NewsSports

This easy 1-mile hike to the South San Francisco sign should be on your bucket list

Driving into San Francisco from the South Bay on Freeway 101, it’s unimaginable to overlook the enormous, concrete white letters that command consideration from the facet of a grassy hill. However in case you peer actually carefully on the signal that reads “SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO THE INDUSTRIAL CITY” alongside the slope of the aptly named Signal Hill, it’s possible you’ll spot a few of your fellow people crawling round on these letters, angling for a selfie that’s unimaginable to attain. 

Not like the archetypal Hollywood check in Los Angeles, the place Angelenos cannot get too shut with out dangerously trespassing, South San Francisco’s welcome signal is extraordinarily accessible. Whereas sitting on the backside of the “Y” in “Metropolis,” my first thought was, “I can’t imagine it’s not vandalized extra usually.” The dirt-stained white concrete is laid throughout the hill itself, permitting guests to put among the many brush-bordered letters, with solely a really quick (although at occasions, steep) hike to achieve them. Every 60-foot-high letter is surrounded by a parched grassy panorama, with a couple of wildflowers and bushes punctuating the terrain. That accessibility to the letters means you may’t really take a photograph of the entire thing without delay, however there’s one thing oddly charming about sitting on the decrease curve of an “S” and gazing down upon the bay as low planes soar overhead to or from SFO.

Some California Poppies develop among the many South San Francisco signal. Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Guests have been capable of stroll close to a South San Francisco signal since 1923, when the town’s Chamber of Commerce constructed the unique whitewashed model of the slogan for simply $300. Whereas the Hollywood(land) signal was constructed the identical 12 months to draw consumers to a luxurious housing improvement, the South San Francisco signal was designed to draw new folks and corporations to an already burgeoning metropolis. 

Buoyed by a sturdy meatpacking trade, the city was additionally dwelling to firms like W. P. Fuller Paint, Western Pipe and Metal, the Metallic and Thermit Company when the signal went up. However by 1928, it was crumbling, and the Chamber of Commerce proposed a brand new $5,000 tax to fund a concrete model. The poll proposition initially did not win the two-thirds majority wanted from voters, and solely after aggressive campaigning did the Chamber of Commerce name for a second particular election later that 12 months. The invoice lastly handed, cementing (pun supposed) the signal’s legacy.

On Might 15, 1929, the present concrete letters debuted. Because the metropolis at this time isn’t the economic city it as soon as was, it’s tried to rebrand since, calling itself “the birthplace of biotechnology.” A number of biotechnology firms name the city dwelling, and at this time Genetech is the city’s prime employer, shuttling Bay Areans from throughout to its workplace pre-pandemic. 

Nonetheless, that enormous signal isn’t going anyplace, even when through the years there have been efforts to take away or change it. Constructed from four-inch-thick concrete, it was added to the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations in 1996, due to Edna Harks, a founding member of the South San Francisco Historic Society.

A placard notes Sign Hill has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hikers walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

A placard notes Signal Hill has been positioned on the Nationwide Register of Historic Locations. Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Locals’ enthusiasm for the signal has waxed and waned through the years, however at this time, I’m instructed it’s principally a beloved native icon. “South San Francisco may be very connected to it and they’re happy with their industrial historical past,” mentioned South San Francisco Parks and Recreation Director Sharon Ranals.

Hikers walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

One favourite pastime for guests is to slip down the letters with items of cardboard. It’s not clear when close by residents found out the letters made a fairly good makeshift concrete slide, however the “F” and the 2 “Ts” are mentioned to be significantly properly designed for a fast, low-budget thrill journey.

When you’re climbing or sliding down the letters, you additionally might understand they’re not all the identical dimension — they have been designed in perspective in order that they’d seem that approach from a distance. They’re repainted about each different 12 months, and it’s a fairly large endeavor, mentioned Greg Mediati, the Deputy Director of the South San Francisco Parks and Recreation, as every letter makes use of about 10 gallons of paint. 

Hikers can walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Hikers can stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Hikers can walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Hikers can stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

The 65-acre park additionally supplies vital habitat for wildlife like hummingbirds, red-tailed hawks, California scrub jays, and dark-eyed juncos. In 2019, the Parks Division launched the Signal Hill Habitat Restoration Challenge and workers and volunteers have spent the previous few years restoring native grassland vegetation and eradicating invasive vegetation. Because the restoration started, Pure Useful resource Specialist Emma Lewis mentioned she’s seen the return of two endangered butterflies to the hill, the mission blue butterfly and the callippe silverspot butterfly.


Even the vandalism, when it does occur, is usually innocent. After the Giants received the World Sequence, the “S” in “San” and the “F” in “Francisco” have been painted vibrant orange, and in 2019, a prankster managed to change the signal to learn “The Industrial Tity,” as an alternative of “The Industrial Metropolis.” 

The signal did face hazard in 2020, when two youngsters allegedly sparked a four-alarm hearth that burned 16 acres, killed 1,500 timber and evacuated close by houses. The injury is obvious in case you do the complete 1.2 mile loop across the signal, the place a piece shows the destruction in charred tree stumps. Mediati mentioned the fireplace might have been a lot worse in the event that they hadn’t been working to construct defensible house and scale back the gasoline load lately.

Hikers walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Hikers can walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Hikers can stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

If you wish to hike to do the loop your self, you may both enter “Signal Hill Park” into your favourite maps app in your cellphone, or, in case you’re an AllTrails fan, discover the hike on the app. Both approach, it’s a brief trek to the letters, although the 1.2 mile loop that AllTrails suggests — which connects the Letters Path to the Seubert Path to the Ridge Path — is a pleasant option to get your coronary heart pumping. The hike is steep, with a lot of free gravel and slender paths, so mountaineering sneakers with a superb tread are really useful. 

The hike can be dog-friendly and never continuously crowded. The South San Francisco Parks and Recreation Division estimates round 20,000 folks go to the hill per 12 months, which is definitely moderately low in comparison with many trails across the Bay. When my pup Archer and I walked the loop on a latest Monday afternoon, we didn’t encounter a single particular person the whole time.

However subsequent time I’m zooming by on the freeway, I’ll you’ll want to seek for the little dots exploring the signal.

Hikers can walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif.. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Hikers can stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif.. Photographed on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Hikers walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Hikers walk a 1.2 mile loop trail to the South San Francisco Sign on Sign Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Hikers stroll a 1.2 mile loop path to the South San Francisco Signal on Signal Hill in South San Francisco, Calif. on June 12, 2021.

Patricia Chang/Particular to SFGATE

Source link

Also Read:  On this planet as dense as Iron, a year lasts only eight hours, Science News
Show More
Back to top button
close