Historical Photos

Historical Photo: Sweeny/Sweeney Observatory

The Sweeny Observatory once graced the top of Strawberry Hill at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. This odd amphitheater was the bequest of Thomas U. Sweeney (although his name was misspelled on the structure), and it was the first structure to bear the name of its donor – a complete reversal of park policy to keep the park rustic and free from self-promotion. Dedicated in 1891, it was a casualty of the 1906 earthquake and fire. But, if you hike to the top and look closely, you will still see remnants of its red-tinted concrete pieces today. Photo courtesy of a private collector/Western Neighborhoods Project/OpenSFHistory.

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