Bernal Heights History Day

By Terry Milne

This year's Bernal Heights History Day is scheduled for Saturday, August 29, from 11 am to 3 p.m. on the north side of the hill at St. Anthony School, located at Cesar Chavez and Folsom streets. A substantial crowd of longtime residents and lots of newcomers is expected to show and compare stories old and new about the Bernal Heights neighborhood, and about people and places no longer around.

Bernal Heights History Day offers the opportunity for the neighborhood to come together, both to observe a notable occasion and to have a marvelous time celebrating our history, our neighbors, and ourselves.

Scheduled for the event is a slide show hosted by Terry Milne that encompasses the parks, open spaces, and gardens the community has fought to establish and preserve from as early as 1894 (a neighborhood attitude one could call environmental justice).

The standard displays of history posters and scrapbooks will be there, and a panel of community old-timers will share stories. A musical interlude by Nancy Schimmel will liven the gathering, and, as usual, refreshments will be available for all in attendance. And, at the end, a walking tour of Precita Valley history for those who prefer their history accompanied by some fresh summer air.

Bernal History Project intends to scan any photos or images visitors care to bring, and record for the BHP archive any historical factoids visitors care to share. Contributions from many Bernal Heights residents past and present, have helped to tell the vibrant and still-evolving story of our hilltop neighborhood, both in our Bernal history book and the expanding Bernal archive.

Of course, the show is free. This event is the successor to the history days held for several years in the basement of the Bernal Heights Library (back in those dim long-ago days when our community had a working library) and is still sponsored by the Bernal Heights History Project and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library. Many thanks to Lisa Dunseth, our librarian, for not only attending but helping in the arrangements of this event.

We hope to see you there, so you can help us celebrate, commemorate, and make neighborhood history together.

This item originally appeared in the August/September 2009 issue of the New Bernal Journal.

More articles by Terry.