In the early 20th century, the De Laveaga Dell was a vibrant part of the still very young Golden Gate Park, replete with three waterfalls cascading into the creek at its western boundary. In an effort to conserve during California’s cyclical droughts, unsustainable water features throughout San Francisco’s parks were eliminated.
In 2011, the National AIDS Memorial Grove set the goal for restoring the last remaining waterfall and the adjoining Dry Creek. The reintroduction of water, utilizing state-of-the-art recycling and conservation technology, will improve the natural landscape, restore wildlife habitat and promote a sense of peace and healing in the Memorial. A new community effort, led by the family, friends and colleagues of Frances McCormick, in collaboration with the Grove, is seeking to realize this goal.
For nearly 18 years, Frances McCormick served as a mechanical engineer with the City and County of San Francisco, specializing in the improvement of public water systems. Her tenure with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the Department of Public Works was devoted to designing water treatment, distribution, conservation and restoration projects.
On April 25, 2010, Frances passed away while scuba diving in the waters of Monterey Bay, one of her many passions. In their grieving, Frances’ wife and daughter, Lisa and Isabel Cohn, visited the Grove in search of a place to remember Frances and to heal. The desired restoration of the waterfall was recognized as a perfect tribute to Frances – reflecting the spirit of her life’s work and her dedication to giving back to the community.
Over the next several months, there will be many opportunities to participate in this exciting community effort, including an upcoming project kickoff event and volunteer workdays at the restoration site. Currently, we are launching an initial capital campaign. Our goal is for 100 people to contribute $100 each.
Of course, donations of any amount – large or small – are deeply appreciated. All donors will be acknowledged on The Falls webpage, and all donations are tax deductible. These funds will be utilized to help with expenses that may not be covered through volunteer efforts, or other donations and funding sources.
The National AIDS Memorial Grove and the family, friends and former co-workers of Frances McCormick invite you to become a part of this memorial project.