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Street Naming Controversy--1909 - FoundSF
"The commission sought to address the confusion of numbered streets in the established area of the city versus the numbered avenues in the growing sections west of the cemeteries and the sparsely populated southern section of the city designated as "avenues, south." They worked at finding distinct names for all the numbered or lettered streets. In the Richmond and Sunset districts they devised a full set of Spanish names to conform to an alphabetical pattern for each of the numbered avenues. The scheme called for First Avenue to become Arguello, Second Avenue to become Borcia, Third Avenue to become Coronado, continuing for all 26 letters of the alphabet. Starting with Twenty-seventh Avenue, the streets would be designated by male or female saints, starting with San Antonio and ending with Santa Ynez at Forty-Seventh Avenue. Unable to find Spanish saints with names beginning with K, Q, W, X or Z, they chose first Alcatraz, then Ayala for Forty-eighth Avenue and La Playa for Forty-ninth Avenue.

For the east-west streets in these neighborhoods that were lettered, two breaks in the alphabetical pattern were already in place. "D" Street had already been made an extension of Fulton Street from downtown and the development of Golden Gate Park had eliminated streets bearing the letters E, F and G over thirty years previously. Since there were three minor streets named for Lincoln, the commission wanted to change the names of those streets and rename "H" Street to honor President Lincoln with the more prestigious thoroughfare that bordered the park. The commission then chose eight names for the remaining streets in the Sunset District as Ignacio, Joaquin, Kaweah, Linares, Moncado, Noriega, Ortega and Pacheco. They had only to name the first eight streets, because the Parkside Realty Company had already been using the last eight names, Quintara, Rivera, Santiago, Taraval, Ulloa, Vicente, Wawona and Xavier streets for the area it was developing. In the Bayview District in the southeast corner of the city, an alphabetical sequence of names commemorating patriotic military or civic heroes were suggested for both the numbered avenues and lettered streets.

When the San Francisco Chronicle first published Charles Murdock's ideas of changing the numbered avenues to names a year earlier on October 4, 1908, there was no notice taken by the neighborhood newspapers. The suggestion was speculative and suggested names of explorers, generals or statesmen for avenues in the Richmond, Sunset and Bayview. On November 8, 1909, the Commission on the Changing of Street Names submitted its suggested changes to the Board of Supervisors for first reading and it got an immediate reaction. All the daily newspapers showed full support for the changes. The Examiner published the entire list for all the public to read. The Call's editorial said, "some of the suggested Spanish names may be a little difficult of negotiation by the American tongue" but suggested that the city schools could address that problem as part of the history curriculum.

Topsy-Turvy Town

The Chronicle showed its support with the argument that "if we are ever to emulate our enterprising neighbor, Los Angeles, in attractiveness" employing "musical Spanish names which our history entitles us to appropriate" might even bring in tourist dollars to San Francisco. Despite the positive spin given by the newspapers, the idea of changing all the numbered avenues in the Richmond and Sunset Districts to Spanish names brought immediate negative reaction from the residents of those neighborhoods. Yet when the Board of Supervisors met one week later to address the street-naming issue, the two offended western neighborhoods argued that the names were so repugnant that if approved the "avenues" would forever be known as "Spanish Town." The Spanish "heroes" were vilified as robbers and freebooters and Spain was called "one of the worst nations that ever tyrannized over the human race." There were comical attempts at saying the "unpronounceable" names of Xavier and Ximenes.

Despite the heated rhetoric, the Board voted twelve to five in favor of the changes, and over 250 street names were altered as recommended. When this news got back to the Richmond and Sunset districts, action was immediate. The Richmond had the oldest continuously operating neighborhood improvement club in the city and had been fighting the downtown bureaucracy for years to get services. They were politically savvy and would not tolerate being treated like squatters out in the sand dunes. Since the earthquake and fire, the district had experienced tremendous growth, and most of the new residents were homeowners. They were a force to be reckoned with. The neighborhood newspaper, The Richmond Banner, editorialized on November 19: "If the wishes of the twelve of our "patriotic" supervisors are carried out, our Sunset and Richmond districts will soon be known as the Spanish Town of San Francisco, and 'The Spanish will then have taken San Francisco' notwithstanding Dewey's victory at Manila Bay several years ago."

The editorial contrasted the twelve who voted for the name changes against the five "true Americans" who resisted the proposal to "Spaniardize" the districts. "The people of Sunset and Richmond are fully aroused and will never submit to the insult and injustice heaped upon them by the majority of the Board of Supervisors." In closing, the editor pledged, "Sunset and Richmond districts will stand together and fight this miserable surrender of American names to a finish." The districts didn't have much time to "fight." The commission was to decide quickly, since it faced dissolution at the end of December and the new P. H. McCarthy administration, which would take office in January, had a labor agenda and may not want to waste time on frivolous street-naming. A week of public and private meetings in the Richmond and Sunset districts brought results. Lobbying and pressuring of public officials brought the naming commissioners to a special Saturday meeting to hear the concerns of the neighborhoods.

The following morning the Examiner reported that "thirty-five thousand residents of the Richmond and Sunset districts arose en masse yesterday and voiced such a protest against having the names of their avenues and cross streets changed, that the commission was forced to capitulate." Bowing to the pressure, the Commission agreed that the avenues could remain unchanged except for First Avenue and Forty-ninth Avenue and the alphabetical cross-streets would be the only other western district streets to be renamed, except for the Geary Street extension. The name of Point Lobos was removed from most of the Richmond, but would be given to the curving road that extended from Fortieth Avenue to the Cliff House.

The indignation rally scheduled for the next afternoon at Richmond Hall was turned into a huge victory party for the Richmond, but was bittersweet for the Sunset. Neither neighborhood would lose its numbered avenues, but there was still the issue of the un-American streets to deal with. The Sunset District felt it wasn't getting a fair shake, since it had sixteen streets to be renamed while the Richmond only had three. At the Board of Supervisors' meeting on the next day, the spokesmen for the Sunset Improvement Club presented the argument and pleaded for names of Americans "that reflect glory and luster upon our civilization." Additional speakers made it clear that the two western neighborhoods, through their efforts in fighting the attempt to make wholesale changes to their numerical avenues, were now unified and supporting each other for the next round.

The Board essentially had thrown the street naming to the neighborhoods. The historian from the commission, who had championed and researched the names of Spanish explorers and pioneers, was so incensed by the compromise that he resigned to protest the capitulation. Now the horse-trading for street names was on. Anza had true historical significance to San Francisco's origins and was agreed to by all. "B" Street became an extension of Turk Street. "C" Street was Starr King for a while, but they kept alphabetical order and settled on Custer, for the "hero" killed at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Lincoln Way met with everyone's approval. Ignacio remained on the list at first reading, rejecting Irving for fear of confusion with Irwin Street.

John Jay, statesmen and first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was decided upon for the next street in the alphabetical sequence. Two American generals, Kirkham and Lawton, were chosen next. Moraga seemed acceptable to the residents because he'd been Anza's lieutenant and first commander of the Presidio. Noriega had been a commander of the Monterey Presidio so that seemed close enough to stave off local opposition. Ortega, as a scout who was credited with the discovery of San Francisco Bay, relaying the news to Portola, made him a logical choice for a street name. Pacheco, while only a foot soldier in the Anza expedition, at least had stayed on as an early settler in the area.

The remaining names had been chosen by the powerful Parkside Realty Company and were already in use, but one name was objected to. Xavier had been a source of pronunciation controversy, so it was decided to break the alphabetical pattern and move to the next letter. Yorba had been a sergeant in Portola's expedition of 1769, and with those credentials, was a better choice to be honored with a street name. First Avenue's new name was unsettled between Arguello and St. Francis Boulevard. La Playa, Spanish for "the beach," was adopted without "avenue." Before the Board met on November 29 for final reading, some negotiation had taken place in the commission because Balboa and Cabrillo had been restored and Irving and Judah, originally proposed for the Bayview District, were substituted now for Sunset District streets. The Sunset had stood its ground and settled for Lincoln Way and four "American" names for streets "I" through "L."

There was no more … [more]
sanfrancisco  1909  streets  names  naming  richmonddistrict  sunsetdistrict  spanish  español  roads  bayview  hunter'spoint  religion  nationalism  classideas 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Why is it called "Richmond"? - FoundSF
"The Richmond District was officially given its name in November 1890. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors adopted ordinance #2309, which legally designated all the territory from First Avenue (now Arguello) to the ocean and from Fulton Street to Fort Presidio as the Richmond District...

The area has been referred to for many years as the "Outside Lands" or, on one map, as "The Great Sand Waste." Needless to say this was not pleasing to its local boosters. In 1889, about the time the improvement club was trying to decide on a more dignified name for the district, one of its members, George Turner Marsh, was building a beautiful home on the southeast corner of 12th Avenue and Clement... He planned to call it Richmond House in memory of his native home in Richmond, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne in the state of Victoria.

When various names for the new district came up for discussion, one of Marsh's friend, George R. Fletcher, asked, "What is the matter with calling it 'Richmond," and, there being nothing the matter, the suggestion was motioned and seconded.

Marsh's birthplace of Richmond, Australia got its name when his ancestors emigrated there from the town of Richmond, England, and named their new homeland after the old. Richmond, England originally was named after a lovely castle, called Richmond, located on the nearby river Thames. The castle had been built by England's first Tudor king, Henry VII. It could be said, therefore, that San Francisco's Richmond District was named, indirectly, after a castle in England.

The only flaw in this romantic derivation of our District's name is the little-known fact that this area has not been--officially-- the Richmond District since 1917. A subsequent ordinance of the S.F. Board of Supervisors changed the District's name to the Park Presidio District."
classideas  sanfrancisco  history  names  naming  richmonddistrict  outsidelands 
december 2017 by robertogreco
New sculptures installed at Richmond Branch Library | Richmond District Blog
"To honor the first birthday of the renovated Richmond Branch Library, the SF Arts Commission recently installed two new sculptures in front of the building.

Entitled Touching Earth, the two disc shaped sculptures were created by artist Scott Donahue. The pieces are inspired by the transient nature of the Bay Area’s population in that everyone arrived here from elsewhere using different modes of travel. The artist himself initally rode into the Bay Area on a bicycle.

Located on either side of the walkway leading up to the library’s entrance on 9th Avenue, the sculptures are two concrete containers covered with bronze epoxy domes. On top of each dome is a relief map of the Bay Area.

The south side sculpture depicts the historical Bay Area, before there was any Golden Gate or Bay Bridges. Inset in the relief map are various small photos showing how people reached the Bay Area in the past: by foot, horse, ship, train or prairie schooner.

The north side relief sculpture shows a closer, more contemporary view of the Bay with the Richmond Library highlighted in the center. More modern methods of transportation are shown including a jet plane, a bicyclist, a ferry, cars and even the 38 Geary MUNI bus.

The pieces were commissioned as part of the Branch Library Improvement Program. Donahue’s proposal for the pieces was selected through a community-based process back in 2005.

Donahue got into some hot water last year when he was paid $196,000 by Berkeley’s public arts program to create two large statues honoring the history and daily life of the city of Berkeley. At the base of the statues were small medallions showing dogs doing what they do – biting each other, defecating, even having sex with each other.

Apparently in his original proposal to the Berkeley Civic Arts Commission, Donahue’s design didn’t show the tiny canine reliefs. Many Berkeley-ites were not thrilled with the artist’s irreverent, canine commentary on Berkeley life, nor the Commission’s oversight of it."
sfsh  richmonddistrict  sculpture  art  libraries  maps  mapping  sanfrancisco  berkeley  2010  bayarea  scottdonahue 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Western Neighborhoods Project - San Francisco History
"The Western Neighborhoods Project is a nonprofit organization formed in 1999 to preserve and share the history and culture of the neighborhoods in western San Francisco.

Our mission is to record your personal memory, copy your photographs, and help unearth the story of your local business, school, club or place of worship.

This Web site features images and historical articles related to the city's "Outside Lands". If you're interested in the Richmond, Sunset, West of Twin Peaks, OMI or Lake Merced districts (and the micro-neighborhoods they encompass), start browsing through our menu to learn more.

Our primary objectives and purposes are:

• to research the history of the western neighborhoods of San Francisco in the interest of preservation and community education.
• to promote and make accessible to the public, the rich and diverse stories of the western neighborhoods of San Francisco.
• to solicit oral histories, photos, and historical items pertaining to the western neighborhoods of San Francisco for cataloguing and preservation in appropriate institutions, such as the San Francisco History Center at the San Francisco Main Library.
• to build awareness of the cultural diversity that created the western neighborhoods of San Francisco."
sanfrancisco  history  innersunset  outersunset  innerrichmond  outerrichmond  sfsh  classideas  outsidelands  lakemerced  oceanview  mercedheights  ingleside  ceanview  inglesideterraces  lakeside  parkerced  stonestown  lakeshore  westportal  foresthill  balboaterrace  westwoodpark  miralomapark  midtownterrace  sherwoodforest  sunnyside  stfranciswood  goldengateheights  parkwayterrace  parkside  seacliff  predifioterrace  richmonddistrict  sunsetdistrict 
april 2017 by robertogreco
A historical photo series of San Francisco's "Outside Lands" Richmond district
"Driving out to “The Avenues,” or San Francisco’s Sunset and Richmond neighborhoods that hug the Ocean Beach coastline, can seem like a trek to those more centrally located within the city. But the payoff is worth the trip. Out there you’ll find the slowed down bustle of mom and pop shops, a salty fresh breeze from the ocean, and the sprawling Golden Gate Park (neat fact — it’s larger than New York City’s Central Park).

The Richmond district used to be sand dunes as far as the eye could see up until the late 19th century. Since then, it’s grown up into a diverse residential neighborhood with some of the best Chinese and Russian cuisine in the city. Explore its rich history below, and don’t forget to take a trip to see it for yourself."
sanfrancisco  history  photography  classideas  sfsh  2017  1800s  1870  1898  1899  1906  1919  1922  1932  1935  1940s  1957  1972  1974  outsidelands  innerrichmond  outerrichmond  innersunset  outersunset  richmonddistrict  sunsetdistrict 
april 2017 by robertogreco

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