Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.
–from “Where the Sidewalk Ends” by Shel Silverstein
One ordinary Tuesday, I was delighted to discover a garden of “asphalt flowers” enclosed by mural-adorned walls. I was out on brokers’ tour and had parked my car on Cook where it dead ends north of Geary.
Normally on Tuesdays I’m running around town like a harried hare, trying to see as much property as possible. But for some reason — on this particular day — I decided I had time to investigate what was behind a crumbly gate next to what looked like an old school building.
Turns out I’d found the site of the old Geary School. I did a little bit of internet research later to find that it closed in 1974 for seismic reinforcement and (according to one source) was subsequently torn down. The building that fronts Cook looks an awful lot like a circa 1930s schoolhouse to me, but I couldn’t find any good answers about the fate of the school. Signs on the building indicate it’s still in use by the SFUSD, although for what I couldn’t tell. But I diverge.
As you can see in the photo above, apparently the colorful murals were painted by kids at the school in 1973! They’re in beautiful condition. For example, see this happy wagon:
And this shy green spider.
And the pink bird of happiness.
And a beautiful butterfly.
Plus a cheerful bat.
A talkative reptile (though we can’t quite make out what he’s saying).
And, of course, every garden needs a bunny and a dragon.
Where, oh, where are the children now who painted these walls in 1973? If you are one of them, please let me know?
Cynthia Cummins is a Top Producer and Partner at McGuire. For info on SF real estate visit http://CynthiaCummins.com.