Six Degrees of Separation: Nobel Prize, Glen Canyon

Recently, local historian Evelyn Rose gave a slide-show and talk at Glen Canyon about its history (and even prehistory).  One interesting piece involved … why Glen Canyon is connected to the Nobel Prize. (She also wrote a piece about it, some years ago. That’s HERE.)

1. Alfred Nobel, working with nitroglycerin in Sweden, invented Dynamite in the early 1860s.

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite

Alfred Nobel invented dynamite

2. He licensed it to Julius Bandmann of San Francisco, who incorporated the Giant Powder Company in 1867.

giant powder company

The Giant Powder Company was the first US company to make dynamite

3. The factory was built on land leased in Rock Gulch – as Glen Canyon was then known. This was the first American dynamite manufacture. 

... in Glen Canyon.

Glen Canyon Park in San Francisco, where America’s first dynamite factory operated for a year

4.  The Giant Powder Company started manufacture in 1868, months before Nobel was granted patents for dynamite. (However, the factory didn’t last long at that site. It blew up one evening, 15 months later, and was restarted in the sand dunes of the Sunset district.)

Distributing dynamite

Distributing dynamite

5.  Alfred Nobel grew very wealthy from his invention.

Nobel grew very wealthy

Nobel grew very wealthy from his invention

6. He left his fortune for the establishment of the Nobel Prize.

A picture of the Nobel Prize medal

A picture of the Nobel Prize medal

No one knows quite where the factory was, but Evelyn Rose estimates that it was around where the Glen Park Recreation Center is now. At that time, Islais Creek was a rivulet, and carried a lot of water down to the Bay, and cattle grazed the hillsides of  the Gulch.


Evelyn Rose is a San Francisco history buff who maintains the Tramps of San Francisco website and blog.

This entry was posted in General and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s