What a transformation from a neglected, graffiti-tagged shell of a Conservatory to an award-winning jewel.
We were over the moon when the Friends won one of four coveted San Francisco Beautiful Awards for the Conservatory restoration. The Conservatory was also awarded Project of the Year Award 2009 for Historic Restorations (under $5 million). The honor was granted to the SF Department of Public Works by the Northern California chapter of the American Public Works Association covering 11 counties.
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Light floods the interior of the Conservatory, trimmed in salvaged old growth redwood. A custom ringed chandelier is an unforgettable signature element. The solid wood wall in the interior used to lead to the east wing of the Conservatory, demolished in 1978 when a permit was given in error. The Conservatory is officially San Francisco Historical Landmark #78.
Here’s a one-minute video featuring the interior of the Conservatory on Grand Re-Opening Day (to view on a mobile device, … 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