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Tickets for our 2020 Victorian Valentine Ball now on sale!


We’ve just opened ticketing for the annual Victorian Valentine Ball, happening at Heritage’s home in the historic Haas-Lilienthal House on February 14th! The event falls on Valentine’s Day proper this year, and we hope you choose to celebrate the day with us. A limited number of tickets are available (50) in order to accommodate all our dancing guests in the Ballroom. Here are the details:

2020 Victorian Valentine Ball at the Haas-Lilienthal House

Friday, February 14, 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Haas-Lilienthal House
2007 Franklin Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

Step back in time and have a ball at the historic Haas-Lilienthal House!

San Francisco Heritage presents our annual Valentine-themed fundraiser with an emphasis on a late 19th century approach to love, courtship, social etiquette, music and entertainment.

Learn to dance the 19th-century form of the waltz in our beautiful Ballroom, enjoy a buffet of savory finger foods and indulge in sugary treats at the candy bar, and learn about love and courtship from the perspective of someone living in the Victorian age through our trivia game.

Recommended dress/costume: late Victorian formal wear/evening wear. If you plan to dance, wear shoes with low heels and leather soles, if possible.

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages available at the bar. 18+ to attend; 21+ to drink.

Tickets: $55/single; $95/couple — ticket price includes a buffet of delectable finger foods plus candy and desserts, and a cash bar serving alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. 18+ to attend; 21+ to drink.

For more FAQ and to purchase tickets, follow the link below.

2020 Semi-Annual Meeting RSVPs are now open!


Semi-annual meeting cover art_ featuring a mural of the Excelsior District

We hope to see you soon for our Semi-Annual Meeting, happening in the new year at the end of January. Meet Heritage staff and hear about our exciting new program, “Heritage in the Neighborhoods.”

Here are the details:

“Heritage in the Neighborhoods”

Wednesday, January 29, 2020 6:00 PM
Hobart Building, Variety Club Preview Room
582 Market Street

Woody LaBounty and Kerri Young will give an illustrated presentation on the history, character, and current threats faced in three vulnerable San Francisco neighborhoods, and explain how Heritage’s work with local communities will build preservation awareness, advocacy, and action.

The “Heritage in the Neighborhoods” program will launch in the Excelsior, Parkside, and Marina Districts in 2020, fostering affinity groups to defend significant buildings, legacy businesses, and cultural cornerstones. Come learn more about this exciting new effort and find out how to help build the city’s preservation community.

As part of the evening, Heritage CEO and President Mike Buhler will provide an update on recent activities and additional future programs, including new activation of the Doolan-Larson Building and plans for Heritage’s 50th anniversary in 2021.

Admission is free for Heritage supporters, and $10 for the general public. Space is limited, so RSVP now by clicking the button below or contacting Kerri Young at kyoung@sfheritage.org or (415) 441-3000, ext. 22.

Register button

Original Member of “Legacy Bars and Restaurants,” Cafe Flore, has closed


Photo courtesy of Café Flore.

As reported by Hoodline, Castro’s 47-year old Cafe Flore is now closed. Cafe Flore was one of 100 establishments included in Heritage’s “Legacy Bars and Restaurants,” an initiative launched in 2013 that was the direct inspiration for the city’s now flourishing Legacy Business Registry. Read more about how Heritage and the city supports legacy businesses here. Below is our original entry for Cafe Flore as part of our Legacy Bars and Restaurant’s initiative:

Address: 2298 Market Street

Year Established: 1973

With its eclectic menu and abundance of comfortable outdoor seating, Café Flore has long been considered a culinary landmark in the Castro District. The building that Café Flore occupies dates back to the early 20th century when the Castro was then colloquially known as “Little Scandinavia” or “Fin Town” due to the large numbers of Nordic immigrants who called the district home. The plot of land that would eventually become Café Flore originally contained a Swedish bathhouse.

Café Flore, 1977. Photo by Mahmood Ghazi on Castro Biscuit.

Constructed in 1932, the bathhouse was owned and operated by the Finnila family. A pharmacy was also opened in the section of the building that faced the corner of Market and Noe Streets. The designer of the building, Alfred Finnila, later contributed to the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, where he oversaw the iron and roadway installation. Finnila also built the famous Bridge Roundhouse restaurant.

In 1973, the pharmacy closed its doors, and Café Flore was established in the now vacant storefront. The Finnila family continued to run the bathhouse section of the building until 1986, when that section of the building was demolished. Café Flore has continued to thrive, serving countless locals and tourists each year. Given its proximity to the Castro, the establishment plays a prominent role in the local gay community. With its large glass windows facing Market Street, the business proudly declares its place as a well-known cruising and people-watching spot. In early 1990s, New Colonist stated that Cafe Flore “is a de facto nexus of gay life in this town.”

Café Flore, 1985. Max Kirkeberg Collection, San Francisco State University.

Café Flore, 1985. Max Kirkeberg Collection, San Francisco State University.

New Inductees to San Francisco Legacy Business Registry


The Endup exterior with sign

Although it’s now officially 2020, we wanted to take a moment to acknowledge some of the great city institutions that joined the Legacy Business Registry in the latter part of 2019. The Registry intends to honor and preserve “longstanding community-serving businesses that are recognized as valuable cultural assets to San Francisco by the Office of Small Business.” Popular food and drink destinations such as brunch haven Zazie and dive bar Li Po Lounge, as well as community service and arts organizations like Rebuilding Together and Community Music Center, are among the recent inductees. There are now over 260 businesses on the Registry, and it continues to grow.

Added November 2019

Academy of Ballet

Date placed on the Registry: November 12, 2019

Located in Duboce Triangle near Church and Market Streets, The Academy of Ballet offers training both for the student preparing for a professional career and those who are studying ballet for its many other benefits.

Li Po Lounge in Chinatown

Li Po Lounge

Date placed on the Registry: November 12, 2019

A local dive bar in the heart of Chinatown since 1937, Li Po is most famous for its Chinese Mai Tai, enjoyed by locals and famous visitors such as the late Anthony Bourdain.

Lyra Corporation (Arion Press and M&H Type)

Date placed on the Registry: November 12, 2019

Since 1974 (with origins dating back further to 1919), Arion Press publishes several limited edition books every year, each conceptually unique. Their production facility includes a letterpress shop with a historic collection of typefaces, a type foundry operating machinery from 100 years ago, and a complete hand book bindery, housed in a 14,000 square foot industrial building in San Francisco’s Presidio National Park. SF Heritage was pleased to assist with their Legacy application.

Rebuilding Together San Francisco 

Date placed on the Registry: November 12, 2019

Rebuilding Together San Francisco provides home repair and renovation programs for homeowners, renters, non-profit organizations and community spaces. Since 1989, they have rehabilitated more than 3,000 homes and 313 facilities serving tens of thousands of people.


Date placed on the Registry: November 12, 2019

Zazie was opened in Cole Valley in 1992 by Catherine Opoix, who named her neighborhood bistro after the main character in Louis Malle’s film Zazie dans le Métro.  Today, it remains a popular brunch and dinner destination, and has a benefits program that is unparalleled in non-union restaurants, including fully funded health & dental insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan with employer match, and paid family leave.

Added December 2019

Students at the Community Music Center playing the cello

Students at the Community Music Center

Community Music Center

Date placed on the Registry: December 9, 2019

Community Music Center was founded by Gertrude Field in 1921 with the mission of making music accessible to all people regardless of financial means. Located in the Mission District, the Center cultivates artistic growth for people of all ages and abilities through outstanding music education and performance opportunities.

The Endup

Date placed on the Registry: December 9, 2019

Located on 6th & Harrison in the SoMa district, The End Up has been a premium nightlife and entertainment venue in San Francisco since 1973.

Horizon’s Unlimited of San Francisco, Inc.

Date placed on the Registry: December 9, 2019

Horizons has been a community resource since 1965, offering a variety of culturally-rooted and high appeal services and programs for youth and families. These include employment programs, gender-specific programs for men and women, and substance abuse treatment programs.

Mums Shabu Shabu

Mumus Shabu Shabu in Japantown

Mum’s – Home of Shabu Shabu

Date placed on the Registry: December 9, 2019

Mums (formerly named Cafe Mums) has been serving customers from their Japantown location in the Kimpton Buchanan Hotel since 1995. It is known for its traditional Japanese-style Shabu-Shabu (it was one of the first to serve it in the Bay Area) and Japanese and American cuisines.

Caffe Sapore

Date placed on the Registry: December 20, 2019

Located on the north side of Lombard Street between Jansen and Taylor streets in the North Beach neighborhood Caffe Sapore ownder Elias Bikahi decided to open the coffee shop and eatery in 1997 to fill the needs of the North Beach community as well as to allow him to be home in the evenings with his family. It is a European style café with Mediterranean influences, and has been a beloved community space for over 18 years.

San Francisco Legacy Businesses updates: Zeitgeist and St. Mary’s Pub


Maria Davis (center) of St. Mary’s Pub, with Three Sisters co-founders Marta Davis and Amy Rothbauer | Photo: Three Sisters/Instagram

Two San Francisco bars, both members of the city’s Legacy Business Registry, were recently featured on the daily neighborhood news outlet Hoodline. Fun fact: both bars happen to be known for making great Bloody Marys!

Zeitgeist to temporarily close for seismic retrofit

Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist

Mission bar  Zeitgeist (199 Valencia St.), open since 1977 and added to the Legacy Business Registry on October 3rd, 2016, is set to undergo a temporary closure next month for a city-mandated seismic retrofit. A note posted to the 43-year-old bar’s door says it will be closed from January 6-18, 2020. Read more about this and their public “Retrofit Closing Party” on January 3rd.

St. Mary’s Pub owner buys building, launches signature Bloody Mary mix

St. Mary’s Pub earlier this year | Photo by: Nikki Collister from Hoodline

Another Legacy Businesses, St. Mary’s Pub at 3845 Mission Street, was very fortunate to purchase their building this past August after facing an uncertain future.  The pub, established in 1948 and added to the Legacy Business Registry this past January, will host a launch party this Saturday, December 14th, for their new Bloody Mary mix. Read more about the launch and about business here.

Save the Date: Holiday Open House 2019


Holiday Open House postcardSave the date for our annual Holiday Open House! To show our appreciation for our members and friends, we will have an afternoon of holiday family fun at the Haas-Lilienthal House. Come out to meet Heritage supporters and enjoy refreshments, music, and a visit from Santa!

We will collect toys and canned goods to benefit Toys for Tots and the SF-Marin Food Bank respectively, and welcome any donations that you can bring in.

*This event is FREE, but please register so that we know you are coming.

Register button

The Path Forward in “Life of Washington” Mural Controversy


The sprawling digital panorama, “in Pursuit of Venus [infected],” by indigenous artist Lisa Reihana, animates the story of Captain Cook and “first contact” by reinterpreting an 1804 French wallpaper by Joseph Dufour. It will be on view in San Francisco at the de Young Museum from August 10, 2019 thru January 5, 2020.

On June 25, the San Francisco School Board unanimously voted to paint over — or, if too costly and time-consuming, cover with panels — Victor Arnautoff’s 1936 “Life of Washington” mural cycle at George Washington High School. Despite Arnautoff’s intent to expose racial injustice and genocide countenanced by this country’s first president, his depictions of Native Americans and African Americans in the sprawling fresco have been targeted by activists as deeply offensive, demeaning, and traumatic to students, especially to students of color.

The school board’s decision in June initiates a lengthy environmental review process that must evaluate a range of potentially feasible, less harmful alternatives to destruction. Although Heritage adamantly opposes the school board’s desire to paint over and destroy the entire “Life of Washington” mural, we support their guiding objective to protect and educate students. In April 2019, we submitted a memo to the school district that suggests multiple potential paths forward, including case studies that combine screening, interpretation, education, and/or new artwork. Then and now, Heritage’s goal is to provide the school district with a range of technical options to facilitate a constructive and unifying solution. Click here to review Heritage’s memo to SFUSD.



Each year, Heritage’s Lecture Series explores the breadth of San Francisco’s cultural inheritance in historic settings throughout the city. Lectures are at 6:00 PM, with doors opening at 5:30 PM. Series passes are available at the price of $30 for Heritage members, and $50 for the general public. Individual lecture tickets are $10 for members and students and $15 for the public. The November 14 lecture at the Presidio Golf & Concordia Club will be followed by an optional fixed-price dinner for $75. To purchase a series pass or individual tickets, visit www.sfheritage.org/lecture-series or click on the titles below.

September 26 – History of Tamale-Making in San Francisco

As a cheap and easy-to-prepare food, the sale of tamales on the streets of San Francisco dates to the Gold Rush. By 1890, tamale factories flourished in the “Mexican Colony” surrounding Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (at 906 Broadway), with the city’s residents consuming more than 25,000 tamales each week. In fact, the popularity of tamales as a late-night street food is a uniquely San Francisco export. Jonathan Lammers explores the city’s rich tamale-making tradition, which served as the basis for some of the city’s longest lived and most successful Latino-owned businesses. Co-presented by 906 World Cultural Center and SF Latino Historical Society. VENUE: 906 World Cultural Center, 906 Broadway

October 17 – Janis: Her Life & Music   SOLD OUT 

An evening with Holly George-Warren, author of the new definitive biography about Janis Joplin. This intimate profile establishes the Queen of Rock & Roll as the rule-breaking musical trailblazer and complicated, gender-bending rebel she was. Based on unprecedented access to Joplin’s family, Written by one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of American music history, and based on unprecedented access to Janis Joplin’s family, friends, band mates, archives, and long-lost interviews, Janis is a complex, rewarding portrait of a remarkable artist finally getting her due. Co-presented by Booksmith. VENUE: The Bindery, 1727 Haight Street

November 14 – South Park & Rincon Hill

San Francisco was a rough place in the 1850s, but it contained an island of style and propriety: Rincon Hill and South Park. Robert Louis Stevenson called it “the most San Franciscoey part of San Francisco.” The notorious Second Street Cut, the 1906 Earthquake, and the Bay Bridge almost killed it, but today the area has been reborn as a unique and delightful part of the city. Paul Fisher gives you a virtual tour. Lecture to be followed by an optional fixed-price dinner for $75. Co-presented by 640 Heritage Preservation Foundation. VENUE: Presidio Golf & Concordia Club, 8 Presidio Terrace








Washington (May 15, 2019) – The Corner of Haight and Ashbury, the heart of the neighborhood at the epicenter of the American counterculture in the 1960s, was today named a National Treasure by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Together with San Francisco Heritage and the Haight Street Art Center, today’s announcement was made at the iconic Doolan-Larson building, which was recently bequeathed to San Francisco Heritage by longtime owner Norman Larson. The National Trust and San Francisco Heritage will develop a vision for the building to serve as a center for the interpretation and preservation of Haight-Ashbury’s many contributions to America’s countercultural legacy.

In the summer of 1967, tens of thousands of young people from across the country and around the world converged on the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, marking the culmination of a countercultural movement that forever transformed American life. The counterculture ethos developed in Haight-Ashbury had a deep and long-term societal impact, promoting equal access to health care and housing, environmental protection, and a more relaxed approach to sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll. The era’s receptiveness to new ideas continues to resonate through American life to this day in law, politics, business, and other elements of the culture.

“The counterculture that converged in Haight-Ashbury truly changed the world. By designating this iconic corner a National Treasure, we are acknowledging this neighborhood’s standing as one of America’s most renowned and significant historic places,” said Barb Pahl, Senior Vice-President of Field Services at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We look forward to bringing our expertise to help reimagine the Doolan-Larson building as a place to both celebrate and interpret the cultural revolution that took place here. The National Trust is excited by the opportunity to partner with San Francisco Heritage by engaging the community and developing a sustainable operating model for this transformational gift.”

“Norm Larson was the loving steward of the Doolan-Larson building for over 30 years. We are incredibly grateful that he had the foresight to purchase, restore, and landmark the iconic corner of Haight and Ashbury before gifting it to San Francisco Heritage,” said Mike Buhler, President & CEO of San Francisco Heritage. “As we envision the future of this site, we will be guided by his deep commitment to community and ensuring the ideals of the counterculture continue to resonate with future generations.”

“The values of the San Francisco counterculture have informed my personal and professional choices for decades,” said Roger McNamee, activist, author, and founding member of Moonalice. “These ideals inspired the Haight Street Art Center, which is working with San Francisco Heritage and the National Trust on the future of the Doolan-Larson building. The counterculture deserves an interpretive center to shine a bright light on the city’s cultural history. What better place than at the corner of Haight and Ashbury?”


Haight and history: House at city’s most iconic corner named national treasure



On Thursday, December 13, 2018, the San Francisco Planning Commission unanimously voted to require the owner of the Largent House – designed by noted architect Richard Neutra and illegally razed in October 2017 – to rebuild the house at 49 Hopkins Street based on the original 1935 drawings. After a spate of unauthorized residential demolitions in San Francisco, the unprecedented decision by the Planning Commission has garnered international media coverage and stands as a powerful cautionary tale for future would-be offenders. The outcome is a testament to the tireless efforts of a broad coalition of community advocates working to spotlight and curb similar abuses across the city. Click here to read Heritage’s testimony at the hearing.



SF to developer who tore down landmark house: Rebuild it exactly as it was

SF Chronicle, December 15, 2018

A man illegally razed his historic San Francisco home. Now he must build a replica.

Washington Post, December 17, 2018

Owner who demolished famed San Francisco house must build replica

BBC, December 17, 2018

Man ordered to build replica of San Francisco home after illegally demolishing building

Fox News, December 17, 2018

Developer is ordered to build an EXACT replica of a landmark San Francisco home designed by a famed architect after he illegally demolished the $1.7million property to make way for a new mansion

Daily Mail (UK), December 17, 2018

Man who ‘illegally’ razed his historic San Francisco home must rebuild an exact replica

New Zealand Herald, December 18, 2018

City-ordered rebuild of landmark house stirs debate: Appropriate or overreach?

SF Chronicle, December 18, 2018

San Francisco Heritage featured on SFGovTV!


Without its many independent, locally-owned businesses, San Francisco wouldn’t be San Francisco. Local businesses that have been flourishing for 30 years and longer are the anchors of our communities.

Preserving these legacy businesses are critical to maintaining San Francisco’s uniqueness and what draw tourists from around the world.

Liguria Bakery, Tommy’s Joynt, & Mitchell’s Ice Cream are 3 SF institutions who speak with QuickBites about their historic businesses and about why it’s so important that they are still around providing generations after generations of San Franciscans with their culinary delights.

More about Legacy Business Registry:

Featured Legacy Businesses:


SFGovTV QuickBites Crew
Executive Producer: Jack Chin
Production Supervisor: Derek Fernandez
Operations Supervisor: Thomas Loftus
Series Creator/Photographer: Jennifer
Low Segment Producer: Andy Kawanami
Editor: Derek Fernandez
Photographer: Joshua Alexander
Photographer: Leo De Asis
Photographer: Adriane Starks
Photographer: Michael Baltazar
Audio Post-Production: Araceli Frias
Graphics: Mark Bunch/Derek Fernandez/Felix Berzabal