Heritage's mission is to preserve and enhance San Francisco's unique architectural and cultural identity.

Learn more about Heritage

House and Walking Tours Updates!


The Haas-Lilienthal House will be CLOSED for regular public tours and event rentals from March 1, 2017 – October 2017, for planned upgrades and restoration.

During this period, the Pacific Heights Walking Tour will be available on Sundays at 12:30 PM by advance reservation only (MUST GIVE AT LEAST 48 HOURS NOTICE). Private walking tours can also be scheduled during the week (subject to availability). For reservations, questions, or concerns please contact Pam Larson — 415-441-3000 ext. 14 or email plarson@sfheritage.org.

Embarcadero Historic District Named To 2016 List of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places



Photo by: spencerbrownphoto.com

On October 5, 2016, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named San Francisco’s Embarcadero Historic District to its 2016 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places. Heritage nominated the Embarcadero to highlight two major physical threats facing the district: earthquakes and sea level rise that present enormous challenges to the future of the historic waterfront. In addition to formidable threats posed by sea level rise of up to 66 inches by 2100, a recent earthquake vulnerability study revealed greater than expected risk to the three-mile-long seawall. The dual seismic and climate change threats require a coordinated local, regional, state, and federal response that embraces creative strategies that assure long-term resilience for the Embarcadero’s rich heritage. Click here to see full press release.

The National Trust’s annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places spotlights important examples of the nation’s architectural and cultural heritage that are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage. Last year, Heritage successfully nominated the Old U.S. Mint to the 2015 list, leading the city to allocate $20 million for its rehabilitation in the proposed Central SoMa Plan.

SF’s Embarcadero added to national endangered historic places list
San Francisco Examiner
October 5, 2016

These 7 Historic Sites Need to be Saved
Architectural Digest
October 5, 2016

Earthquakes, rising seas threaten historic Embarcadero
Bay City News
October 5, 2016

America’s 11 most endangered historic places
October 5, 2016

SF Embarcadero placed on list of endangered historic places
October 5, 2016

ABC 7 News
October 5, 2016

San Francisco Embarcadero Listed As Endangered Historic Site
CBS 5 News
October 5, 2016

Embarcadero in SF on list of nation’s at-risk historic treasures
San Francisco Chronicle
October 4, 2016

Advocacy Alert: Historic Van Ness Streetlamps


Photo caption: Looking North on Van Ness Avenue at Grove Street with New Street Lighting System | July 14, 1937; Image from SFMTA.com/photo

Update: On September 20, 2016, the Board of Supervisors unanimously called on San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) to make all efforts to preserve the historic character of the Van Ness Corridor through reuse as well as replication of the Van Ness Avenue Historic Streetlamps instead of replacing them with industrial design streetlamps for the Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). Click here for full press release

The over 200 historic trolley poles and streetlamps that run the length of Van Ness Avenue were constructed in preparation for the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition and moved in a Work Progress Administration (WPA) road widening project to inaugurate the Golden Gate Bridge in 1936. Known as the “Ribbon of Light,” the graceful ironwork brackets and lamps serve as a geographic marker that defines the two-miles of Highway 101 from Market Street to Bay Street. In 1982 San Francisco Heritage rated the Van Ness poles and light standards “Level B (Major Importance).”

In conjunction with the recently approved Van Ness Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Project, SFMTA plans to remove the streetlamps even though the EIR for the project did not consider preservation alternatives. The proposed replacement design is pictured below. On September 13, 2016, Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a resolution calling on SFMTA to “fully explore the costs and technical feasibility of reuse as well as replication of the Van Ness Avenue Historic Streetlamps.” The Coalition to Save the Historic Van Ness Streetlamps, including Heritage, has formed to preserve the historic character of Van Ness Avenue. Click here to download a letter to the Supervisors.


In the news:


Century-Old Van Ness Streetlamps To Be Removed For Rapid Bus Project 

Legacy program aims to keep longtime SF businesses thriving


From SFGate: “Executive director Isabel Fondevila of Roxie Theater supports Proposition J, a measure that would provide some financial assistance for “legacy” businesses struggling in the current real estate market in San Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, October 6, 2015″ Photo by Paul Chin

Thank you to all of those who voted to create the San Francisco Legacy Business Historic Preservation Fund.

The measure is historic in its own right, as San Francisco will offer a model for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in the U.S.

In the News:

Legacy program aims to keep longtime SF businesses thriving
San Francisco Examiner
August 6, 2016

Prop. J: Measure to help save longtime ‘legacy’ businesses passes
November 4, 2015

Legacy businesses earn protection
San Francisco Examiner
November 4, 2015

New fund for ‘legacy businesses’ wins voter approval
San Francisco Business Times
November 4, 2015