Professor Issel Explains Wading Pool Built at SF's Dolores Park in 1909

Monday, April 26, 2021
People use the wading pool at Dolores Park on July 6, 1910. Photo courtesy of

SF GATE -- In the early 1900s, the surrounding Mission District was dominated by Irish and German households with large nuclear families of as many as six or seven children, according to Bill Issel, a professor emeritus at SF State University and author of several books on the city’s history including “San Francisco: 1865 – 1931.”

“A not-very-costly concrete lined pool would be popular with the neighborhood when the city removed the temporary shelters, some tents and some of the ‘earthquake shacks,’ that Katherine Felton built when she was in charge of earthquake relief after the ’06 quake and fire,” Issel wrote in an email, referring to the founder of the Associated Charities of San Francisco who helped relocate people who lost homes in the earthquake in tents at local parks, including Dolores Park.