Wino Park closed after less than three years. A victim of Puritanism.
The park was on 6th St. and Minna, the center of San Francisco winos and streetpeople. About 70 feet wide by 125 feet long, with benches, chemical toilets, a basketball hoop, a raised grass area and landscaping. The park was managed and cleaned by park residents, who proudly wore the black embroidered jackets with 6th Street Park on them.
I created the park. The number of stories I could tell are nearly limitless. The reason I mention Wino Park is to remind myself that it closed because of Puritanism and no park like it has ever been build since in the US.
Nearly every day the park was open I was asked, “How many people have you gotten off drugs?”, “How many Park people have gotten jobs?”, “Are the Park people going to detox programs?” Finally, the Puritan elements of the city, in the form of a 100% false scandal expose' by the Hearst Examiner, created too much pressure to keep the Park open. Puritanism closed the park.
My mentor, Peter Sherrill, defined Puritanism as “the fear that somebody, somewhere is having more fun than I am”. The idea that winos sitting around all day, day after day, visiting friends and not working, seemed to evoke that Puritan fear.