Jan 22, 2024 - News

Golden Gate Park's Stow Lake renamed Blue Heron Lake

Photo of two boats paddling along the lake against the backdrop of a red pavilion

Visitors paddle boat on Stow Lake past the Chinese pavilion in Golden Gate Park in 2017. Photo: Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group via Getty Images

After months of deliberation, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission has voted to change the name of Golden Gate Park's idyllic Stow Lake to Blue Heron Lake.

Why it matters: Local Jewish groups had pushed the city for years to rename the lake, which was completed in 1893 and named after a 19th-century politician who attempted to tax Jews to discourage them from opening businesses.

Driving the news: Blue Heron Lake was the public's most-suggested name, according to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. The birds typically nest on the lake's Strawberry Hill in April and May.

  • "The Blue Heron, a creature that ... symbolizes patience, resilience and good fortune, reflects our San Francisco values," Supervisor Myrna Melgar (District 7), who spearheaded the renaming effort, said in a news release.
  • "Antisemitism and hate have no place in our city nor in Golden Gate Park, and now we are one step closer to rectifying the pain that Assemblymember Stow caused to the Jewish and other communities across California," Melgar added.
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