Nearly three decades after San Francisco named a public meadow in honor of a local gay political pioneer, signage to alert park goers of the recognition will be dedicated this weekend.
The ceremony to unveil the new sign denoting the Bill Kraus Meadow and Pathway in Corona Heights Park will take place at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 11 at the city-owned open space. The entrance to the meadow is located at the corner of Museum and Roosevelt ways.
Details for the event are still being finalized. It will occur on the anniversary of Kraus’ death in 1986 at the age of 38. Kraus had battled AIDS and contracted meningitis a few weeks prior to his death.
The Midwest transplant worked as a campaign adviser and political aide starting in the mid 1970s for progressive politicians such as the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk, his successor, Supervisor Harry Britt, and late Congress members Phillip and Sala Burton. Saturday mornings Kraus would often head to Corona Heights Park to strategize and catch up with friends.
While a memorial bench with a plaque bearing Kraus’s name was installed in the protected green space, until now there had not been anything declaring that the meadow and pathway were named after him.
Last year John Mehring, who had known Kraus through the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, organized a group of volunteers, unofficially dubbed the Friends and Supporters of Bill Kraus, to raise money and petition parks officials, as well as boosters of Corona Heights Park, to support erecting proper signage at the park.
The memorial sign will be attached to the back of the Recreation and Parks Department’s trail sign at the entrance to the park from Roosevelt Way.
“On Friday, I saw the memorial sign in the shop where it was made … and it looks wonderful!” wrote Mehring in an email sent Sunday, January 5 announcing the dedication ceremony.