From the Examiner with respect to plans for a new North Beach Library and upgraded Joe DiMaggio Playground:

The City plans to demolish the old [North Beach branch library] and create public parkland on the site, and also on the short stretch of Mason Street that divides the new and old branch sites.

But the recently formed San Francisco Historic Preservation Commission agreed Wednesday to hold a hearing later this month to begin the process of determining whether the existing branch should be designated a historic landmark.

A historic landmark designation would prevent the 50-year-old building from being demolished.

The preservationists’ argument: “[T]he branch has historical significance because it was built during a revolutionary period in the history of libraries, when books started being placed on shelves for perusal by users.” Okay, and that the Appleton & Wolfard design is significant as well.
That being said, apparently the City plans to move ahead with the development of a new library and related Mason Street closure regardless.
Old North Beach library may withstand razing [Examiner]
North Beach Library And Playground Plans Like You Read About [SocketSite]
Landmarks Preservation: Out Of The Frying Pan And Into The Fire? [SocketSite]

Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by marvinsnephew

    There are so many reasons to save that library:
    1. The shelves were built parallel to the floor – a first for that branch!
    2. The vinyl tiles were the first toxic product used in a branch library.
    3. The bathrooms were used by Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy.
    4. A friend of Joe DiMaggio looked in the front door after the big funeral At SS. Peter and Paul.
    5. A cable car with famous people on it went right by in 1975.
    6. The word “gobsmacked” was first looked up here in 1961.
    7. Its Aaron Peskin’s branch.

  2. Posted by Drew

    Oh come on, give me a break! Historical Landmark? It looks like every third library and elementary school built across the country during the Eisenhower administration.
    When people twist the historical preservation argument to serve a narrow agenda it needlessly discredits the merits of historical preservation, and it’s shameful.

  3. Posted by Joe

    I absolutely love it.
    Unintended consequences.
    It is only a matter of time before every square inch of this town is shrink wrapped by the provincial preservation commission.

  4. Posted by San FronziScheme

    Mason street has been closed on the small wedge in front of the library for a month now. I advise people passing by the neighborhood to come have a look while the temporary “park” is still there:
    http://dimaggioplayground.org/2009/08/mason-street-closure/
    Pretty interesting.

  5. Posted by Chad

    LOL @ marvinsnephew’s comment. Too funny.
    That building is pretty ugly, and we all know how much San Franciscan’s hate UGLY buildings 🙂

  6. Posted by NBDweller

    The Mason Street temporary park is really quite nice, and I would echo the earlier commenter’s urging to check it out, especially for a picnic.
    The permanent closure of Mason Street, however, regardless of what happens to the library, is an unfortunate side effect of the new design. Mason Street is the only street that runs all the way from Market to the Wharf area and is an important thoroughfare for taxis, tour buses, and tourists’ private vehicles.
    With Mason Street closed, the traffic on Powell Street has grown tremendously. During the day, it is common for the traffic to back up for more than a block on the North side of the Powell/Columbus intersection. Residents (myself included) are blocked in by traffic when we need to use our vehicles, and when walking (my preferred mode of transportation) I have had many more near misses in the crosswalk because motorists and tour buses are trying to turn onto Columbus.
    I really hope that before a final decision is reached, that the traffic and pedestrian impacts are fully studied.

  7. Posted by lolcat_94123

    I don’t care what building we’re talking about any more – I vote to tear it down purely to piss off those wackjob NIMBYs.
    Poor North Beach – I hear it used to be cool.

  8. Posted by Sunny Jim

    Anyone know if Brian O’Flynn settled with the City for the site he was developing that got Shanghaied?

  9. Posted by EH

    lolcat: yes, north beach used to be cool, that’s why it needs to be preserved!

  10. Posted by Marc

    Save Triangle Park!!
    7 years ago went around for a few months and collected almost 2000 signatures for a petition to get that space to be open space, to be a park.
    The S.F. library and S.F. parks departemnt are trying to put together an arrangement that violates the public mandate.
    Save Triangle Park!!

  11. Posted by FFS

    It almost hurts to read stuff like this, at least they’ll still get a new library building. I can’t help but feel bitter about the wasted opportunity at West Portal that made many imporovements behind the scenes for staff, but has given us patrons little more than updated restrooms.
    I’m hoping the new Ingleside branch is a true improvement over the old ones.

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