At the center of Stow Lake, a small hill offers fantastic views of western San Francisco.
A perfect place for a picnic lunch, the park’s earliest days revolved around Sweeney’s Observatory which stood on this lovely spot until it was destroyed in the 1906 earthquake. The Colosseum-like structure was built in 1891 as a picturesque vista point (rather than an astronomical observatory) accessible by carriage ride for day-trippers and picnickers alike.
Today, only the barest traces of possible foundation stones can be discerned, all other traces of the building are sadly long gone. The earthquake of 1906 took out the observatory (along with many other structures around the park), and was never rebuilt. It still remains a lovely spot for a picnic.