St. Francis Wood, San Francisco

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St. Francis Wood
San Francisco - Sea of houses north-west of St. Francis Wood..jpg
The Wood

St. Francis Wood is a residential neighborhood located in southwestern San Francisco, California, south of the West Portal neighborhood and west of Mount Davidson. St. Francis Wood had a population of 1,229 and a median household income of $179,244 in 2019.[2] Characterized by family homes on spacious lots (by San Francisco standards), St. Francis Wood has no visible businesses and has a correspondingly low profile compared to similar wealthy neighborhoods such as the Marina District and Pacific Heights. St. Francis Wood is one of eight master-planned residence parks in San Francisco.[3]


St. Francis Wood was established in 1912 as a neighborhood for upper-middle class residents with convenient streetcar access to jobs downtown.[4][5] The residence park was inspired by the City Beautiful movement. The neighborhood's street layout was designed by the Olmsted Brothers and characterized by "standalone houses, curvilinear streets, extensive landscaping and decorative monuments" that evoked the feeling of living in a park.[5] Like other residence parks, the neighborhood used racial covenants to block Black and Asian people from moving in. The neighborhood was an early adopter of zoning restrictions, including single-family zoning to ban apartment buildings and commercial development, because they were thought to attract racial minorities.[4][5]

Historic Designation[edit]

On June 30, 2022, St. Francis Wood was added to the National Register of Historic Places after a yearslong campaign by residents who quoted its architectural history as a residence park.[5] The historic designation will require all construction projects in the neighborhood to undertake a review under the California Environmental Quality Act, adding about $10,000 in fees and 4 months in project approvals. The historic designation will also require new projects to be compatible with the neighborhood's historic character, which is typically two-story single family homes with large yards.[5]

The designation was criticized by YIMBY activists who said that the historic designation would make it much harder for people to add housing to the neighborhood, and cement the neighborhood's status as a wealthy neighborhood that excludes Black and Latino people. Places with historic resources are often exempted from state bills that encourage the construction of new homes. State Senator Scott Wiener expressed concern that St. Francis Wood's historic designation creates a model for other wealthy neighborhoods to evade the intent of state housing law to build more homes in all neighborhoods.[5]

The St. Francis Homes Association said that the historic designation was about the architectural history and said that they were an inclusive community open to the public.[5] St. Francis Wood's amenities are not open to the public.[6]


Race and Ethnicity
Asian 730 (45.3%)
White Non-Hispanic 726 (45%)
Hispanic (excluding Black and Asian) 87 (5.4%)
Other Non-Hispanic 48 (2.98%)
Mixed Non-Hispanic 17 (1.05%)
Black 4 (0.248%)

In the two 2020 census tracts that contain St. Francis Wood 2020 census, at least 80% of the residents are White or Asian.[4] The median household income is $188,400.[7]


  1. ^ "St. Francis Wood Demographics and Statistics on Niche".
  2. ^ "Saint Francis Wood neighborhood in San Francisco, California (CA), 94127 detailed profile". Urban Mapping, Inc. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Researching Residence Parks". SF West History. 10 (4). Oct–Dec 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Echeverria, Danielle (2022-04-29). "This wealthy S.F. neighborhood is seeking historic status. YIMBYs say it's an effort to block housing — and point to racist past". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Schneider, Benjamin (2022-07-14). "St. Francis Wood earns historic designation, sparks backlash". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved 2022-07-15.
  6. ^ "Parks | St. Francis Wood". St. Francis Wood. St. Francis Homes Association. Retrieved 2022-07-31.
  7. ^ "The Demographic Statistical Atlas of the United States - Statistical Atlas". Retrieved 2022-07-15.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°44′05″N 122°28′05″W / 37.7348°N 122.4680°W / 37.7348; -122.4680