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Westwood Park Gateways And Pillars May Be Deemed Historic
San Francisco lawmakers will take up the landmark designation for Westwood Park’s entrances later this month.
Update: The Westwood Park pillars and gateways were designated historic landmarks. Supervisors voted 10-1 to approve the item, with Supervisor Dean Preston in dissent.
The gateways to Westwood Park may soon be protected historic landmarks.
The Land Use and Transportation Committee of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors moved forward a proposal Monday to designate the gateways and pillars as historic landmarks. In a twist, the item was approved without recommendation over the residence park’s racist past.
The gateways and pillars are located at three intersections: Miramar Avenue and Monterey Boulevard, Miramar and Ocean avenues and Judson Avenue and Frida Kahlo Way. Not as numerous or distinct as the pillars of Ingleside Terraces, they are still architecturally striking.
“We have very few landmarks in District 7 despite many charming historic elements that make neighborhoods like Westwood Park architecturally unique,” said District 7 Supervisor Myrna Meglar, who sponsored the ordinance and chairs the committee.
The gateways and pillars were designed by well-known architect Louis Christian Mullgardt for Westwood Park developers Archibald S. Baldwin and Josiah Howell and built in 1916, according to a report prepared by the Planning Department.
Head of the nonprofit San Francisco Heritage and The Ingleside Light’s former neighborhood history columnist Woody LaBounty wrote in a 2013 two-part series about the birth of the residence park that its developers wanted to provide more amenities, such as ornamental lamp posts as well as the gateways and pillars.
The developers also required legal binding obligations written into property deeds mandating that people of color could not own homes in the residence parks as many developers did in the early 20th century, the Planning Department noted in its report.
One committee member was disturbed by the residence park’s racist past.
Supervisor Dean Preston said that he could not support the proposal over concerns about the “racial exclusions” that the gateways symbolized.
“It is a challenge for me to reconcile both the potential of architectural significance, which I don't think is in dispute, with a gateway […] that served as a practical matter or symbolically as a barrier to people of color being part of the community,” Preston said.
Melgar said the neighborhood is diverse now, with at least 30% of residents being Chinese, homes are owned by people that look like her own family and former District 7 Supervisor Norman Yee lives there.
Residents, including representatives from the Westwood Park Association, are supportive of the landmark designation.
“The designation of Westwood Park pillars will be a proud reminder of San Francisco’s history and serve as an honorable landmark in District 7,” said Carol Karahadian, who sits on the association’s board.
The Historic Preservation Committee approved the landmarking designation at its Nov. 15 meeting. The proposal will go before the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 23.