Last week I had the opportunity to check in on the earthquake refugee cottage WNP restored in 2005-2006. Since its starring role on Market Street for the centennial of the great 1906 earthquake and fire, the little cottage has been stored in the open air of the San Francisco Zoo’s back lot.
I was shocked to walk up and find the shack had been bumped off its footers. The front door and a back window were detached and a good hunk of the original floor fanned up in shards after landing on a piece of concrete rubble. While I stood there, my mouth agape, Joe Fitting of the San Francisco Zoo pulled up in an electric cart and started telling me how the shack would be fixed up and put on public display in the zoo as part of conservation center.
This was all news to me. The zoo had told WNP back in 2005 that they had absolutely no interest in having the shack permanently. Because of that, we signed it over to the San Francisco Museum and Historical Society with hopes that it could be incorporated in the Old Mint project. Unfortunately that effort is a long slow one and the shack hasn’t been part of the plans. Kristin Morris, Associate Curator at SFMHS, arrived for our meeting and seemed to think the Zoo idea was a pretty good one and SFMHS might be amenable to a long-term loan of the shack.
Of course, I want the darned thing open to the public and I want it properly cared for, so it sounds good to me too.