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Excelsior District, San Francisco

Coordinates: 37°43′14″N 122°25′58″W / 37.72058°N 122.43276°W / 37.72058; -122.43276
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Excelsior District
Row houses in the Excelsior District
Row houses in the Excelsior District
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
 • SupervisorAhsha Safaí
 • AssemblymemberPhil Ting (D)[1]
 • State SenatorScott Wiener (D)[1]
 • U. S. rep.Kevin Mullin (D)[2]
 • Total3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
 • Land3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
 • Total32,552
 • Density9,300/km2 (24,000/sq mi)
ZIP Code
94112, 94134
Area codes415/628

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


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.

Areas within the Excelsior District include the Excelsior neighborhood itself, as well as Mission Terrace, Outer Mission, and Crocker Amazon.[citation needed]


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.[5]

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, Visitacion 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, Crocker Amazon, Cayuga and the Outer Mission neighborhood. Despite this division into smaller sub-neighborhoods, most of these areas are still referred to as being the Excelsior District today.[citation needed]

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, which 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, and 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". Likely 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.[6] To recognize and publish the original street names local neighborhood booster group F.A.C.E. (Friends and Advocates of Crocker-Amazon and the Excelsior) won a 2011 Community Challenge Grant to replace 10 city street signs at intersections on each of these 3 streets which now show both the current and original street names. In 2013 San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Resolution No. 130655 adding the original street names to the current street signs.[7][8]


In its earlier days, the Excelsior District was predominantly Italian, Irish, and Swiss.[9] During the late 1970s, 80s, and 90s, the Excelsior District, like the Mission District, became predominantly Latino. In the 1980s, the neighborhood became predominantly Latino with the arrival of refugees from Central American wars and immigrants from Mexico.[10] 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 Visitacion Valley, which were predominantly African American neighborhoods, have become predominantly Asian. Today it is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in San Francisco.[11]

Noteworthy residents[edit]


Central to the neighborhood for quite some time was the landmark Granada Theater, at the intersection of Mission and Ocean. The theater was designed for the Excelsior Amusement Company by architect G. Albert Lansburgh. It was mentioned in several issues of Building and Engineering News in 1921.[18] In 1922 it opened with the name "Excelsior" but was renamed "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 until the theater closed in 1982.[citation needed].The Granada Theatre building is now a Goodwill store and a Walgreens. The theatre's marquee and vertical sign is long gone, but community advocates, led by the Excelsior Action Group (EAG) hope to raise money to install a new vertical sign reading “The Excelsior” to highlight the neighborhood's identity.[19]

Among the various schools in the district is the San Francisco Community Alternative School, a public grade school with a unique 'project-based' curriculum,[20] and the School of the Epiphany


Tom Murphy founded Jerry Day in 2002 to celebrate the legacy of Grateful Dead front man and Excelsior native, Jerry Garcia, and fundraise for a neighborhood playground.[21] The Jerry Garcia estate supported the event by donating towards the fund and allowing them to use Garcia's name.[22] The event typically occurs in August at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheatre at John McLaren Park, which is bordered by the Excelsior, Visitacion Valley, and Portola districts.[23] The event draws thousands of residents and Deadheads annually.[22][24]

In 2002, the Excelsior Festival was created by the Excelsior Action Group. Because the city's public maps omitted (and still do, in some cases) any part of the city below Cesar Chavez, the Festival was created to put the Excelsior District on the map.

In 2008, the San Francisco Giants, led by shortstop and Hall of Famer Omar "Little O" Vizquel, funded the renovation of the Excelsior Playground baseball field and the creation of its new mural, "Coming Together Through Sports". The mural was designed and painted with Precita Eyes Muralists Association artist Cory Calandra Devereaux, Omar Vizquel, and Excelsior community members.[25]


In 2011 the Excelsior Action Group brought SF Sunday Streets to the district to host activities along Mission Street from Silver to Geneva Avenue during the Excelsior Festival. It later became the Excelsior Sunday Streets, taking place each year in the Spring and Fall.[26]

In 2014, Joe's Cable Car Restaurant closed. The restaurant was founded in 1965,[27] and owned and operated by Joe Obegi.[28][29] The restaurant was a popular tourists' destination, which was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2008.[30][31] Nevertheless, Obegi closed the restaurant in 2014.[32] As of January 2021, the building that Joe Obegi's restaurant occupied is slated to be demolished.[33]

The Excelsior District Car Show originated from Jim Espinoza, while working with the neighborhood youth, created an organization called The Excelsior Youth Club. The Car Show, which takes place in Excelsior Playground each year around October, brings together hundreds of locals residents to celebrate the Chicano culture & Irish, Italian roots of the Excelsior District. Displays of low riders and Muscle cars line the street of Madrid, food, vendors, live local rap artist performances all take place within Excelsior Playground. Today, Jim Espinoza, along with some of the members of The Excelsior Youth Club, is memorialized on the wall behind the basketball court in the Excelsior Playground mural. For 2015–2016, Diane Wunderlich, former Secretary of The Excelsior Youth Club, brought the car show back.[34]


Photographer Travis Jensen is currently working on a photo book called "Forever Upward".[35]

In January 2020, SF Heritage Foundation, initiated a new program, "Heritage in the Neighborhoods" focusing on the Heritage in the Excelsior District. SF Heritage is partnering with Excelsior Action Group and the SF Victorian Alliance to jointly identify historic buildings, public artwork, or legacy businesses to raise their profile and significance to avoid losing these gems.[36]


  1. ^ a b "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  2. ^ "California's 15th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  3. ^ a b "Excelsior neighborhood in San Francisco, California (CA), 94112, 94134 subdivision profile - real estate, apartments, condos, homes, community, population, jobs, income, streets". City-data.com. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  4. ^ Bancroft, A.L. (1881). Bancroft's Official Guide Map of City and County of San Fan Francisco.
  5. ^ "Album Archive". Get.google.com. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  6. ^ "In the Neighborhood - Greg Pabst and the Excelsior Stroll". San Francisco Public Library - Excelsior Branch. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  7. ^ "Legislation Introduced at Roll Call" (PDF). Sfbos.org. June 18, 2013. Retrieved November 8, 2021.
  8. ^ "Excelsior Branch - San Francisco Public Library". Excelsiorbranchsfpl.blogspot.com. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  9. ^ Jebe Sr., Walter G. (8 December 2004). San Francisco's Excelsior District. Arcadia Publishing. p. 11. ISBN 978-1-4396-3075-4. Retrieved 14 February 2016.
  10. ^ Tong, Candice (23 September 2011). "Under the Same Sky: The Excelsior District: The Latino American community". KTSF. Archived from the original on 27 December 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2012.
  11. ^ Nakao, Annie (October 1, 2002). "Excelsior district takes care of its own". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 25 November 2008.
  12. ^ Guerrero, Cheryl (August 3, 2017). "Shakedown Street: Excelsior Unveils A 2nd Plaque To Honor Jerry Garcia". Hoodline. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  13. ^ Thomas, Robert McG. Jr. (1984-09-08). "Joe Cronin, an Ex-Executive and Star Player in Baseball". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  14. ^ Edwards, Gavin (1999-09-16). "Orgy's Climax". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  15. ^ a b Nakao, Annie (2002-10-01). "Excelsior district takes care of its own". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  16. ^ Curtis, Jake (2008-08-08). "S.F. boxer who fought championship bout dies". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  17. ^ "Philip Lamantia — Friends of Kerouac". friendsofkerouac.com. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  18. ^ "Lansburgh, Albert | CED Archives". Archives.ced.berkeley.edu. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Our Continuing Efforts in the Excelsior for Heritage in the Neighborhoods". Sfheritage.org. 31 March 2020.
  20. ^ "San Francisco Community School – K8 | Welcome to our school!". My-sfcs.org. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  21. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, Tuesday, October 1, 2002, San Francisco, CA, Page D8
  22. ^ a b Atkins, Lacy (August 7, 2011). "Thousands gather for Jerry Day". SF Gate.
  23. ^ Nolte, Carl (2020-02-15). "John McLaren Park had a bad reputation. But that was then". SF Chronicle. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  24. ^ KGO (2015-08-03). "PHOTOS: Deadheads celebrate 'Jerry Day' in San Francisco". ABC7 San Francisco. Retrieved 2020-04-29.
  25. ^ "Murals: 2012-2005". Precita Eyes Muralists. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  26. ^ "Sunday Streets SF – Your Street. Your Day". Sundaystreetssf.com. Retrieved 8 November 2021.
  27. ^ Schildhause, Chloe (2013-04-17). "Talking Burgers with Joe Obegi of Joe's Cable Car". Eater SF. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  28. ^ January 31, Paolo Lucchesi on; PM, 2014 at 3:39 (2014-01-31). "Interview: Joe Obegi of Joe's Cable Car on the restaurant's looming closure, burgers and a changing city". Inside Scoop SF. Retrieved 2021-01-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  29. ^ "Joe Obegi". sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com. KPIX-TV. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  30. ^ Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Season 2, Episode 12, 2008."Joe's Cable Car - Best San Francisco Burger (YouTube)". YouTube. 2008. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  31. ^ "Joe's Cable Car Reviewed on the News - YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-12. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  32. ^ "Joe's Cable Car Restaurant Closes After 49 Years In San Francisco". KPIX-TV. 2014-03-16. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  33. ^ "Redevelopment of Iconic Joe's Cable Car Site Closer to Reality". SocketSite.com. 2019. Retrieved 2021-01-16.
  34. ^ "Community Action Grant Projects". Excelsiorcollaborativesf.org. Retrieved 2020-05-12.
  35. ^ "Travis Jensen's Photos Showcase San Francisco's Last Ungentrified Neighborhood". Complex.com. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  36. ^ "Excelsior". San Francisco Heritage. Retrieved 2020-04-29.

External links[edit]