San Francisco is naturally rich with history, but did you know that it was once well-known for Ingleside’s Racetrack?
On November 25th, 1895, the Pacific Coast Jockey Club opened the Ingleside Racetrack (today’s Ingleside Terraces neighborhood). The inaugural ceremony drew in a crowd of 8,000-12,000 attendees, who also stood in the pouring rain to watch the first races.
The Pacific Coast Jockey Club was located off of what we now know as Ocean Avenue (then, Ocean Road). With development of the Sunset District decades away, this part of town was considered out of town. Along Ocean Road was a dog track, a shooting range and a number of roadhouses. The racetrack fit right in with the surrounding community and gambling operations that took place “out there.”
The racetrack was absolutely astonishing! The San Francisco Call touted it as the “inauguration of a new era in racing.” The 5,000-capacity grandstand was simple, yet serviceable in design, featuring steel, glass and wood parts. The inside featured multiple bars, dining rooms and a generous betting ring below. The Southern Pacific Railroad built a special line up to the opulent Spanish Revival clubhouse, a few hundred yards away.
On March 13, 1899, San Francisco banned wagering on races, forcing the racetrack’s closure two days later. The closure didn’t last long. The owners of the Ingleside Racetrack experimented with an unfamiliar type of racing: motor racing. In 1900, it hosted the first automobile race in California. (All but one racecar made it to the finish line. The other cars had either crashed or had engine problems.) In 1901, Ingleside reopened for Thoroughbred racing. That only lasted until 1905. The 1906 Earthquake and Fire put the racetrack in it’s final days. A new owner, Thomas Williams, had taken over just before the catastrophe. He offered the track to the city, free of charge, to serve as a more permanent refugee camp for many homeless and immigrant San Franciscans.
In 1910, the land was sold to Joseph A. Leonard’s Urban Realty Development Company for development. This past November marked the 120th anniversary of the opening of the original racetrack.
Ingleside Terraces was one of the eight Master-Plans residence parks in San Francisco. The neighborhood officially opened in 1913 offering Edwardian-era San Franciscans a true residential park. Today, Urbano Drive is in fact the exact loop of the racetrack! The neighborhood was supposed to be a model development, so when driving within the neighborhood you’ll see charming to grand style homes, all single-family and ranging from one to three bedrooms.
This sought-after residential neighborhood is popular to joggers and walkers solely because of it’s uniqueness and the surrounding natural and manmade beauty. What really attracts families into purchasing a home in this area is in fact the amount of space the neighborhood itself and individuals homes enjoy. All homes in Ingleside Terraces feature front and backyards — many are landscaped with drought and eco-friendly gardens. Beautiful, mature trees line the neighborhood’s streets, some well over 100 years old. Neighbors enjoy Ingleside Terraces’ seclusion and afternoon fog.
At the center of this beautiful neighborhood is a giant 28-foot marble and concrete sundial, which was once considered to be the largest in the world. The monument was intended to be a focal point for the neighborhood and its park on Entrada Court. Peculiarly, the sundial’s opening ceremony was held at night.
Located in San Francisco’s upscale fourth district, Twin Peaks West, Ingleside Terraces now offers modern city dwellers a quiet, peaceful, almost suburban atmosphere with easy access to urban amenities. This affluent neighborhood enjoys eclectic architecture, with an emphasis on Craftsman style. Perfectly tucked away from busy throughways, Ingleside Terraces still enjoys convenient access to Ocean Avenue, Holloway Avenue, Junipero Serra Boulevard and 19th Avenue. Among those streets are Stonestown Galleria, K-Ingleside Muni light rail, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University.
Homes in San Francisco’s Twin Peaks West district sold for a median price of $1,400,000 in November 2015, a 21.5% increase from median home sales prices in November 2014 ($1,152,000). Active listings in District 4 fell 51.1% in November 2015 from the previous year, making homes in this neighborhood desperately in-demand.