Dianne Feinstein, a significant figure in modern politics and a pioneer for women in U.S. politics passed away on Thursday, September 28, 2023. A San Francisco native, Feinstein was born in 1933 and graduated from Stanford University in 1955. Notably, she served as San Francisco’s first woman mayor and later became the longest-serving woman senator in U.S. history.
Feinstein started her political career many decades ago when she was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1969 and became acting Mayor of San Francisco in 1978 after George Moscone and Harvey Milk were tragically assassinated.
As a San Francisco native, Feinstein has a long history and many connections to the city. While many of her contributions to SF are widely recognized, there are some things you may not know about the former senator and her time in SF that may surprise you.
Feinstein had many “firsts” under her belt
Feinstein was the first woman to head the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the first female Mayor of San Francisco, and the first female senator in California.
Feinstein kicked off the first-ever Fleet Week celebration in 1981
Feinstein and her husband gifted bison to the paddock in Golden Gate Park
Feinstein’s husband gave her two bison that were donated to Golden Gate Park for her birthday in 1984. The Feinstein family continued to support the bison paddock, having donated $50,000 in 2020 to purchase 5 new bison for the paddock.
Feinstein raced fellow politician Lee Dolson down the Esmeralda slides in 1979
The now beloved Esmeralda Slide Park was opened in 1979, early into Feinstein’s time as mayor. At the park’s dedication party, Feinstein raced and beat District Supervisor Lee Dolson down the slides.
She was a member of Villa Tavern, a private dining club on SF’s oldest street
Feinstein was a member of the exclusive dining club Villa Tavern, founded in 1958. The club features Italian cuisine and has an ancient Roman statue marking the entrance on SF’s oldest street, Hotaling Place.