A Project of the San Francisco Parks Alliance & the Department of Public Works "Street Parks" Program

Some backstories - Flight H (2nd from bottom)

"I have two tiles. ... The other tile is simply my name."


Editor's note: See "Lucy the Silver Snout" on this page (Riser #H118) for Brian's other tile.







"This is a memorial tile to celebrate my husband who died in 2006. We went on walks and photographed stairways with my mother., Adah Bakalinsky, author of "San Francisco Stairway Walks."






"I have lived in the sunset for over 30 years and my wife and I support anything that beautifies the Sunset. When I was growing up, I used to take these steps all the time and remember them fondly on Christmas Days when my brothers and I skateboarded from my house to my Aunt's house. I lived on 16th and Quintara and my aunt lived on 16th and Judah."







     "Jenny and I are married. We lived in San Francisco the first 3 years of our marriage. Maya, our first child, was born in SF in 1996 and we lived in a small 700 square foot apt in the inner Richmond area. Lian is our second child born in 1999 in Santa Rosa where we live now. For the past 19 years we have made San Francisco and the area where the steps are part of our second home. We often visit once per week, go for walks, hang out in local shops, visit museums, etc. We are there so much we find ourselves giving directions to the locals and tourists.
      The tile is meant to signify two of the most important things for our family. 1) Us together and 2) Our "second home" San Francisco... Our hope is that no matter how far we travel we can always return to those steps, touch that tile, and remember the love we have for each other as a family."   (H105)


"We started our family when we lived right on the corner of 16th ave. and Kirkham and lived at that corner for 6 years. The bright blue building on the corner has a big piece of our heart, and we watched the steps evolve from a plain concrete staircase into a beautiful piece of art. We used to walk up the steps to get to Grandview park and would see them every time we walked from our home."





"I’m a retired public health nurse who served patients at Laguna Honda Hospital. I live in a condo on Diamond Heights. The Sierra Club had a walking tour of steps in San Francisco. Being a member, I was on the walking tour, and ladies were talking about a new tiled steps, and someone gave me a brochure. I took it home, and decided to get a tile and put my husband’s and my name on the tile. My husband was a wonderful, wonderful man with a home in Pleasanton, but when we were married (late, I might add), he moved into our condo. He is dead now, but his name lives on in my heart and on the Hidden Garden Steps. I love this city, and take every advantage of making it more beautiful. And the steps are beautiful."   (H106)


Editor's Note: My husband, Tom Hall, and I sailed a 38' sloop across the Pacific from Seattle, WA to New Zealand in 1984. The "143" is associated with a lighthouse off my mother's beach (the Minot's Ledge Light guarding the rocks going into Boston harbor) which blinks "143" [which the digits count and the locals claim is "I love you" and is engraved on our wedding rings]. The "on the 7th Wave" is the mystical wave which we sailed over many times on our sail to New Zealand. (H107)




"Our tile came about because we had procrastinated and missed our chance to sponsor a tile on the Moraga Steps. So when the Hidden Garden Stairs project was announced, we jumped at having a second opportunity, this time on stairs much closer to where we live (just a few blocks down 16th). We love taking visitors to the stairs, and love being part of this wonderful project."





  "It is me and my significant other's names, somewhat shortened. We have been together for 20 years and will not marry until everyone is able to and probably not then either.
     We are friends with Colette Crutcher. And we love these outdoor mosaics."






"I gave this tile to my niece, who lives in the Sunset, and is currently a student at the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts."




"Our family (five people) simply entered our initials: LBR, MMR, KJR, DCG, VRG. As my husband wrote, "We were involved with ISPN as supporters of various prior projects (since we live in the neighborhood). It was only right to support something as cool and beautiful as HGS.""






"Born and raised in the Sunset, I stumbled upon the a flyer about the mosaic project while jogging up these very steps and wanted to contribute to (and immortalize myself via) local art that would benefit the community."







"Formed in 1987 the Tile Heritage Foundation is “THE” national organization for the Preservation of Ceramic Surfaces in the US - both past and present… the Hidden Garden Steps is a perfect example of ‘tile art for posterity’.. iconic in every way, embracing the past, eclipsing the present. For more about the work undertaken by Tile Heritage, here is a link to ‘What we do’ http://www.tileheritage.org/pdfs/Tile-Heritage-Today.pdf
We, the founders of Tile Heritage, Joseph Taylor and Sheila Menzies, are closely and emotionally connected to all tile art and the protection of it. We know the steps quite intimately- as well as the artists, Aileen Barr & Colette Crutcher. We have documented tile installations around San Francisco on buildings, & in buildings, including ALL of the fabulous steps projects, we have documented and shared many tile installations in the Bay Area and across the country for 30 years!
BRAVO! for enhancing the documentation! Keep us posted and we’ll create a link to all of the new information you gather from donors - these stories are really what the tiles are all about.. connection to community." (H108)


Editor's Note: Rob is Liz McLoughlin's nephew. He, his sister Catharine and I rode our bicycles across the USA in 1999. Subsequently, he married Laura, and had two children, Lionel and Juniper. He was the one who suggested that we put "For all who went before and all who will come after" on our element. Although they are all on our Mission Blue Butterfly (Flight F backstory), I thought they derserved their own tile.




"Our son was born in San Francisco and we wanted a way to commemorate his birth by dedicating a tile in his name. We wanted him to have a permanent place to come and visit and feel at home.
Regarding the connection to the steps: In the face of a dynamically changing city, the steps represent the soul of San Francisco that we originally fell in love with."       (H110)

Plaque 110 is in honor of our granddaughters, Jess, Becca and Belle. I hope they will someday get to visit San Francisco and climb Hidden Garden Steps. AND-- the plaques are also in honor and support of the wonderful work of all the Hidden Garden Steps organizers and volunteers and especially my friend Liz McLoughlin. (H110)


"Thanks for putting together this living history of our neighborhood. This is the perfect tile for us as Deb's favorite color is orange. Debra and Dale moved to San Francisco in 1995. It was supposed to be a temporary move until they figured out where they really wanted to live. After they married two years later, it was clear this was where they really wanted to be. They have lived in the neighborhood since they first moved here and have a tile on the 16th Ave/Moraga steps, too. Can you find it?"




"I gave the tile to my husband, Eamon, for Valentine's day soon after we bought our home at 17th and Kirkham, just a block from the steps. Since I knew it would be a while before it would be created and placed on the steps, I took a spare tile from a kitchen project and wrote our names on it, wrapped it up with the Hidden Garden Steps brochure, and gave him that with a Valentine's Day card. We are both conservationists and creating green open spaces in the city is very important to us. Thanks for all your work on the steps, they are a treasure."   (H111)



"Our tile is a love note (L!) to our two boys, who were born during the planning and preparation of the stairs project. We wanted them to have a reminder, that was part of the fabric of their neighborhood, that would be around for them to visit for a long time to come. We live just up the street from the Hidden Garden Steps and are delighted by the joy and interest that they bring to our neighborhood."





"We moved to 16th Avenue in 1974 and love the neighborhood. The Moraga Stairs and the Hidden Garden Steps have introduced this cool neighborhood to thousands of people from around the world. Our favorite memory of the steps is watching the fireworks for the 50th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge from these steps."





"Since 2001, we go from Paris, France to San Francisco every year for our summer holidays. It's a city that we love to visit because life is so pleasant. We know San Francisco well and always like to discover new places.
It was during our June - July 2013 vacation that we discovered the Hidden Steps Garden project unintentionally. We were on our last days of vacation and wanted to visit the nearby Mt Sutro. After some research, we discovered Moraga Street on the web. The next day we went and found Grand View Park and the mosaics at Moraga Street are simply beautiful. After we walked into 16th Street and went downstairs on 16th Street. And down the steps we found a very nice painted bench and the Hidden Garden Steps project. We took a flyer and then we searched your website. We made a first donation with a mosaic: "REGIS & PETER 061297 » (you will notice that the date is written in French and not in English: for you it is June 6, 1997. It corresponds to our date of meeting).
Then we were so excited that we ordered a second mosaic (see below on H113). Finally Paul contacted us by email and sympathized. He wished to meet us the following year with his charming wife. We have become the best friends in the world." (H112)


"Our backstory is pretty simple. We were walking down 9th avenue when we met up with ladies manning a table in front of a shop. We were excited to be part of another beautiful staircase in San Francisco so we signed up. Our tile only has our names on it. We hope someday our kids and grandkids will go there to remember us."






"Then we were so excited that we ordered a second mosaic."








"We don't really have a backstory per se. We met each other here in San Francisco and moved to 11th Ave to start a family. Now we have 2 young kids (Zev & Leo) and we plan on living here in this lovely neighborhood for the rest of our lives."






"My family and I have been in the sunset district for over 14 years and we wanted to contribute to the community and although it's a small way it was important to us to be able to do something so local. Our names and "We love SF" reminds us that this is where our family started and no matter how old we are or how far we travel we can always come back to where it all began and remember these days that built our family and our community. P.S. - we recently had another baby and wonder if we can add his name..?     (H113)




"My parents, Al and Julie Alden (life-long San Franciscans), myself and my two older sisters lived on 16th Avenue (between Irving and Judah) from the summer of 1967 to 1989. During those years, my sisters and I all attended Herbert Hoover Middle School at one time or another and the 16th Avenue steps were often a shortcut home, either walking all the way from school or getting off the 66 bus at the top of the steps. (I have great memories of sliding down the banisters - what fun!) We all considered them "our stairs," so when the opportunity to have my parents' name on a tile came up, I wanted them to be recognized."    (H113)



"This sounds like a really fantastic project. I'd like to get the results so I can show my high school class as we do a lot of mosaic. The name I put on the stairs is of my sister, her husband and the initials of my nephews now grown. They have not been to San Francisco for over a decade, and when they do visit, I wanted them to have a piece of San Francisco they could call their own throughout the years, and generations ahead. I imagined they would be traveling with friends, spouses and families of their own, and would be able to show it off, as a unique, and imaginative experience that was theirs to share. I always thought Collette and Aileen were amazing in how their work reveals layers of meaning for the public in ways that is usually the privilege of the wealthy or art insiders. In the case of the stairs it is truly remarkable and generous that so many people can find so many ways to feel like a true participant in this project. To me, they have uncovered not just a stairway that was obscured by unpruned tree branches, but also - hidden ways to be part of a place that is beautiful and grander than what one person could own."   (H116)


"Lucy and Kody are my two children and i hope they grow up to be as vibrant, celebratory, and harmonious as the images on the steps! also,when my husband and i got married, we sponsored a tile on the Moraga St. steps to celebrate, and it seemed fitting to do something similar for our two kids. ...congratulations on the glorious and gorgeous steps!"

(H116 - Duplicate of F74 - by mistake, but the sentiments are super!)




"One step reads Liam & Oliver. Our boys were born in the Inner Sunset and we love our neighborhood. My husband and I share a love of art and the steps seemed like a unique opportunity to contribute to an artistic vision in our neighborhood that our boys will enjoy for years to come."   (H117)



"Our tile represents our family and our life in the Inner Sunset since 1996: Bruce Michael Eng, my wife Jeanne Leong Yee, son Kevin Leong Eng, and daughter Monica Leong Eng. My wife is a life long San Francisco resident. I am a transplant from New Jersey/New York (I love living in San Francisco since 1996!). Our children attended nearby Alice Fong Yu School SFUSD on 12th Avenue from 1996 to 2006, and they graduated from Galileo High School Academy of Science and Technology. I am an alumni Assistant Scoutmaster of Troop 15 BSA, at St. Anne church. So our tile represents a lot more than just our family but also being proud to be San Franciscans and being an active part of the Inner Sunset community. We hope all the tiles will be there for many years to come for everyone to enjoy and learn about each tile’s back-story.
The Hidden Garden Steps have been part of my exercise walks on my way up to Grandview Park since 1996. I met Paul Signorelli on the steps and found out about the tile project in its early planning stages. I shared my tile knowledge that I gained as project manager of the Galileo High School Commemorative Tile Project. I helped clear foliage and trash prior to the tile installation. I designed, laser etched and installed the 2 wooden HGS signs at the top and the middle of the staircase. I am so happy to have met and worked with the organizers of HGS and to talk with the many “tourists” that come to view the steps, and give them some history of HGS.”      (H117)


"I have two tiles. One says 'Lucy the silver snout.' That is the nickname for my dog Lucy who was just a puppy when donations were being collected. In fact, I discovered the HGS on one of my earliest walks with Lucy. I've attached a picture of her in front of her tile."






"I think this is a great idea! Five names on my tile are my own, my husband's, (we immigrated from Russia 40 ears ago) and of our 3 grandchildren who were born in CA."







"We wanted to be a part of this wonderful endeavor, since we have a lot of history in the Sunset and appreciate the artistic beatification of something as practical as a stairway. I used to traverse these same steps often, after school at St. Anne's. We relished in what seemed to be a mini wilderness at the top of the hill, before many of the homes were built. We returned to the Sunset, and my children walked these same steps from the same school that I went to. We have deep roots in the area and wanted to commemorate our connection as well as support this wonderful mosaic. One more set of steps on Kirkham yet to go!"         (H121)



Editor's note: Awaiting further instructions!








Editor’s note: Babs and Charlie live not far from the steps and donated a tile to the Hidden Garden Steps. Hence their names. Babs is interested in the fine arts, and Charlie is a retired UCSF professor. Babs is a loyal sweeper of the steps every Friday. Thank her if you climb the stairs while Babs is sweeping.