Excelsior March Roundup: All Posts

March 30th, 2020 No Comments »
Jerry Garcia’s first home at 121 Amazon Avenue.
While we were looking forward to celebrating at Excelsior Heritage Night on March 25th, like you we are instead sheltering in place to ensure that our communities remain safe and healthy. This hasn’t stopped us from continuing our Excelsior District month online as part of our new Heritage in the Neighborhoods program, and we’d like to share what we’ve written so you may easily find what you missed.

From architectural resources and legacy businesses, to cultural communities and public art, we’ve spotlighted many of the things that make the Excelsior one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city. We hope you learn something new and get excited for going out and exploring the neighborhood more freely in the future.

Clockwise from upper-left: Clean Wash Center at 4680-4690 Mission Street, facade of the Alemany Emergency Hospital building at 35 Onondaga Avenue, the radically-modern Corpus Christi Church at 62-64 Santa Rose Road, and the Frank R. Smith house at 750 Persia Avenue.
Architectural Resources and Local Landmarks 

The colorful spread inside Pacitas Salvadorean Bakery, February 2020

Excelsior Legacy Businesses 
  • In 2017, Pacitas Salvadorean Bakery, opened 24 years ago by Salvadoran émigré Maria Paz Rodriguez, became the first Excelsior business added to the Legacy Business Registry.
  • Little Joe’s Pizza, still retaining its vintage neon sign, serves both Italian and Mexican dishes that cater to and represent the changing demographics of the neighborhood over the decades.
  • Navarro’s Kenpo Karate Studio, started by Carlos Navarro in the basement of his Precita Avenue garage in 1966, continues a successful program of youth-focused martial arts, fitness, and dance classes.

The families of two men who served in the military together celebrating Christmas in the Excelsior in 1958. (Kodakan Photo Day, Shades of San Francisco, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library, SFP78-007-136)

Cultural Communities in the Excelsior 

Central Drug Store at 4494 Mission St. today, alongside an ad featured in the 1928 Excelsior News.

…an Oral History and History Mystery Solved

We’ve mapped the Excelsior’s standout public art. Click to browse!

Fun Stuff!
  • We made a video highlighting local historic resources and celebrating the unique character of the district. Check it out!
  • Have your ever wanted to learn more about La Grande Tank, a.k.a. the Excelsior’s under-appreciated blue landmark? We’ve got you covered.
  • While the Mission District is known for its mural art, the Excelsior has its own outstanding (and growing) collection of public art. From hidden mosaic stairways to colorful murals celebrating the district’s culture and history, we’ve mapped some examples.
Endangered Excelsior
  • Our primary goal has been to raise awareness of the historic fabric of the neighborhood and build appreciation for what’s special and worthy of preservation. But for each successful reuse of a commercial building, each place of worship revitalized by a new population, and each cottage occupied by a resident who appreciates its character, there is a business closure, an unsympathetic remodel, and a demolition. There are currently three worthy Excelsior buildings under threat on Mission Street.

As always, we’d like to hear your favorite places, stories, and ideas for what you’d like Heritage to focus on in the Excelsior. Reply to this email or email me, Kerri, at kyoung@sfheritage.org.

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