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Timeline

5,000 years ago - first human settlements in the San Francisco Peninsula.

1,500 years ago - Ohlone people displace Hokan people in the Bay Area. Possible Ohlone settlement along a small stream (now under 18th Street) and lake (filled in about a block SE of CDS).

Prior to 1776 - land was an Ohlone village called Chutchui.

1776 - the birthplace of San Francisco. The De Anza Expedition led by Lt. Jose Joaquin Moraga interacts with a small Ohlone village called Chutchui somewhere near the vicinity of CDS. A small church is constructed near Camp and Albion Streets.

1791 - the current Mission Dolores is dedicated. A village grows up across from it, including fruit trees planted in an orchard on what is now CDS. During the early Mission period, before the orchard was planted, the Ohlone and the clergy of the Mission kept a large flock of sheep on the site, a tradition that is carried on today in the form of CDS’ resident sheep.

1816 - the Mission San Francisco becomes known as “Pueblo Dolores.”

1834 - Mission Dolores secularized. The fruit orchard with 114 trees is valued at $334.

1834-1855 - During the Rancho and Early American periods in San Francisco, the Mission was the site of many races, bull and bear fights, and duels.

1856 - the land surrounding Mission Dolores is granted to the Roman Catholic Church by President James Buchanan.

1856 - present use of the land as an elementary school was established when Archbishop Joseph Sadoc Alemany gave part of the orchard land surrounding Mission Dolores to three young nuns from the Order of Notre Dame de Namur to start an elementary and secondary, boarding and day school for girls (College of Notre Dame). A series of school buildings were constructed on this site.

April 19, 1906 - one of the newly constructed school buildings was dynamited as a firebreak for Mission Dolores. Artifacts from the destruction of that building have been dug up by CDS students, as well as during trenching for new utility lines in 1996.

1908 - The destroyed school building was replaced with the building that today is the Notre Dame Plaza senior housing facility owned by Mercy Housing.

1925 - St. Joseph’s Hall, the present building used by CDS, is erected.

1976 - Notre Dame Elementary School for Girls merged with the Mission Dolores Boys’ School. Until 1986, St. Joseph’s Hall held the kindergarten through fourth grade classes for both schools. The fifth through eighth grades attended school across the street in the Mission Dolores School.

1981 - Notre Dame High School for Girls closed in Notre Dame Plaza (347 Dolores).

1983 - Jim Robinson founded Children’s Day School, a preschool, located in the Excelsior District of San Francisco.

1986 - Notre Dame Elementary School for Girls closed in St. Joseph’s Hall (333 Dolores) and was moved and consolidated with the Mission Dolores School.

1987 - Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur leased St. Joseph’s Hall to Children’s Day School.

1996 - Jim Robinson gave assets of CDS to a non-profit corporation started by a group of CDS parents. Sandra Luna, former Acting Head, became Head of School (now a non-profit, independent school) and initiated the vision of a preschool through eighth grade school grounded in the principles of social justice.

2001 - St. Joseph’s Hall and 1.2 acres purchased by CDS.

2002 - Rick Ackerly, Head of School, joins CDS.

2003 - CDS opens new middle school.

2006 - CDS graduates first class of eighth grade students.

2008 - 6,000 square foot, 3-floor Edwardian building adjacent to shared parking lot purchased by CDS.

2010 - Molly Huffman, Head of School, joins CDS.

2011 - CDS purchases new building at 601 Dolores Street to house growing student body (will become CDS middle school campus).

2015 - CDS’ new middle school campus at 601 Dolores opens.