Destination: Mission Dolores, San Francisco

Tour Mission Dolores, explore Clarion Alley, and play at Mission Dolores Park

Cody Tolmasoff
4 min readApr 18, 2020


This is part of a series of family-oriented day trip outings around the San Francisco Bay Area I look forward to enjoying with my kids once social distancing and shelter in place isn’t the norm any longer.

Muni Heritage Weekend 2017 excursion through Dolores Park on Historic Streetcar #1 by Cody Tolmasoff

Today is the 114th anniversary of the 1906 Earthquake, so I picked Mission Dolores today to reflect upon it.

San Francisco holds an annual memorial to the earthquake on April 18th at 5:12 AM at Lotta’s Fountain (canceled this year). It’s hard to wake up early enough to attend, I went once years ago when there were still a few survivors in attendance. They made speeches until 5:12 AM when we would have a moment of silence, broken by sirens a minute later. Some volunteers went over to paint the Golden Hydrant, and local restaurants would offer breakfast specials.

Many people flocked here after the earthquake to watch the city burn in the resulting fire. The Golden Fire Hydrant is located here at 20th & Church street, at the southwestern corner of the park. It was the only working fire hydrant and reportedly saved the Mission District from burning down. Each year as part of the memorial celebration of the earthquake, volunteers come to give it a fresh paint in gold. In the days following the fire, Dolores Park became a refugee tent camp. Within 3 months, they filled the park with Earthquake Relief Shacks. Up to 1600 people lived here until the summer of 1908.
Photos from FoundSF.org

Mission Dolores Park was in the process of transforming from an old Jewish cemetery to a city park at the time of the earthquake. The former inhabitants having been relocated to Colma ahead of the earthquake. It’s remarkable that this land was open and ready to house so many people in need.

Destination: Mission Dolores

  1. Explore Clarion Alley
  2. Tour Mission Dolores
  3. Play at Mission Dolores Park

Explore Clarion Alley



Cody Tolmasoff

Parent-adventurer, creating memories for my two daughters around the SF Bay Area. Author & publisher at @adventuringin & Chief Happiness Officer at @kiddiewalks