letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Give GG Park’s Patrick Quigley the Recognition He Deserves


In October, 2022, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors resolved to correct a 130-year-old sin: The naming of Stow Lake for a hateful anti-Semite, William Stow.  

I would like to publicly nominate Patrick Quigley, a man whom no one has ever heard of, as the most deserving person for the honor of having this feature of Golden Gate Park renamed in his honor.


Because Quigley is the man to whom we all owe a debt of gratitude when we come to Golden Gate Park seeking peace, serenity and tranquility.

In 1872, when Golden Gate Park was more of a dream than a park, Quigley was one of the first employees. For 40 years, until he died on the job in 1912 at the age of 84, Quigley was the head of the park’s crews of laborers and teamsters, supervising all the work that went into creating and maintaining our urban oasis.  

Working nine-hour days, six days a week, he was a man who spent his life and literally gave his life to give us Golden Gate Park.

Golden Gate Park and John McLaren are synonymous to the point that the park’s popular creation myth has McLaren as the park’s creator, proclaimed a visionary by park historians long after the park had been established, the truth is that when McLaren arrived in 1887, (15 years after Quigley), Quigley and his pick-and-shovel lads had literally laid the groundwork for McLaren’s visions during the previous years under Quigley’s leadership.

If McLaren was the visionary, then Quigley and the workers were the ones who literally did the heavy lifting to move mountains – mountains of sand ­– to bring McLaren’s vision to fruition.

But to no credit.

Patrick died on Nov. 12, 1912, at the age of 84. In appreciation of his 40 years of service, the City gave Patrick’s family the remainder of his November paycheck.

Now, 110 years after Patrick’s death, I propose that we finally give Quigley the long overdue recognition he truly deserves – his name on a feature in his beloved park in which he lived, worked and died.

Angus Macfarlane

Patrick Quigley obituary, SF Examiner, Nov. 16, 1912, page 8.

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