(415) 474-3130 Info@ElectricTourCompany.com
(415) 474-3130 Info@ElectricTourCompany.com

Exploring the History of Blue Heron Lake (Stow Lake), Strawberry Hill, and Huntington Falls

Welcome to the enchanting world of Blue Heron Lake, Strawberry Hill, and Huntington Falls in the heart of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. These picturesque attractions are steeped in history and natural beauty, offering visitors a serene escape from the bustling city. In this journey through time, we’ll delve into the origins of these landmarks, the haunting tales that shroud Blue Heron Lake, and the delightful Blue Heron Lake Boat House and boat rentals.

Stow Lake: A Tranquil Oasis

Stow Lake, the largest body of water in Golden Gate Park, serves as a peaceful oasis for both locals and tourists. Nestled amidst lush greenery, this scenic lake has a fascinating history:

  • Origins: The creation of Golden Gate Park began with Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision, and Blue Heron Lake (Stow Lake) was among the first constructions. It was designed for leisure boating, as a promenade for horse-drawn carriages, and as a reservoir for park irrigation.
  • The Boathouse: The original Blue Heron Lake (Stow Lake) Boathouse, designed by renowned architect Arthur Page Brown, graced the park in 1893. After a fire in 1937, it was rebuilt in 1946 with an alpine chalet-style look, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
  • Strawberry Hill: This prominent hill within the park, crowned with a summit providing a 360-degree view, once housed an observatory. Sadly, the 1906 earthquake reduced it to ruins.

Huntington Falls: A Gushing Wonder

Huntington Falls, a 110-foot-tall artificial waterfall, cascades into Stow Lake. Its history is tied to the generosity of Collis P. Huntington:

  • Generous Donation: Collis P. Huntington, a railroad magnate, donated $25,000 for the construction of Huntington Falls after being convinced by W.W. Stow and Park Superintendent John McLaren.
  • Water Source: The falls are fed by a reservoir atop Strawberry Hill, receiving water from various sources, including Elk Glen Lake, wells, and the city’s water supply.

Blue Heron Lake Boat Rentals: Nautical Adventures Await

When visiting Stow Lake, don’t miss the chance to explore its tranquil waters with boat rentals:

  • Boat Fleet: Blue Heron Lake Boathouse offers a fleet of American-made boats, including rowboats, electric boats, and pedal boats suitable for one to four boaters.
  • Electric-Powered: All motorboats, including the support boat, are electric-powered, allowing for a silent and serene boating experience.
  • Newest Addition: Check out the latest addition to the boat fleet, a pedal boat that comfortably seats 4-6 people.

Golden Gate Pavilion: A Touch of China

As you explore the area, make sure to visit the Golden Gate Pavilion, a Chinese peace pagoda gifted to San Francisco by its sister city, Taipei, in 1976. This colorful structure adds an exotic touch to the natural landscape.

The Haunting Tale of Blue Heron Lake

Prepare yourself for a spine-tingling story that has fascinated visitors for generations—the haunting of Blue Heron (Stow) Lake:

  • The Legend: One of San Francisco’s oldest documented hauntings revolves around a young woman and her infant child. While strolling around Blue Heron Lake, the woman’s baby mysteriously vanished, leading to her tragic demise.
  • Eerie Sightings: For over a century, people have reported sightings of a distressed woman in a white gown on foggy nights. Some claim she approaches visitors, desperately seeking her lost child.
  • Ghost Hunting: Avid ghost hunters have visited the park, hoping to capture proof of the paranormal. Some have reported hearing disembodied voices, adding an eerie twist to the legend.

Closing Thoughts: A Treasure in Golden Gate Park

Blue Heron Lake, Strawberry Hill, and Huntington Falls are not only historical gems but also a testament to the beauty and mystique of Golden Gate Park. Whether you come for a leisurely boat ride, a glimpse of the paranormal, or a peaceful escape into nature, this corner of San Francisco has something special to offer. So, step into the enchantment of Stow Lake, and let its history and legends unfold before your eyes.


Information provided by SF Rec and Park Department and Blue Heron Lake Boathouse

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