Lincoln Park Steps

 Posted by on August 10, 2015
Aug 102015

Lincoln Park
End of California Street

Lincoln Park was dedicated to President Lincoln in 1909.  At the terminus of California street just past 32nd Avenue sit the Lincoln Park Steps.  These steps date to the time of the park and were the access for the surrounding neighborhood.  If you simply sit on the benches at the top of the hill you can enjoy views of downtown and fog permitting, the East Bay hills.

A photo from the early days of the area

A photo from the early days of the area

In 2007 Friends of Lincoln Park began a campaign to have the stairs structurally supported and brought back to their glory days.


With the help of the San Francisco Parks Alliance, William Duff Architects and BV builders the stairs sit more elegantly than ever.

Lincoln Park Steps

Artist Aileen Barr, who has been in this website many times for her tile stairways and other tile work around San Francisco, was the lead artist on the project.

From left: Riley Dotey, Phylece Snyder and Aileen Barr

From left: Riley Doty, Aileen Barr and Phylece Snyder

She was aided in her efforts with tile setters Riley Doty and Phylece Snyder. The tiles, stamped periodically with the names of the project’s donors and sponsors, came from  Fireclay Tile and Heath Ceramics.

Screen Shot 2015-06-08 at 8.34.47 AM

The project was done in two parts.

Phase 1 consisted of the structural improvements and art tiles for the top bench and retaining wall. This phase was completed in 2010. You can see pictures, and read about that phase here.

Phase 2 included the structural repair and tile placement to the stairs, pillars and midway benches. The cost of the structural repairs were funded in part by a grant given to Friends of Lincoln Park for $180,000 from the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, Community Opportunity Fund. The grant was contingent on the success of Friends of Lincoln Park to raise private funds of at least $250,000 to cover the cost of the art tiles and installation

Visit Aileen Barr’s website for a larger view of her work.

Tile Benches at Alta Plaza

 Posted by on January 13, 2014
Jan 132014

Alta Plaza
Pacific Heights

Tile Benches at SF Alta Park


There are two benches in the children’s area of Alta Plaza Playground covered in beautiful tile mosaics.

Commissioned by Friends of Alta Plaza Park, the artist, Aileen Barr, combined handmade tile and mosaic to create the two seating walls for the newly renovated playground. A series of donor tiles are integrated into the design, which display the names of community members who contributed to the fund for the renovation. The seating walls measure 30 ft and 50 ft in length.

Alta Plaza Playground Tile Benches


Aileen Barr has been in this website many times, you can see her other work here.

Aileen Barr Tile Work*

Tile bench at top of Pac Heights Park*

Tiles in the bench at Alta Plaza in Pac Heights SF



Tile Benches by Aileen Barr in Pacific Heights


The scope of this renovation was focused on the play area, which was renovated to comply with the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s guidelines for playground safety, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Title 24 of the California Building Code. An accessible route to the play area was provided as a part of the project, along with ADA renovations to the existing restroom.  The cost of the renovation was $817,850.



Lincoln Park – Tile Bench

 Posted by on April 27, 2012
Apr 272012
Lincoln Park/Sea Cliff
32nd and California
Aileen Barr

This project was made possible by the Friends of Lincoln Park, San Francisco Parks Trust and the San Francisco Department of Parks and Recreation.

Aileen Barr has a large body of tile work around San Francisco. She studied Ceramic Design at the National College of Art and Design In Dublin, Ireland, graduating in 1985. She worked in New York for a number of years and it was here that she discovered her fascination with handmade tile. Working in tile and architectural ceramics allows for the creation of larger works of art and can open up endless possibilities.

The imagery for the Lincoln Park bench was derived from historic photographs from the 1890s, including the Sutro Baths and the Midwinter International Exposition in 1894, filtered through Barr’s creative vision. The tiles themselves were produced in Barr’s ceramic studio in San Francisco, supplemented by the rectangular tiles supplied by Heath Ceramics in Sausalito.

Installation of the tiles was a challenge, handled by Riley Doty and Phylece Snyder, with assistance from Justin Unverricht.

Jul 012011
24th and York

This is another mosaic by  Colette Crutcher, this time, in collaboration with her husband, Mark Roller and friend Aileen Barr.   The park is at 24th and York in San Francisco.  It is a wonderful little mini park in a terrific part of the Mission District. This giant mosaic statue of the Mesoamerican snake-god Quetzalcoatl and it’s playful fountain is the focal point of the park.  Quetzalcoatl started as a concrete structure and then was covered with broken commercial tile, and hundreds of handmade tiles.
The park used to be a neighborhood eyesore, filled with pretty scary folks just lounging in the park, but thanks to a million-dollar 2006 beautification project, the 24th & York Street Mini Park was transformed into an urban oasis.
Across the street is the vintage St. Francis Soda Fountain, where you can get milkshakes and sandwiches like when you were a kid, or just hang out and wait for the strolling ice cream carts to come by.
This part of town is covered with murals, thanks primarily to Precita Eyes.  Precita Eyes was established in 1977 as an inner city, community based, mural arts organization.  I will be coming back to them from time to time as I explore the murals in this neighborhood over the next few days.
All of Quetzalcoatl with the fountain running.  This is one of those fountains, that turns itself on and off and surprises you, but it is so warm in this part of town, that it is often welcoming.
Most of the walls in the park are covered in murals. Many of them by Michael Rios, who designed many of Carlos Santana’s album covers in the 1970’s.  Carlos Santana and Rios grew up in the neighborhood and Rios still lives there.
These three pieces are pierced steel.  They remind me of pierced steel lamps you find all over Mexico, but I could find nothing about them, nor who made them.
Jun 302011

This amazing set of stairs is at 16th Avenue and Moraga in San Francisco.  The artists are Colette Crutcher and Aileen Barr.   This 163 step stairway was a collaboration of the Golden Gate Heights Neighborhood Association and the San Francisco Parks Trust.  Colette and Aileen led a group of over 300 volunteers in making 163 mosaic panels, with over 200 neighbors sponsoring handmade tiles that are embedded in the mosaic.  Colette and Aileen wrote an amazing book about the project, and you can buy it through a link on Colette’s website. I suggest you visit the stairs yourself, enjoy the mosaics and climb them, the view at the top is absolutely unbelievable!