What a long haul and transformation from a neglected, graffiti-tagged shell of a Conservatory to an award-winning jewel. We couldn’t have been more pleased when the Conservatory won Project of the Year Award 2009 for Historic Restorations (under $5 million). The award was granted to the SF Department of Public Works by the Northern California chapter of the American Public Works Association covering 11 counties. And that’s not all: the Conservatory and Friends group were subsequently awarded one of … Read More
Soon after the Friends organized, neighbor Roger Pacheco told us he had been given the old finial for safe keeping some twenty years ago when the Conservatory underwent a much smaller set of stabilization repairs. He had been using it as a doorstop in his garage. We were able to have the old finial replicated in new wood and covered in copper. A brave man scaled the exterior and gently set the new finial in place in October 2009.… Read More
The Grand Re-Opening Day (December 5, 2009) was more wonderful that the Friends dared dream. Over 400 people showed up. We made that morning’s San Francisco Chronicle with a photo on the front page, the sun shone, bagpipes played, the mayor and dignitaries came, family and friends were there, the ribbon was cut, tours were given, the high-tea spread was bountiful, kids made souvenir buttons, and the community came together.
The Friends of Sunnyside Conservatory began with a few neighborhood residents, each discovering the Conservatory and having that Alice-in-Wonderland feeling of entering another world.
In 1999, with a notice in the Sunnyside Neighborhood Association newsletter, Arnold Levine officially organized the group as the Friends. He and Stacy Garfinkel have served as Friends’ Co-Chairs since the group’s founding. Our advocacy + stewardship success could never have happened without a dedicated steering committee: Chester Harstough, Andrea O’Leary, Sally Ross, pro-bono landscape architect … Read More
The story of the restoration interweaves the Friends’ decade of advocacy, pilot programming, and inventive, can-do spirit with the Merralls’s original vision.
Friends had to build a coalition of many constituencies (including immediate neighbors, area residents, city employees, elected officials, the design team) and navigate the inevitable trying moments, delays, and bureaucracy that come along with a large public works project.
We had to educate ourselves about the design process–from the drafting of the conceptual design (drawn by Vera Gates), … Read More