DSCN5661“The traveller in San Francisco, asking the question Englishmen invariably ask, What’s to be seen? would be thus answered. The Big Trees, Eusamity Valley, Napa and the Quicksilver Mines.”

—    Charles Dickens, All the Year Round, 424-28

Almaden Quicksilver Park is a county park, 16 miles south of San Jose in the Capitancillos Range of the Coastal Mountains. The 4,157 acre park includes hiking trails, remnants of the old mining camp, and Casa Grande, an 1854 Hacienda, now the Quicksilver mining museum.

Mercury (also called quicksilver) was “discovered” in the California Coastal Mountains in 1845. Andres Castillero, an observant Mexican soldier and mining engineer, noticed red paint on the bodies of the local Ohlone Indians and on the walls of the Santa Clara Mission. He inquired about the source of the paint and was guided to some cinnabar ore in a nearby cave. Cinnabar is a combination of mercury and sulfur in rock. Understanding the significance of this ore, Castillero made a claim on the property and began a small scale mining operation, the first in California.

The unique properties of mercury allow it to combine with most other metals to form an amalgam. The amalgamation process permits mercury to attract even small particles of metal and offers miners a way to collect metal efficiently. When the mercury is heated and vaporized, only the metal remains. Castillero had worked in the silver mines of Mexico where mercury was imported from the Almaden Mine in Spain, owned and controlled by a cartel of the Rothschild family

In 1847 Castillero, lacking capital to develop the mine and embroiled in title disputes, sold it to Barron & Forbes, a British trading company.

Barron & Forbes named the mine “Nuevo Almaden” (after its predecessor in Spain) and began the capital intensive work of hard rock mining. They hired skilled Mexican and Chilean miners (later English and Chinese as well). They developed the infrastructure to crush cinnabar, heat it, collect the mercury, store it in iron flasks, and ship it to San Francisco and beyond. In 1863 they sold the mine to Quicksilver Mining Corporation, an American Company.

From the 1850’s to the 1890’s the Nuevo Almaden Mine was a center of commerce and residential life. Over 1800 miners and their families lived in three camps on the site: English camp, Spanish camp, and Hacienda camp. The miners processed 300 tons of cinnabar ore per day, reduced it to mercury and placed the mercury in flasks for transport. Their product supplied more than half the mercury production in the world. Eventually the mine would transport over 1 million flasks of 76 pounds each, yielding $75 million for its beneficiaries.

By the late 19th century there were over 500 mercury mines from Oregon to Santa Barbara. The mercury mines of the California Coastal range supplied the mercury needed for the gold rush and the silver rush. Had it not been for the discovery of mercury in California, the story of the Gold rush might have been one of dependence on European interests.

In the 20th century the output from the New Almaden Mine declined as cinnabar became scarcer and more difficult to extract. New methods for processing metals included using cyanide instead of mercury. In 1975 the mine ceased operations. Between 1973-1976 Santa Clara County bought properties around the mine and established the Almaden Quicksilver Park in 1976.

If you visit:

  • Mining Museum and Casa Grande are free of charge

Hours of Operation:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Friday 12-4
  • Saturday, Sunday   10-4

Fun Facts about the Mine and its surroundings:

  • Henry Halleck was superintendent of the mine from 1850 to 1863
  • In 1863 Federal officials (with a writ from Abraham Lincoln) tried to seize the mine, prompting armed resistance from the miners and their allies. Lincoln and the military backed down when they realized the risk of California seceding from the Union was too great
  • Andres Castillero’s claim of 1845 was finally heard by the Supreme Court and denied in 1863
  • John McLaren did much of the landscaping for the camp
  • Wallace Stegner used Mary Foote’s account of life at New Almaden in his novel “Angle of Repose”
  • In 1867 F.S. Pioche leased 2.5 acres of the Hacienda property for 10 years to bottle the carbonated mineral water from Los Alamitos Creek. He sold it for $4 per bottle as Vichy water (the cure-all for every known affliction)
  • In 1893 the first Dry Ice (a by-product of the mine) was liquified, bottled, and marketed

A Short Tour of Brisbane, California

Brisbane is a small town 9 miles south of San Francisco, nestled in the Guadalupe Valley on San Bruno Mountain. Although it is located on Highway 101, Brisbane is easy to miss because it is separated from 101 by a man-made lagoon.


Shellmounds on San Bruno Mountain indicate that this area was once inhabited by Ohlone native Americans. The environment offered them ample black oak trees for acorns, plentiful fish and shellfish, and tule reeds in the wetlands for their homes, boats, and baskets.



When the Southern Pacific Railway built the railway from San Francisco to San Jose in 1864, they bypassed this portion of San Bruno Mountain in favor of a route further west, near San Bruno. Their route included a steep grade over the Bernal Cut, requiring extra steam engines for every run. In 1904, the SP built a faster and more direct route along the bay near what is now Brisbane, creating the Bay Cut Off. This stretch of track set a new record for expense at $1,000,000 per mile for 9.8 miles.

Efforts to start a small town near the railroad began with limited success. It wasn’t until the 1930’s depression that Brisbane (then called Visitacion City) began to iattract a small population with the offer of cheap lots ($100) and the freedom to build your own home with minimal interference from the town.


In the 1940’s Brisbane began a tradition that led to its nickname “The City of Stars”. During WW2 individual posted lighted stars on their homes to remind themselves of the sons still at war. Later the Chamber of Commerce championed the tradition by distributing small and large stars to any homeowner willing to maintain the lights.


Early industry in Brisbane included slaughter houses, railroads, and Greywacke quarrying. Today Brisbane is a city of 4,400 and is proudly working to restore their environment from the Mountain to the Bay.

Some Notable Activities:

  • They are the first city to draft a Habitat Conservation Plan under the Endangered Species Act for the preservation of the Mission Blue Butterfly.
  • They have removed multiple invasive species from the landscape on San Bruno Mountain and worked to discourage development near the disappearing shellmounds of the Ohlone Indians.
  • They are currently nurturing a community of Pacific Tree native frogs in a restored wetland within an industrial park.
  • Their Mission Blue Nursery grows native plants for replanting in restored and refurbished local areas.

In 1976 Brisbane began a tradition of painting its fire hydrants with whimsical, social and political messages. Today a small park in town showcases a few retired hydrants, including a gold fire hydrant. (It recalls the famous hydrant of the Mission that didn’t fail in 1906, and is repainted every April 18) Other hydrants throughout the town reflect the small-town quirkiness of Brisbane.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse and its Fresnel Lens



On Saturday, November 15, I visited the Pigeon Point Lighthouse 50 miles south of San Francisco and 30 miles north of Santa Cruz. It was the 142nd anniversary of the lighthouse, one of the tallest in the United States.

Sea lions, whales and birds frequent this area. But the rocks are treacherous. In 1853 the clipper ship Carrier Pigeon ran aground here in a heavy fog. No lives were lost, but the ship was destroyed. When word of the wreck reached San Francisco, reports called the site, “Carrier Pigeon Point”. Later this was shortened to Pigeon Point.

From 1852 to 1910 the United States Lighthouse Board built and maintained all lighthouses in the US. It built the Pigeon Point Lighthouse in 1872 and installed a First Order Fresnel Lens in the tower. When lit, the beam reached as far as 24 miles out to sea. Both the beam and an accompanying fog signal were unique to the lighthouse so that ships could identify their location as Pigeon Point. In 1972 a fully automated rotating aero-beacon replaced the Fresnel Lens.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Hostel

Pigeon Point Lighthouse and Hostel

The lighthouse has been closed to the public since 2001, when a rusting section of cornice fell from the tower. In 2011 the Fresnel Lens was carefully disassembled, removed from the tower, and reassembled in the nearby Fog Signal house for safekeeping. State Park officials are now trying to raise $9 million to restore and repair the lighthouse. Once restored, the Fresnel Lens will return to its rightful place in the tower.

Every November the State Park Service hosts an anniversary celebration at Pigeon Point. The event includes an open house, docent-led tours, educational displays, and live music.  The Fresnel Lens, on display, is a highlight–16 feet high, weighing 4 tons, its 1008 prisms and lenses casting rainbows through the room.

Pigeon Point Fresnel Lens

Pigeon Point Fresnel Lens

Chuy Campusano’s Clarion Alley Masterwork


Looking down Clarion Alley from Mission Street I see colorful painted surfaces everywhere, even on the asphalt. Since 1992 artists and craftsmen have enlivened the space with social, political, and cultural messages that express their point of view or showcase the community. Cartoons, caricatures, portraits and written commentary fill the walls. Artists rework the surfaces in this alley continually. Every time I visit, I see new murals.


One stretch of wall stands out for its stark simplicity and its black and white palette. This mural, painted in 1994, was the last work of Jesus “Chuy” Campusano (died 1997). Called “La Raza” it is inspired by Picasso’s masterpiece “Guernica”.  True to the community, it is about the Chicano struggle for civil rights and dignity, leading to the United Farmworkers movement and continuing today.


Picaso’s Guernica

Campusano was an artist who studied at the Academy of San Carlos in Mexico City (where Diego Rivera studied) and learned the techniques of master muralists.  He was greatly influenced by other Mexican muralists, especially the 3 known as “Los Muralistos Mexicanos”: Diego Rivera, David Siquieros and Jose Clemente Orozco.

In 1974 Campusano was invited to paint the interior of the Bank of America Building at 23rd and Mission along with Luis Cortazar and Michael Rios. The result is a 90 foot long mural depicting the challenges and progress in the local community. Other commissions included the Daly City Library, the exterior wall of the Lilli Ann Building at 17th and Harrison, and parts of the Horizons Unlimited mural (now lost). In 1970 he cofounded the Galeria de la Raza in the Mission.


La Raza

“La Raza” is painted on a whitewashed fence. It reads from left to right, a jumble of forms, characters, and arms. Looking at one recurring image in particular, the arms, note the progression:

  • a single arm holding lightning bolts (possibly indicating violence)
  • a single arm without lightning bolts
  • a pair of arms in handcuffs reaching for a bird (freedom)
  • a pair of arms with clenched fists now freed from handcuffs
  • a pair of arms pushing forward as if punching

The United Farmworkers flag featuring a Huelga Bird (Aztec and eagle symbolism) leads the procession. It’s solid blackness gives it prominence in the mural.

Other images add to the story:

  • A face looking backwards features gang tattoos (dots, a tear, a hammer & sickle) and piercings. This is the only left-facing profile in the mural. (possible reference to the Norteno gang which uses symbols such as the Huelga bird and dots as a logo)
  • A cross appears on a bishop’s mitre, but it is placed near the ground, and above it is a 3-pronged implement, perhaps a pitchfork (a devil’s symbol) or guns. An arrow points to the handcuffs
  • A bent and wrinkled old man carries a heavy sack
  • Condominiums, symbolizing the threat of development and displacement, appear in the mural
  • Right-facing profiles are snakelike, open-mouthed, angry, or shouting
  • Bombs or torpedos lead the procession

Like Guernica, this mural mixes imagery; forms attach to adjacent imagery implying multiple interpretations, depending on how one looks at the work. The stylistic elements (jagged edges, arrows, bomb imagery) and coloring resemble Picasso, but Campusano tells his own story, rooted in the Mission and Chicano Community.

A picture of Campusano is tacked up at the upper right corner of the mural.  Nearby Jet Martinez’s surrealistic landscape offers a glimpse at an elongated La Raza in the body of an outlined figure.


San Francisco in the Fog

The city by the Bay


The worst shipwreck in San Francisco history occurred off Land’s End in February, 1901. The Rio de Janeiro, a steam-powered passenger ship, sailed photo-1 5through the Golden Gate Straits in heavy fog. With very little warning or time to react, the iron-hulled ship hit a shallow reef near Fort Point and began to sink. The fog dulled cries for help and hampered rescue boats. Within 8 minutes the ship was gone and only 82 persons had boarded lifeboats. 123 passengers and crew, including Capt. Ward, drowned in that wreck.

San Francisco fog is poetic, evocative and hazardous when coupled with our shallow Bay and rocky coast.   In a heavy fog in November, 2007 the Cosco Buson container ship struck the Bay Bridge, spilling 53,569 gallons of fuel into the Bay. In a fog of January, 2013 the Overseas Reymar, a large tanker, scraped its hull against the Bay Bridge, raising questions about its navigation equipment. Records of airplane crashes, car wrecks and ferry collisions expand the litany of fog-related disasters.

The persistence of Bay area fog arises from our unique geography, climate, and wind. Northwest ocean currents and “upwelling” along the coast result in cold coastal waters (52-58 degrees F). Over the ocean moisture evaporates, creating a “marine layer”, which, cooling, condenses into fog. The extreme variance of temperature between the hot inland valley and the cool coast suggests a high pressure zone and a low pressure zone. Wind blows towards the low pressure zone, along the coastline and through the narrow gap of the Golden Gate Straits. As the wind blows, the fog accompanies it, blanketing the coastal mountains, the Bay, and San Francisco.

Regular recurrent fog determines Bay area ecology. Redwood trees, sword ferns, huckleberries, and tan oaks depend on the fog for moisture. Napa and Sonoma Valley grapes reach perfection with the help of the fog. Local salamanders and frogs would die of heat stroke were it not for the cooling fog. In the midst of summer, San Francisco is cool.

To take credit for all the benefits of a foggy day, @KarlTheFog steps forward. As his Twitter feed announces, “All that is sunny does not glitter, not all those in the fog are lost.”  Join Karl’s 55,000 followers on your Twitter Feed.

The Pulgas Water Temple


The Pulgas water temple is located in Woodside, near the Crystal Springs Reservoir and one mile north of the Filoli estate.   It was built in 1934 to celebrate the completion of the Hetch Hetchy pipeline, and represents the terminus of the pipeline.   The Temple closely resembles an earlier structure, the 1910 Sunol Water Temple, designed by architect Willis Polk, who was himself inspired by the Roman Vesta Temple in Tivoli, built in the early first century.


All three temples are monuments to aquaducts.

The Pulgas Temple is also a monument to a grand project, bringing fresh water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains over 167 miles to the Bay area. The project included a major dam (O’Shaughnessy), tunnel, hydraulic plants, $100 million, and took 24 years to complete. The project began with the 1906 earthquake and fire, an alarmed populace, an act of Congress (the Raker Act), and public desire to rid itself of a hated private water system. It pitted John Muir and the Sierra Club against Progressive Mayor John Phelan and fire-scarred citizens. It ended with a dammed Tuolome River, a flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley, and a broken-hearted John Muir.


Etched on the Pulgas Temple is this quote from Isaiah:

“I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people,”

imageToday, the National Park Service manages a small park at the Pulgas Water Temple. Visitors can drink from a fountain offering precious Hetch Hetchy water.

Interpretive boards warn against the nearby endangered pants, birds, and animals. Ironically they do not allude to the loss of habitat caused by the massive water project that ends at the Pulgas Temple.

The Grace Quan


“Chinese Whispers” is a local research and storytelling project dedicated to recording the history of the Chinese in the Bay area. Currently they have teamed with the National Park Service to tell the story of the Chinese shrimp-fishing industry of the late 19-early 20th centuries. Saturday, I drove to Richmond for the kick-off event, a visit to the Grace Quan Chinese junk.

The Grace Quan

The Grace Quan

The Grace Quan is a replica Chinese junk, built in 2003 using traditional techniques and materials. Today it is part of the San Francisco National Maritime Museum collection, and is berthed at Hyde Street Pier and China Camp in Marin. China Camp (also called Point San Pedro) was once one of 26 shrimping villages around the Bay including Hunter’s Point, Rincon Point, Petaluma Flats, and Redwood City. Between 1870 and 1930 as many as 30 Chinese junks like the Grace Quan frequented the bay, and harvested shrimp using fine bag nets imported from China. The fishermen collected the shrimp, boiled the shrimp, dried the shrimp, crushed the shrimp, and winnowed the shrimp, exporting 90% of the product to China. One account estimates 1,000,000 pound of shrimp catch exported in 1888, to 3,000,000 pounds in 1929.

The design of the Grace Quan illustrates the skill and ingenuity of the Chinese. It’s a compact vessel, 43 feet long, with multiple watertight bulkheads for storage, safety, and sturdiness. Its open deck provides workspace. Its fenestrated rudder allows for easier steerage. The fan-shaped sail is fully battened, spreading stress points over a wide area. With the wind it can travel at 8 knots. With no wind, a long sculling oar (yuloh) propels the craft. The junk’s recognizable sail has an orange tint which comes from the practice of soaking it in dried tanbark oak chips to protect it against mold, mildew, and rot.

Unfortunately the success of the Chinese shrimping business also led to its decline. Overfishing and discriminatory laws against the Chinese are part of this story:

Such as,

  • 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act made it illegal for the Chinese to sail beyond the 3 mile limit
  • 1890 A new law banned shrimping at the height of the season (May, June, July, August)
  • 1905 Shrimp exports were banned
  • 1911 Traditional bag nets (preferred by the Chinese) were banned

Satty-p-162-fishing-village-at-Rincon-PointOver time, changes in the composition and water flow of the Bay affected the shrimp population. The Chinese were blamed, sometimes unfairly. Hydraulic mining added silt and mercury to the water. The city dredged the bay for ship channels, added bridges and hardscape, diked and drained wetlands, and created new dams and diversions. Eventually the Chinese turned to other occupations leaving only a few remaining shrimp fisherman including Frank Quan’s grandfather Quan Hung Quock. With newly designed trawl nets, he and his sons continued the shrimp business in China Camp, processing as much as 5,000 pounds per day.

Today Frank Quan is the sole remaining resident of China Camp. Frank calls today’s bay “a desert”, yielding only 1.5 pounds of shrimp on a good day. Quan, age 89, operates the concession stands at China Camp. The Grace Quan junk is named after Frank Quan’s mother.

In Search of Eadweard Muybridge


Eadweard Muybridge

Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), photographer, inventor, and artist settled in San Francisco in 1866. He soon established a freelance business photographing landscapes of the west, such as Yosemite, and accepting commissions to document the homes and possessions of the wealthy. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALater (1872-1882) Muybridge collaborated with Leland Stanford, photographing Stanford’s trotting horses at his farm in Palo Alto. Financed by Stanford’s money and motivated to find the answer to the question, “do all 4 hooves of the horse leave the ground at a gallop?” Muybridge used multiple cameras to take sequential photos of a galloping horse. His success at taking the multiple shots and projecting them onto a screen with his invention, the zoopraxiscope, was the beginning of motion pictures.

Curiously, this innovative career might have been derailed. In 1874 Muybridge discovered that his wife was having an affair.   He traveled to the gold country to confront the man, and killed him. A sensational trial followed, adding to Muybridge’s celebrity and resulting in a controversial “justifiable homicide” verdict.

Had Muybridge been imprisoned, we might not have his legacy of photographs and motion studies today. Nor would Muybridge have visited Thomas Edison and shown him the zoopraxiscope.

Today you can find evidence of Muybridge throughout the Bay area.

In 1878 Muybridge took a series of photos of the growing city from the Mark Hopkins mansion on Nob Hill, resulting in a clear and detailed image over 17 feet long. Today sections of this photo are on display at the Wells Fargo Museum, 420 Montgomery St. Typically, Muybridge added clouds to his photos (early photoshopping) for atmospheric effects.

Muybridge used a wet plate process for his photography, developing his pictures immediately on site.

DSCN3442This bronze statue of Eadweard Muybridge is located behind George Lucas’s Digital Arts Center in the Presidio and shows him with his camera.

photoThis historical marker on the Stanford campus is near the stables where Stanford kept his trotting horses and the track where Muybridge set up his sequential cameras.

DSCN3261Clarion Alley in the Mission District is well known for its colorful and polemical murals. Here one can find a mobile recalling Eadweard Muybridge and hls zoopraxiscope.



Punk Rock and the Mabuhay Gardens



Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco is located at 443 Broadway on a seedy block between the redeveloped waterfront and bustling North Beach. Mabuhay means “Welcome” or “Live” in Tagalog, recalling this one-time restaurant’s Filipino roots.




The doors of the “Fab Mab” are now closed and locked, but the exterior is dotted with vintage posters, an aging Chronicle article about the club, and a 2006 obituary of Dirk Dirksen, its famed impresario.

It was here, in the 70’s and 80’s that the producer Dirk Dirksen transformed a Filipino supper club into the epicenter of punk rock. Groups such as Blondie, the Dead Kennedys, Devo, the Ramones, the Nuns, Crime, and Dirksen’s favorite, the Street Punks performed here to wild and energetic crowds. San Francisco embraced punk rock as a spirit akin to its own: rebellious and anti-commercial.

Robin Williams once played the Mabuhay. He later quipped, “Comedy Hell is opening for the Ramones at the Mabuhay”. Chris Isaak got his start here.

Dirk Dirksen - The Pope of Punk

Dirk Dirksen – The Pope of Punk

Dirksen himself was known for his creative insults while introducing the bands,

“I’m sorry to see you’re that easily pleased. You should try and show some intelligence and sophistication and not just accept any slop that’s thrown in your trough.”


“… the next group is an absolute pimple in the armpit of progress. Now everybody, please pay attention because it’s time to play ‘People Are Stupid.’ ”

Punk rockers were known for their anarchic behavior, including random fighting, optional musical talent, and anti-establishment rhetoric. Lyrics competed for the most outrageous, lewd, and lascivious. There was no line between the audience and the performers in the club. The Mabuhay bathrooms were social spaces for men and women alike. Nothing was off limits…. Outrageous fashion shows, a quadrapalegic performer, tin can instruments.

photo 9In 2009, San Francisco renamed the deadend street adjacent to the Mabuhay Dirk Dirksen Alley for the onetime “Pope of Punk”.



San Francisco Carousels

Yerba Buena Garden carousel

Looff Carousel at Yerba Buena Garden

San Francisco has 4 carousels, each one distinct. Three of them are antique works of art—amusements that have been lovingly preserved and maintained. The fourth, a relatively new carousel, has bells, whistles, and lights, making it a glittery representative of San Francisco’s playful side.

The Looff Carousel, in Yerba Buena Gardens, was the first to be built for San Francisco in 1906. Charles Looff and his employees, all expert carvers, created standing, prancing and flying horses with swirling manes and elaborate livery. They embellished their carvings with jewels and horsehair tails, and added other animals (camel, giraffe, goat) for variety. Each animal is a unique creation.

Unfortunately, the carousel detoured to Seattle’s Luna Park after the 1906 earthquake left San Francisco in ruins. It eventually returned to San Francisco’s  Playland at the Beach, where it entertained visitors for almost 50 years (1913 to 1972).

The Looff Company created over 50 carousels, but only 10 remain intact today. Like other carousels, a Looff machine was worth more divided than whole. Suffering wear and tear from outdoor use and daily activity, carousels required expensive maintenance. An operator could break up a carousel and sell it for parts, often profitably. During the golden age of carousels, 1880-1920, about 7,000 carousels were built; only 300 remain today.

Fortunately, the Yerba Buena carousel, now called Le Roy King Carousel, was preserved by a collector and returned to San Francisco in 1998. It recently (May 2014) reopened after extensive renovation. Notice the dynamic positions of the horses and elaborate saddles on the animals.

The second oldest San Francisco carousel is the Herschel-Spillman Carousel at the East end of Golden Gate Park. It was built in 1914 and was brought to San Francisco from Portland, Oregon for the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island (1939 and 1940). It eventually replaced another carousel in the children’s area of Golden Gate Park, sometimes identified as the first children’s playground in the US (1887).   Arthur Page Brown, who also designed the Ferry Building, created a beautiful, classically-inspired open-air shelter for the carousels.  It is now fully enclosed.

This carousel includes a menagerie of 62 animals, with great variety of shapes, colors, and decorations. Notable among the animals is a colorful sea dragon, an armored horse, and a goat carved by master carver William Dentzel. The interior of the carousel contains pastel painted scenes of California.

Notice the variety of animals, the painted scenery and the jester-like faces on the rounding board.

The third San Francisco carousel, located at the San Francisco Zoo, was carved by the Dentzel Company of Philadelphia in 1921 and arrived in 1925 after a short stint in Redwood City. The Dentzel Company was founded in Germany in 1837 and created some of the earliest carousels in Europe and the US. This carousel was one of William Dentzel’s last creations.  He was the grandson of the founder of the Dentzel Company, still family owned and still operating today.

William Dentzel’s carving style was more natural and realistic than Looff’s style, but consistent through many decades. Most Dentzel Carousels were large. This carousel contains 36 horses, 16 menagerie animals and 2 chariots. It is one of only 7 Dentzel carousels in the US today. Interestingly, the previously mentioned Golden Gate Park carousel (Herschell-Spillman) includes one animal also carved by William Dentzel: a goat.

Notice playful jumper cats holding fish in their mouths, and the mirrored well-lit interior.

The fourth carousel in San Francisco is much newer than the others. Created for Pier 39 by the Italian company Bertazzon in the early 1970’s, it contains fiberglass figures. Yet it is striking, with its two stories and 1800 LED lights. In keeping with the nature of Pier 39, this carousel includes sea creatures as well as land creatures. Notice the scenes of California on the exterior rounding board.

What’s missing in San Francisco? None of these carousels has an operating brass ring machine. But good news for those willing to drive a short distance, Santa Cruz has a Looff Carousel with a ring machine, also listed as a National Historic Landmark.