Elizabeth Bayard Weedon moved to Homestead Valley shortly after graduating from Vassar College in 1960. “Betsy” became an accomplished writer, poet, horsewoman, master gardener and noted philanthropist. She also became a great benefactor to Homestead Valley. In the 1970s and 1980s, she purchased several acres of undeveloped land and donated it for open space. Weedon Redwoods across La Verne Ave. from Stolte Grove provided access via the Eagle trail to Homestead Valley’s open space and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Another property on Tamalpais Dr. is also adjacent to open space. She died in 2006 and bequeathed her home on Tamalpais Drive and an adjacent lot on Ridgewood Ave. to the San Francisco Zen Center with the understanding that her property, a total of 2.25 acres, would never be developed.
The San Francisco Zen Center, established in 1962, is one of the largest Buddhist assemblies outside Asia with three practice places: City Center in San Francisco, Green Gulch Farm near Muir Beach and Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, inland from Big Sur. These three complementary practice centers offer daily meditation, regular monastic retreats and practice periods, classes, lectures, and workshops. Betsy’s father, philosophy professor William S. Weedon, was a benefactor of the San Francisco Zen Center. Betsy’s memorial service was held at Green Gulch Farm.
There was ample evidence of Betsy’s desire that her property not be developed, but her will lacked specifics. The San Francisco Zen Center could have profited handsomely from selling her properties for development. Several months of legal discussions were required to settle her estate. The result was a grant deed specifying that the house may only be used for residential, meditative or religious purposes, and that no new buildings shall be sited on the adjacent lot.
Betsy lived in Homestead Valley for over 40 years. Her legacy to Homestead Valley is over six acres of land that will never be developed.
Betsy’s legacy lives on in an event called ARTvision Atlanta, launched in
her honor by her nephew, William S. W. Pollock, and is now in its 9th year
of fundraising. ARTvision has raised more than $50,000 for various
charities and even inspired a spin-off book entitled Pizza for Good.
If you have comments or questions about this article or other topics
pertaining to the history of Homestead Valley,
please feel free to e-mail Chuck Oldenburg.