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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  • Talking About Water. February 11, 1894
    Taxpayers Discuss Spring Valley's Shortcomings.

    The Holly Park and Mission-street Improvement Club last night considered the pquestion of water supply. The inability of the householders of Holly Park to obtain sufficient water for domestic purposes was dilated upon, and the necessity of having a reservoir built at a higher elevation mentioned. No water can be obtained in the second stories of dwellings in some places, while in other localities now water can be drawn above the basements. On various occasions the water company has been petitioned to remedy the grievance, but has thus far refused to build a higher storage supply, owing to the expense and the meager returns for such an additional outlay.

    Chairman John J. Gilmore stated that the Supervisors have been asked to request the Spring Valley Company to build a reservoir at a sufficient elevation to supply the higher levels, including the Holly Park and Bernal Heights districts. The Supervisors have also been asked to make provision, when fixing the rates during the present month, in such a way as to provide the funds needed by the water company to erect the desired reservoir.

    The application of Spring Valley for a deed of sufficient land owned by the city above the Fairmount tract to construct the new reservoir was also spoken of. Several of the memberes declared themselves opposed to the Supervisors making a gift of public land to a corporation and then also permitting them to collect increased rates from the taxpayers to pay for the private improvements that will inure to the benefit of the water company.

    A motion was finally adopted indorsing the application for the maintenance of the existing rates in consideration of the promised improvements togive the Holly Park consumers an adequate supply. A committee was also appointed to wait on the Supervisors at the next meeting of the Water Committee and make known the position of the taxpayeres.

    The question of car facilities was also considered. The failure of the Mission-street line to operate their electric system and give the citizens in the suburban districts the car service for which they are clamoring was deplored. Mayor Ellert was severely scored by P.J. Cody and others for his course in retarding improvements and was declared an obstructionist.