Forest Knolls, Then and Now

A few residents of Forest Knolls may still remember what it looked like back in 1961 after the hillside was scraped bare and graded and covered with homes, some still under construction. When I happened upon this picture (taken by Earl Martin) on the Western Neighborhoods Project website, I immediately asked them for permission to reproduce it here. Woody La Bounty was kind enough to agree. It was taken at the dedication of the Midtown Terrace Playground, around 1961.

[Edited to Add: For more historic pictures of Forest Knolls and Midtown Terrace, click HERE.]

Midtown-terrace-playground (San Francisco) c 1961 by Earl Martin taken at dedication of the playground

Here’s what it looks like today. Time and Nature and the green thumbs of residents over fifty years have transformed it from a building site to a green hill. This really looks like Forest Knolls.

Forest Knolls, San Francisco, in April 2012 - view from near Armenian Church

Here it is again with some labels… (if you want to send in more, I can edit them in).

Photo by Earl Martin, c 1961 - view of Forest Knolls (with added notes)

And here’s what the building site looked like, only three years earlier. Forest Knolls would be the bit labeled DEVELOPMENT.

Forest Knolls site in 1958

8 thoughts on “Forest Knolls, Then and Now”

  1. Very cool!
    Also, no pedestrian bridge over Clarendon or Galewood Circle. I think that you can also see part of (the start of, between two houses on Warren, next to that tall telephone pole on the other side of Clarendon) Ashwood Lane – the stairs and path that connect Warren to Clarendon (between the school and Galewood Circle)

  2. Great to see the neighborhood back in 1961! any more pics to share? Thank you for updating most of us who are not original owners. I wasn’t a San Francisco resident at that time and find it most interesting they removed “all” trees, bushes etc. to build the homes. Our neighborhood is just perfect now with all the great trees. Thanks again for sharing with everyone!

  3. These are great historic pictures, and I’m a sucker for great historic pictures of San Francisco. May I ask where you found them? And was there really a NIKE site in SF, or was it just planned? Talk about a real estate disclosure…

    1. The aerial photograph is from the Main Library’s historic collection. The 1961 picture here was taken by Midtown Terrace resident Earl Martin (as were the others under the link). If he gives permission, I’ll put more of them up on this site.

      I understand there really was a Nike site, but I don’t think they had actual missiles there. Others may know more about it. The same area was later used as an “animal research facility” by UCSF; it was removed in the 1970s. Now there’s a Native Plant garden up there.

      1. I live in the area (other side of the hill) and hike up there often with my family and/or dogs. I had no idea about the NIKE site or animal lab, but now I’ve got some sleuthing to do 🙂 Saw your link to Earl’s page shortly after posting my comment, great great pics. Cheers!

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