This new park contains a broad promenade which is soon to be joined by a second one. It also features a dock and slide for canoes, and a towering, old copra crane that has been preserved as a labor landmark. The promenade will soon include a museum dedicated to waterfront labor history.
Islais Creek is owned by the Port Authority.
Light-Rail: T- Ingleside to Evans Ave Station.
'Where in the world is Islais Creek?' was the question most often asked 12 years ago when the Friends of Islais Creek started to create a small, green park by the Third Street draw bridge. The Ohlone Indians would have known. They harvested mussels, clams, and shrimp on its shores long before the Europeans arrived in 1769. The creek appeared on Mexican maps in 1834, named for Los Islais (is-lay-is), a hollyleaf cherry and favorite Indian food. On today's map it is the gateway to (the former) Butchertown, the Bayview and Hunters Point.
In the 1850s Islais Creek provided fresh water to Franciscan friars from Mission Dolores and irrigated the produce that Portuguese, Italian, and Irish vegetable farmers grew in the Bayview district. The Gold Rush marked the start of the creek's decline when hordes of forty-niners swarmed out of the city and settled into the makeshift housing on the water's edge. In 1870, the slaughterhouses of Butchertown came in, and Islais Creek, red with blood and offal, reeking of garbage, sewage, and unfit for any use, was diverted to a culvert and its contents sent out to the Bay.
Until the 1950s, the waterway was an open sewer, known colloquially as 'S___ Creek.' Things changed in the 1970s with construction of a water treatment plant nearby and the clearing out of Buchertown's auto-wrecking yards. They changed even more when new houses were built on Stony Hill and Julia Viera moved into one in 1984. Her hilltop view of the channel's desolate mile of trash-bordered water moved her to action. An energetic environmentalist, she organized Friends of Islais Creek, a gutsy, visionary neighborhood group committed to creating a waterfront park and restoring the creek. Their crusade for the little park by the drawbridge was launched in 1988 with a $50,000 grant from the State Department of Water Resources and the participation of the Bayview community, the SF Conservation Corps, Milestones (a half-way house for parolees) and Horace Mann Middle School. Learning that four public agencies were planning major construction projects, none aware of the others, Friends brought together a task force from MUNI, the Department of Public Works, the Public Utilities Commission, the Port of San Francisco, and CalTrans.
--Jeanne Alexander, Neighborhood Parks Council
Friends of Islais Creek
Julia Viera, (415) 826-5669"