The Panhandle, Golden Gate Park
The Golden Gate Park is the largest urban park in America, larger even than New York City's Central Park. It is nine city blocks wide and over 50 city blocks long, but it might have been even larger. In 1870 the 'Outside Lands' on which the future park would sit didn't hold much interest to anyone, it was filled mostly with sand dunes and clumps of oak trees. But when word got out that the city was planning on building a huge park, squatters and land speculators started to claim parcels of land nearby. After much legal haggling a compromise was reached whereby the squatters gave up the claim to a one-by-eight block long strip of land on the eastern edge of the park. Today this Panhandle serves as a sort of green entrance carpet into the park.

One final note, in 1880 State Park Commissioner Frank Pixley and Park Superintendent John McLaren were touring the new Golden Gate Park and after noticing a lot of 'Keep Off The Grass' signs Pixley suggested the signs would make a fine bonfire. McLaren followed his advice the very next day. The result is that today no grassy area in Golden Gate Park is off-limits to the public.
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