Tracing the Portola: A San Francisco Neighborhood Atlas

atlas portola

portola smallTracing the Portola tells the story of the District from different perspectives. Tracing includes 9 “maps,” interpretive map art that describe the Portola’s past, present and future. As a bus driver and a librarian, maps and visual information are everyday tools for the artists and are useful mechanisms for telling the Portola’s story. The map art reveals how the Portola’s proximity to the marshlands along Islais Creek and the its location at the outside edge of the San Francisco influenced the development of the Portola as what geographers call a “working class suburb.” The Atlas begins with the Ohlone, the first people of the San Francisco peninsula, records Spanish occupation of the region and documents the many nurseries and greenhouses that filled the neighborhood. It reveals the hopes and dreams of neighborhood residents and the sites and institutions that sustain them. The original template for the Atlas is the life story of Hazel Laine, which she shared with her neighbors Connell and Melara. Hazel lived in the Portola for over ninety years, brought to the Portola a few days after the 1906 Earthquake as an infant who slept in a bureau drawer. Hazel knew the Portola well.

Editor: Kathleen Coll
Cover quilt: Angie Wilson
Bookbinder: Carrie Galbraith

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