Daly, Daly City historian Bunny Gillespie is organizing a tribute at Daly’s grave in Woodlawn Memorial Park on the morning of Jan. 8.

“I always felt that there wasn’t much of him in Daly City except for the name,” Gillespie said. “There’s no school … and then they closed the library on the location that he had given them in 1920; it seemed to me that he shouldn’t be forgotten.”

Not only did Daly play an integral role in the transformation of San Mateo County Township One into what is now Daly City, he also provided homes to victims of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire.

Back in 1868, 27-year-old Daly purchased a 250-acre cattle ranch in the area that is still known as Top of the Hill in Daly City, Gillespie said. The cattle rancher shared the success of San Mateo County’s largest ranch with neighboring San Francisco, bringing in milk, butter and eggs by the wagon load.

According to Gillespie, his efforts formed the nucleus of what is now the present-day Borden Dairy ­delivery system.

Daly ran the ranch until 1907, the year after the San Francisco earthquake and fire. To help those who lost their homes, he had the property subdivided into home lots rather than selling it as grazing property.

“The guy was a mover and a shaker as far as getting the whole community started; he subsidized a lot of poor people, gave them free places on his ranch to squat until they could get homes, gave them food and money,” Gillespie said. “He was a special gentleman and I felt it was important to start the year with the man that gave the city his name.”

Daly died at the age of 81 on Jan. 1, 1923, but Gillespie said she would prefer not to be in a graveyard on New Year’s Day, so the tribute will take place on the following Saturday, Jan. 8, at 10:30 a.m.

In his retirement years, the cattle rancher became a home gardener, so Gillespie hopes each person will bring a flower to place on Daly’s grave at the tribute — maybe even a Dahlia, Daly’s specialty.

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Organizer Jas Florentino, left, explains the figures which represent 350 kidnapped Africans first sold as slaves in the United States in 1619 in sculptor Dana King’s “Monumental Reckoning.” The installation is in the space of the former Francis Scott Key monument in Golden Gate Park. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What a reparations program would look like in The City

‘If there’s any place we can do it, it’s San Francisco’

Officer Joel Babbs at a protest outside the Hall of Justice in 2017 (Bay City News file photo)
The strange and troubling story of Joel Babbs: What it tells us about the SFPD

The bizarre and troubling career of a whistle-blowing San Francisco police officer… Continue reading

Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks at a COVID-19 update at the City College of San Francisco mass vaccination site in April. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Gavin Newsom under COVID: The governor dishes on his pandemic life

By Emily Hoeven CalMatters It was strange, after 15 months of watching… Continue reading

People fish at a dock at Islais Creek Park on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Islais Creek tells us about rising sea levels in San Francisco

Islais Creek is an unassuming waterway along San Francisco’s eastern industrial shoreline,… Continue reading

Deputy public defender Chris Garcia outside the Hall of Justice on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
As pandemic wanes, SF public defender hopes clients will get ‘their day in court’

Like other attorneys in San Francisco, Deputy Public Defender Chris Garcia has… Continue reading

Most Read