Bernal History Project

Bernal Heights is a hilltop village, tucked away in the southern part of San Francisco. Freeways and urban thoroughfares now bound a neighborhood once defined by the swamps and creeks of the original Mexican land grant. From the 1860s legend of Widow O'Brien's cow to the current fight over the preservation of the branch library's murals, residents have tirelessly guarded and recorded their environment. Bernal is diverse, vibrant, and still evolving.

Bernal Heights from 26th and Fair Oaks 1921 - David Gallagher

This site aims to provide a solid basis in researching the neighborhood. Browse the links, subscribe to our newsletter, and contact us if you want to know more about anything Bernal-related not shown here.

Historic Bernal News
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  • Tyrrell Held For Trial September 24, 1898
    Assaulted the Owner of a Bernal Heights Goat.

    Frank Tyrrell, chief deputy keeper of the Pound, must answer in the Superior Court to a charge of assaulting Gottlieb Katz with a deadly weapon on the 24th of August. He was held for trial by Judge Mogan yesterday under $500 bonds. It is only a week ago that Tyrrell was fined $200 for using vulgar language in a Fifth-street market while a number of women were present.

    His much more serious offense grew out of a raid which was instituted on the goats of Bernal Heights on the day the assault was committed. Tyrrell and Deputy Poundkeeper Robling led the goat hunt. Bernal Heights is the habitat of a large band of goats, most of which are little better than wild. In driving the animals together for transmission to the Pound Tyrrell, it is alleged, made no distinction between estrays and tame family goats.

    The goat of Gottlieb Katz, which has become domesticated to such a degree that the young Katzes use him for a draught animal, was on Courtland avenue outside the Katz residence when Tyrrell and his men came along, rounding up about twenty other goats. They added the Katz goat to their captives, but a moment later Katz cut out his particular goat and drove him into the front yard. There the goat struggled to get free and join the procession outside.

    "I was holding my goat by the horns," testified Gottleib Katz yesterday in court, "when Tyrrell ran into the yard and hit me on the head with his revolver. The goat got excited when he heard the other goats go blatting up the street, but he wasn't doing any harm to anybody. Tyrrell just saw that I was keeping him away from the goats on the street, and got so mad that he came back to my yard and, after hitting me with the pistol, so that I had to let go of the horns, he took the goat away."

    Tyrrell's defense was a denial. He said that while engaged in the goat drive the whole neighborhood rose up against him and battered his party with stones. He intimated that one of the missiles might have struck Katz, but Judge Mogan did not accept his theory and held him for trial.