In the 19th century, the perceived need to conquer Nature was a powerful driver for development. Black powder was soon deemed inadequate for the task – a more powerful substance able to blast through rock and mountainside was needed. Chemist Alfred Nobel rose to the challenge, discovering that oil of nitroglycerin had five times the explosive power of black powder. He formed an exclusive partnership with a pioneer San Francisco company, Bandmann, Nielsen & Co., to manufacture and sell the new blasting oil in California. Yet, when transport of the unstable substance led to scores of deaths worldwide, Nobel sought a fix, finding it in his new invention he called "Dynamite." After personally licensing his invention to Bandmann, Nielsen & Co., the first dynamite factory in the United States – Giant Powder Works – began operations in 1868 in what is today’s Glen Canyon Park. Designated as California Historical Landmark No. 1002 in 1991, Glen Canyon is forever linked with Alfred Nobel, serving as the foundation for the wealth he later bequeathed to establish the prestigious Nobel Prizes.
Our speaker, Evelyn Rose, received her Doctor of Pharmacy at UCSF and is currently working in medical communications. Evelyn moved to San Francisco in 1978 and has been a resident of Glen Park and Diamond Heights in the heart of the City for the past 25 years. In 2002, she became a docent at Muir Woods National Monument where she became the monument’s volunteer historian, receiving the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2011. Evelyn launched her history blog, Tramps of San Francisco, (www.TrampsofSanFrancisco.com) in 2012 to rediscover some of the forgotten histories of the City by the Bay. Evelyn is the founder and chairperson of the Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project (www.GlenParkHistory.org), which meets every other month. Evelyn leads history walks in the Glen Park district, and writes a quarterly history column for the Glen Park News. The GPNHP received the Walter G. Jebe, Sr. Neighborhood Award from the San Francisco History Association in 2016.