Friday, July 5, 2013

Rossi, the man and the playground --- Day 2/176

Walk: Mindful Body (2)
Distance: 20 blocks, teach yoga class, take yoga class

Yesterday CIWT walked to Rossi Playground and today it occurred to me I have no idea who Rossi was.  So off to my favorite charity (I do donate), Wikipedia to learn about Angelo Joseph Rossi (1878-1948).

For anyone interested in the history of San Francisco, Rossi's biography is it in microcosm - right from the opening paragraph

Angelo Joseph Rossi (January 22, 1878 – April 5, 1948) was a U.S. political figure who served as the 31st mayor of San Francisco. He was the first mayor of 100% Italian descent of a major U.S city (top 10 most populous U.S. cities between 1776 and 1931).
Rossi was born in VolcanoAmador CountyCalifornia, and came to San Francisco in 1890 with his widowed mother and six siblings after the family home and general store burned to the ground in minutes. (His father, also named Angelo, left Italy in 1849 at the age of 16 aboard a ship loaded with marble that departed from Genoa. When he arrived in Amador County, he mined for gold and opened his general store.) When Angelo arrived in San Francisco with his family in 1890, he attended school but left after 6th grade to work in jobs that ranged from cash boy to a clerk in a couple of different florist shops, including Carbone and Sons and Pelicano and Sons, which became Pelicano and Rossi when he became a partner in the early 1900s. Eventually he opened his own company, Angelo J. Rossi, Inc., and during his tenure in office the florist company continued to operate in a sparkling Art Deco-motif building Angelo owned at 45 Grant Avenue.
Who is the last florist/mayor you can think of - or the last San Francisco Republican, which Rossi was?  And what's more San Francisco than 'Art Deco-motif' architecture.  Oh, I know, the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges! These - along with many other San Francisco landmarks - were built under Rossi's watch. And the violent San Francisco General Strike of 1934 was broken up under Rossi's supervision with the next event being his investigation of police corruption.  (Does this trajectory away from the 'bucolic' seem familiar?)  In his long tenure, Rossi became known on the national stage - which San Francisco was just entering - communicated personally with Roosevelt and was close personal friends with Fiorello La Guardia.

Rossi Playground is one of the largest, nicest, best maintained parks in the city recreation and parks system.  It has two baseball fields, a large grass area, three tennis courts, a full basketball court, an indoor pool, and separate play areas for older children and younger tots.

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