Yerba Buena Gardens is two blocks of public parks in the Mission District of San Francisco, California.
The first block opened in 1993 and includes several public art installations and flowers beds along paved walkways.
The second block of the park opened in 1998 and includes a Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial, located behind the waterfall fountain. This fountain is the largest on the West Coast.
Portions of Martin Luther King’s speeches are etched in glass behind the waterfall.
According to wikipedia, the act of entering the Fountain from the Garden, reading the text from North wall to East and exiting back out into the garden represents ‘a cultural pilgrimage and contemplative metaphorical journey of transformation,’ similar to the Southern tradition of baptism by full immersion in water – reminiscent of Old School Baptist churches.
Yerba Buena Gardens received the Gold Medal of the Biannual Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence in 1999, but its development has been a local struggle. Taking over 3 decades to execute, its history included evictions and harassment of previous tenants in the area who joined together to fight for their rights.