Intersection of Atwood, Bulkley & Harrison, Sausalito CA 94965
Neighborhood: Above the Bridgeway Promenade. No water or rest rooms. Almost no parking in the area -- the best way to visit is to park downtown and walk up the hill. Click here to return to the Sausalito Parks Index Page.
This one has a sad story behind it, but offers us a quiet place to think about its message and a reminder of how good friends can preserve someone's memory for over 100 years.
Daniel O'Connell was an Irish writer and poet who worked for the San Francisco Chronicle in the late 1800's. He is remembered most as one of the founders of the Bohemian Club, which in 1872 was home to authors, composers and journalists but now includes many famous and powerful politicians. He was a grand-nephew of the 18th century Irish patriot of the same name.
O'Connell lived in Sausalito, on the first block of Cazneau St. a few blocks up the hill from the new Fire and Police buildings. From all accounts he was both a respected writer and a likable guy.
In 1899, at the age of 50, O'Connell caught a cold that turned into pneumonia and he died. How many of us have been diagnosed with a pneumonia of some kind in this modern age? (It's happened to me twice,) Reminds us how much tougher things were 100 years ago.
The Sausalito community and the San Francisco journalists were deeply upset by his loss. They built a memorial granite bench to him at the intersection of three Sausalito hillside streets, with a broad view of the Bay. A mosaic floor depicts a clover in honor of his Irish roots (see photo below).
Some sources list the bench as concrete, but the memorial itself is in fact carved granite from Madera County, with his name and a favorite poem.
Some of the Bay view is obscured now, but it's a short walk from downtown and a peaceful world away from the rush of Sausalito in the summertime. Walk up Princess St. from Bridgeway, follow the steps or the street to turn left at Bulkley, and after a few twists and turns it will be on your right. Parking in the area is reserved for residents and there isn't much, so walking is the way to go.
Insiders Tip: In July or so a fruit tree adjacent to the bench is raided by local birds, which leave pulp and stains on the bench. It's a great quiet place to sit for a few minutes, but you may want to bring a shopping bag or newspaper to sit on if it's mid-summer.
OurSausalito.com Sr. Editor Sabine Stetson found the following account of the creation of the monument in a library record of a July 25, 1914 Sausalito News newspaper, which was in a letter to the editor (great work, Sabine!):
My Dear Mrs. Story-
After our conversation regarding the Dan O'Connell monument, I went directly to Mr. Charles Rollo Peters and got the following story:
Funds gathered from everywhere, excepting two small contributions from Sausalito. The principal contributors being Mr. J. V. Coleman, Charles Foster, Theo. Paine, Warren Paine, Emile Brugulere and Mr. Charles Rollo Peters, who gave a picture which sold for $750.
Newton J. Thorpe [a prominent turn of the century San Francisco architect] did the design gratis. Raymond Granite Company furnished the material gratis. Sausalito gave the ground and the spot chosen was on account of Its commanding view and its close proximity to Dan O'Connell's "camp."
Cordially yours, CHARLES J DICKMAN.
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