Originally part of Jose de Jesus Noe’s Rancho San Miguel, Glen Park remained wild throughout most of the nineteenth century. Glen Canyon, one of the most prominent geological features in the southern part of the city, was explored by the Spanish and Mexicans and prospected for gold by the Forty-Niners. Noe ran cattle on his Rancho San Miguel, and successive landowners continued in the same tradition. By the 1870s, several major dairies had relocated from Cow Hollow to the lands of the former San Miguel Rancho. The first recorded, non-agricultural use in the area was a gunpowder and dynamite factory named Giant Powder Company, which was located in Glen Canyon. For good reason gunpowder manufacturing was banned from taking place within the built-up portions of San Francisco, but Glen Canyon was isolated enough for such a business. Tragically, concerns about gunpowder manufacturing were well founded; in 1869 the Giant Powder works blew up in what came to be known as the Glen Canyon or the Rock Gulch Explosion. What is now Glen Park was too remote from downtown to make speculative residential development feasible before the 1890s.
Several homesteads related to the dairy operations, nevertheless, began to appear in the 1870s. These early dwellings typically included a variety of rural outbuildings including barns, tank houses and windmills. In addition to the dairies concentrated on the hillsides, there were also several smaller farms that raised hogs, chickens and vegetables for urban markets. Since there were no graded roads in Glen Park, many of the earliest houses did not align with the street patterns later imposed in the 1890s. The oldest known residence in Glen Park is located at 657 Chenery, next door to Bird and Beckett Books. This tiny gable-roofed cottage, which is set back about twenty feet from the street, was built in 1872 by a dairyman named William Tietz. Another early settler in what is now Glen Park was a man named Theodore Verhoeven. He built a residence on the corner of Chenery and Carrie Streets for his family in the early 1880s. When Chenery Street was graded after the 1906 earthquake, Verhoeven had to rebuild his house about thirty feet back from its former location because it was directly in the street. During the earliest phase of the neighborhood’s history, Glen Park was popularly known as Little Switzerland, due to its scenic landscape and the presence of Swiss-owned dairies.
Glen Park is contained by Diamond Heights Blvd to the north, Glen Canyon Park to the west, Bosworth St. and 280 to the south, and fades into Noe Valley to the east. It is at the southern edge of the hills in the interior of the city, to the south of Diamond Heights and Noe Valley, west of Bernal Heights, and east of Glen Canyon Park. The intersection of Diamond Street and Bosworth Street is generally considered the center of the neighborhood, which is the location of the Glen Park BART station.
Resting on a foundation of bedrock, Glen Park's soil is is largely comprised of clay and rocks.
Glen Park lies halfway between the sun belt of the eastern half of the city and the foggy west. Summers in Glen Park are characterized by foggy, cold mornings, sunny, warm early afternoons, and cold, foggy evenings.
Glen Canyon Park is a destination for rock climbers seeking boulding spots within San Francisco. Enter the park through the Elk St. entrance and follow the trail toward the back of the canyon. The bouldering area is at the top of a small set of stairs at the end of the trail. The main area is to the left of the stairs. Problems are demarkated by copious amounts of chalk and skin cells.
Beware! Crash pads are highly recommended for Glen Park boulding; falls are onto jagged boulders below.
Food and Bars
Glen Park has blossomed into a destination for foodies in the past few years. Because of Glen Park's small size (most shops and restaurants are located on Diamond between Chenery and Bosworth) and mom and pop stores, restaurants, and saloons, the neighborhood is often described as having a village atmosphere.
Diamond St. between Bosworth and Chenery
- La Corneta (Taqueria) - long lines, pedesstrian burritos
- Gialina (Pizzaria) - no reservations, but worth the wait
- Glen Park Station (Bar) - A dive, but the only bar in Glen Park.
- Rockit Swirl (Froyo) - Nom!
- Bello Coffee and Tea (Coffee and Tea Dur!) - Good place to listen to the bank next door get robbed.
Diamond St. after Chenery
- Manzoni (Italian) - Manhal, the owner, and often the server and busser, also owns and runs High Grounds, the crepe and coffee house kitty-corner at Chenery and Diamond.
- The Chinese Place - Don't go. Rats.
- Tyger's (Breakfast/Brunch) - again, no reservations, but worth the wait for classic American breakfast/ brunch items.
Chenery after Diamond
- Chenery Park (New American) - Good, reliable dinner spot. Now closed.
- Tataki Canyon (Sushi)
- Higher Grounds (Crepes and Coffee)
- Cheese Boutique (Cheese, Imported Foods, and Deli) - This shop has been a staple in Glen Park for many years.
Glen Canyon Park occupies about 70 acres (28 ha) along a deep canyon adjacent to the Glen Park, Diamond Heights, and Miraloma Park neighborhoods. O’Shaughnessy Hollow is a rugged, undeveloped 3.6 acres (1.5 ha) tract of parkland that lies immediately to the west, and may be considered as an extension of Glen Canyon Park.
The park and hollow offer an experience of San Francisco's diverse terrains as they appeared before the intense development of the region in the late 19th and the 20th Centuries. The park incorporates free-flowing Islais Creek and the associated riparian habitat, an extensive grassland with adjoining trees that supports breeding pairs of red-tailed hawks and great horned owls, striking rock outcrops, and arid patches covered by "coastal scrub" plant communities. In all, about 63 acres (25 ha) of the park and hollow are designated as undeveloped Natural Area. Elevations in Glen Canyon Park range from approximately 225 feet (69 m) above sea level at the south end of the park to 575 feet (175 m) above sea level at the north end and along the east rim of the canyon; the walls of the canyon are extremely steep, with many slopes approaching a length-to-height ratio of 1:1 (100 percent).
Formal recreational facilities in Glen Canyon Park are mostly located at its southern end. These facilities include a community recreation center, ball fields and tennis courts, playgrounds, and a ropes course. The park is also well-used by local rock climbers, who consider it one of the best bouldering sites near San Francisco. An additional building about halfway up the canyon near Islais Creek serves the Silver Tree Day Camp and the Glenridge Cooperative Nursery School.
The park is easily entered at its southeastern corner (end of Bosworth Street). Somewhat further north, there is a wooden stairway leading down into the park (the Sussex Street entrance). There are also trails leading into the park from the Diamond Heights Shopping Center. Of one of these, Joseph Stubbs has written "It is a dramatic, sudden revelation of the park interior from high up which is simply stunning. It occurs midsection of the park behind Diamond Heights Shopping Center and George Christopher Playground."
A branch of Islais Creek (named after the wild cherry islay originates in the canyon. It is the largest remaining creek in San Francisco with public access. The bottom of the canyon, where Islais Creek flows, is irregular but moderate in slope, dropping 350 feet (107 m) over a distance of about 1 mile (1.6 kilometer). The creek is presently surrounded by willow thickets. In earlier times, the creek had an open water channel sustained by a much larger water flow, and was "more of a river than a creek". Urban development has reduced the watershed of Islais Creek by as much as 80 percent. At the southern end of the canyon, Islais Creek enters a culvert which carries it to its exit into San Francisco Bay.
The creek has a meager but year-round natural flow, and the water and resulting vegetation provide a habitat for animals, including skunks, opossums, raccoons, red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks, great horned owls, coyotes, and the rare native San Francisco forktail damselfly, Ischnura gemina. Coyotes are often seen in the early evening hours and residents of Glen Park have reported attacks on their pets.
Glen Canyon Market - Great option for those mildly concerned about the source of their meats, fruits, and veggies.
Perch - OMG its your friends bday and you forgot! Quick!!! To Perch to pick up something cute and oddly fitting (like a microwave-sized brandy snifter).
Bird and Beckett Books - Neighborhood hangout for book and jazz buffs. Weekly wine, cheese, and music parties!