‘A Unique Hidden Gem:’ Ingleside Terraces Sundial Put Forth For Historic Landmark Designation

The Ingleside Terraces Sundial is under consideration for historic landmark status. Image/Yelp Nadine C.

INGLESIDE, San Francisco — Seventeen feet high, 28 feet long and 34 feet diameter, the Ingleside Terraces Sundial is now in the process of becoming an official city landmark.

San Francisco supervisors approved a resolution last week to initiate the landmark designation process for the working sundial and park located at Entrada Court in the Ingleside Terraces residence park. Board President Norman Yee, who represents District 7, was the main sponsor of the resolution. 

San Francisco Heritage’s Woody LaBounty, author of a book about Ingleside Terraces, spoke about the sundial’s history at the board’s Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting on Dec. 7. LaBounty, a one-time columnist for The Ingleside Light, said Ingleside Terraces came about when architect Joseph Leonard purchased the land.

“He purchased what had been formerly a horse racing track and an earthquake refugee camp to develop a master plan residents park with winding streets, ornamental gates and landscaped community spaces,” LaBounty said.

As other residential parks were emerging in places like in Forest Hill and Saint Francis Woods in 1913, Leonard wanted to add a new element to Ingleside Terraces to compete with other residence parks and so became the circular park and its sundial.

A dedication ceremony took place on Oct. 13, 1913 that was orchestrated by Leonard, which included electrical lights, music, dance and allegorical plays starring neighborhood children. There was even a procession for the first two children born to Ingleside Terraces homeowners. Each newborn was in a baby carriage being pulled by a stork.

The sundial and park have been host to community meetings and celebrations through the years and even a climbing structure for kids.

“Since its creation the park and the sundial have been a playground and informal climbing structure and slide for Ingleside Terraces children,” LaBounty said.

The sundial no longer has a reflecting pool with a fountain featuring seals but its columns that represent a different classical order — Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Tuscan — remain.

A urn sits on top of each column with individual friezes representing the four times of the day, the four seasons and the four stages of adulthood, according to LaBounty.

Yee described the sundial as a quirky and majestic gem in the west side of the city. 

“I know some of you have not had the pleasure of seeing it in person,” Yee said to his colleagues on the board. “So I hope that you can come out for a future visit one day, and get some fresh air.”

The Ingleside Terraces Homes Association has acted as volunteer stewards in taking care of the space, Yee said.

Mark Scardina, longtime president of the Ingleside Terraces Homes Association, wrote a letter to the supervisors in favor of submitting an application to designate the sundial and park as a city landmark. 

“Whether seen from ground level or overhead, the sundial and its associated park are truly a unique hidden gem in our equally unique and noted city,” Scardina wrote. “On this basis, we request that you approve the Ingleside Terraces Sundial landmark application.”

The San Francisco Planning Department website says the landmark designation process includes a number of hearings at the Historic Preservation Committee, the Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors. It requires a majority vote by supervisors to approve a landmark.


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