Pinpoint: Lake Merced

Curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat

Happy Valentine’s Day!

As we announced on our first February post, Sunday blogs (#SmarterEverySunday) will feature photography–and travel–destinations in and around the city of San Francisco once in every two weeks. We will be featuring destinations in the Bay Area and beyond as we expand throughout this journey.

In this week’s #SmarterEverySunday post, GGU Social is here to inform you about Lake Merced and its park with a little bit of background story. Grab your box of chocolate and get ready to learn some interesting stories about Lake Merced!

Lake Merced Park

LakeMerced Aerial

Lake Merced Park is a 614-acre park located in the southwest of San Francisco, neighboring three golf courses, San Francisco Police Department Pistol Range and a skeet shooting club, Pacific Rod & Gun Club.


Lake Merced trail
Photo Credit:

The park has a 4.5-mile paved trail that circles the lake’s perimeter and includes facilities such as a boathouse, fishing pier, and boat launch, as well as picnic areas. Above is a photograph of one-of-many beautiful trails located within the park.


Lake Merced

Lake Merced 1920
Photo Credit:

Lake Merced was initially named Laguna de Nuestra Señora de la Merced in 1775 by Captain Don Bruno de Heceta, who was a Spanish explorer of the Pacific Northwest. The name was Spanish for “the Lake of Our Lady of Mercy” and it was officially changed to “Lake Merced” in 1895 by a board decision.

Lake Merced Bridge
Photo Credit: GoWowTeam

Despite all the rumor, Lake Merced is a natural freshwater lake and a home to many different fish species such as rainbow trout, catfish, black bass, carp and sunfish. To those who are enjoy fishing, this beautiful lake has an active recreational fishing, you can either get on your kayak or sit on the waterside and drop yourself some bass.

Drop the B

Get it?

The Land of Gunslingers

Terry & Broderick

Though, Lake Merced is not All About That Bass. 

Aside from its beauty, trails and variety of fish, it also has a pretty interesting involvement in history that not many people know about. The lake witnessed the last notable American duel fought between United States Senator David C. Broderick (on the right), of California, and ex-Chief Justice David S. Terry (on the left), of the Supreme Court of California, on September 13, 1859. Terry and Broderick had been friends up until their political disagreements led to strong resentments which ultimately caused one to a cha challenge that took place in a ravine near Lake Merced. In result of the duel, Broderick died a hero and a martyr for his fight against slavery, Terry was demonized in the newspapers and later on, got arrested at his home.

Duel Site

Photo Credit:

Two granite pillars were erected in 1949 to represent the participants of the last notable American duel. The pillars have Terry’s and Broderick’s names carved on them:

Terry v broderickBroderick-Terry Duel site is located right outside Lake Merced Park and open for public.

Wrapping up

Our next post for #SocialWednesday will cover the upcoming events at GGU and a recap of our Valentine’s Day Mixer along with the photos from the event! Please let us know what you think of GGU Social so far, and submit the topics and features you would like us to include by e-mailing us at! You can also contribute in this 2-question survey to let us know a little bit about your thoughts.


Until Wednesday,
Tarik A.

GGU Social Did You Know 2-14


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