Glen Park: The Bosses from Hell
George and Harry Gray gave even unbridled capitalism a bad name. The brothers made millions running strip quarries in Glen Park and on Telegraph Hill. For 20 years they cheerfully dynamited the south face of Telegraph Hill ignoring the destruction they created and the court orders to stop. An early environmental movement led by Alice Griffith saved Telegraph hill but the damage caused by the Gray brothers causes landslides in the winter even today.
Their blasting operations in Glen Park damaged local homes and injured children, but George and Harry were unperturbed. Their bribes to the corrupt city government protected them. The Gray brothers were also notorious for not paying their employees who were often forced to take them to court. The city attorney called the Gray brothers “constant law breakers.”.
In their spare time, they probably pulled the wings off flies and ran over kittens and puppies.
In 1914 Joe Lococco, a 26 year old immigrant from Italy worked for them but quit because of failing health. Because he had not been at work on payday (he had been sick in bed). Harry Gray did not pay him his back wages. Because of Gray's actions, Lococco’s family had not eaten for two days and was facing eviction from their Potrero Hill apartment. In desperation Lococo went to see Gray again at the 29 and Castro street quarry. When Gray laughed at Joe’s tale of misery. Lococco lost control. He pulled out a gun and killed Gray. When he realized what he had done he gasped, "God, forgive me."
Whether God forgave him is a complex theological issue on which there may be conflicting opinion. Whether San Francisco forgave him is a simple matter of history. Following a sensational trial in April 1915, the jury found Lococco not guilty by reason of temporary insanity and happily released him.