Excelsior District, San Francisco

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Excelsior District
Neighborhood of San Francisco
A feature of the Excelsior District is that nearly all of the streets are named after national capitals such as London, Paris, and Moscow, or famous universities such as Cambridge or Bowdoin.
A feature of the Excelsior District is that nearly all of the streets are named after national capitals such as London, Paris, and Moscow, or famous universities such as Cambridge or Bowdoin.
Excelsior District is located in San Francisco County
Excelsior District
Excelsior District
Location within San Francisco
Coordinates: 37°43′14″N 122°25′58″W / 37.72058°N 122.43276°W / 37.72058; -122.43276
Government
 • Board of Supervisors John Avalos
 • State Assembly Fiona Ma (D)
 • State Senate Leland Yee (D)
 • U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D)[1] and Jackie Speier (D)[2]
Area[3]
 • Total 3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
 • Land 3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
Population (2008)
 • Total 23,823
 • Density 6,810/km2 (17,640/sq mi)
  [3]
ZIP Code 94112, 94134
Area code(s) 415

The Excelsior District is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California.

Location[edit]

The Excelsior District is located along Mission Street, east of San Jose Ave, south of Interstate 280 Southern Fwy, west of John McLaren Park, and somewhat north of Geneva Avenue.

Neighborhoods within the Excelsior District include the Excelsior Neighborhood itself, Mission Terrace, Outer Mission neighborhood, Portola, & Crocker Amazon.

History[edit]

On April 15, 1869, the Excelsior Homestead was filed at city hall. The record is in books “C” and “D” and in the book of city maps on page 129. This map section showing the area called the Excelsior can be found in Bancroft's Official Guide Map Of City And County Of San Francisco.[4] This map indicates that the Excelsior area was previously part of the Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo later became known as Southern San Francisco on city maps, not to be confused with the town of South San Francisco. The Southern San Francisco area referred to everything south and central along with the eastern bent of Mission Street and District. The neighborhood extends to its end at the county line. Over the years, as the southern end of San Francisco was developed, the city created Major neighborhoods & Districts within the area, and these were given names that appeared on city maps. These are: Bernal Heights, Ingleside, The Excelsior District, Visitaion Valley & The Bay View District. As the city grew, The Excelsior District was developed further, and it was split into even smaller sub-neighborhoods useful for Real Estate. Some of these given names are: the Excelsior neighborhood itself, Mission Terrace, the Outer Mission neighborhood, Portola, and Crocker Amazon. Despite this division into smaller sub-neighborhoods, most of these areas are still referred to as being the Excelsior District today. Many of the area's streets, those named for the capitals of countries, and its avenues those that are named for the countries themselves, were done so by Emanuel Lewis and his daughter Jeannette. Emanuel built 200 houses which sold as a result of the 1906 Earthquake. On the west side of the District, that is also known as the Mission Terrace, many of the streets were named after American Indian Tribes, (Mohawk Ave became Seneca Ave for example) and Onondaga, Navajo, Modoc, Ottawa, Oneida, Seminole, Cayuga are named among the rest. It is evident that many names have been retained, and from the various neighborhoods' inceptions, while some have changed to accommodate changes in political climate. As an example, Excelsior Avenue itself was originally named "China". Due to anti-Asian feelings that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, India, Japan and China Streets were changed to Peru, Avalon and Excelsior Streets.[5]

Characteristics[edit]

In its earlier days, the Excelsior District was predominantly Italian, Irish, and Swiss. During the late 1970s, 80s and 90s, the Excelsior District, like the Mission District, became predominantly Latino. The Excelsior District also has a large Filipino community. For the past two decades The Excelsior District along with neighboring neighborhoods Ingleside, Ocean View, and Visitation Valley, which were predominantly African American neighborhoods, have become predominantly Asian, mostly of Chinese descent. Today it is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in San Francisco.[6]

Noteworthy residents[edit]

There are several events associated with the Excelsior District.

The biggest one is Jerry Day, which celebrates Jerry Garcia (founder of the Grateful Dead) and typically draws thousands of residents, former residents, deadheads, and other revelers to John McLaren Park and the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater, which is bordered by the Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, and Portola districts. This annual event typically occurs in August.

The Excelsior Festival draws hundreds to Mission Street to celebrate the neighborhood's assets such as its cultural diversity, food and to draw people together in a family-friendly environment for music, shopping and fun. The Excelsior Festival is typically held on the first Sunday in October.

Central to the neighborhood for quite some time was the landmark Granada Theater, at the intersection of Mission and Ocean. In 1922 it opened with the name "Excelsior" but, was replaced with the name "Granada" in 1931 after the downtown Granada Theater changed its name to the Paramount, freeing up the name. Both the name and a vertical "Granada" sign were deployed in the Excelsior. However, the theater closed in 1982.

Among the various schools in the district is the "San Francisco Community Alternative School", a public grade school with a unique 'project-based' curriculum,[7] and the School of the Epiphany.

Latino history in Excelsior[edit]

The Excelsior District in San Francisco is famous for its multi-cultural community. It’s a diverse neighborhood with working families coming from different immigrant communities. In the 1980s, there were several civil wars in Central America including El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala. Refugees from these countries relocated to big cities including San Francisco. There were also many temporary workers from Mexico who came to the US to work on farms. At that time, the Excelsior district which is next to the Mission District became predominantly Latino. Julie and Richard Mitra, each from Asian and Mexican backgrounds, formed a family in the Excelsior and share their story about the early struggles with prejudice.[8]

References[edit]

7. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Gang-Related-Raid-Yields-3-Arrests-S-F-cops-2837776.php

8. http://abclocal.go.com/kgo/story?section=news/local&id=6323488

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°43′14″N 122°25′58″W / 37.72058°N 122.43276°W / 37.72058; -122.43276