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Announcing our 2020 Annual Lecture Series Lineup

Heritage’s annual Lecture Series exploring the breadth of San Francisco’s cultural inheritance is usually held in historic setting’s throughout the city. For the 2020 season, due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 crisis, we will host a virtual series, free and open to the public online. We ask that you register for each program you plan to attend, and all programs will take place on Thursday evenings unless otherwise noted.

The theme of this year’s series is Women in Preservation, and each program will spotlight and celebrate women both past and present who have worked to preserve San Francisco’s unique cultural and architectural heritage. Our virtual programs will incorporate historic photos, maps, audio, and video, and be recorded for subsequent sharing and archiving. We are happy to partner on this year’s series with the 640 Heritage Preservation Foundation.

July 16, 5:00 PM  – Rooted in Resilience: Legacy Restaurants and Bars in San Francisco

Clockwise from the top: 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Street kitchen, family posing around the stove. Streetcar tracks in the street (OpenSFHistory / wnp37.02227.jpg); Exterior of Spec’s Twelve Adler Museum Cafe; Exterior of Sam Wo Restaurant.

Denise Clifton, author of Tables from the Rubble: How the Restaurants that Arose After the Great Quake of 1906 Still Feed San Francisco Today, will host a conversation with the women behind two of San Francisco’s most beloved legacy businesses: Julie Ho of Sam Wo Restaurant, and Maralisa Simmons-Cook of Specs’ Twelve Adler Museum CaféTaking historic context from Denise’s book, which highlights stories of food businesses that emerged in the recovery years after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, this panel will explore how legacy businesses are now struggling and adapting through a new, very different disaster. 

Purchase Denise’s book here or ask for it at your favorite local bookstore. You can also now pick it up at Specs’!

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August 20, 6:00 PM  – San Francisco Neighborhood Heroines: The San Francisco Bay View’s Mary Ratcliff

Mary and Willie Ratcliffe, publishers of the Bay View newspaper, review their January edition near their archives on Jan. 10, 2018. (Emma Marie Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)

LisaRuth Elliott, project manager of the Neighborhood Newspapers of San Francisco collection of over 2,300 digitized local papers, will moderate a conversation with Mary Ratcliff, longtime editor and co-owner of the San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper. While the country’s mainstream press is slowly catching up to the issues and concerns of the Black community, the Bay View has long given a voice to Black San Franciscans since its inception in 1976. Anchored in the Bayview-Hunter’s Point, it was first neighborhood newspaper to join the Legacy Business Registry [in 2017]. Ratcliff will discuss the paper’s legacy of social justice work through community journalism, its continued outreach during the COVID-19 crisis, and her thoughts on carrying the legacy of the paper into the future.

Stay tuned for registration information.

September 17, 6:00 PM  – Sydney Stein: Golden Gate Park’s First Woman Gardener

Sydney Stein with ice plant, Golden Gate Park, June 1934. Courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library (AAA-7693).

2020 marks the 150th anniversary of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and our lecture will explore one of the park’s beloved unsung heroes: Sydney Stein, who in 1929 became the first woman hired as a gardener by the City of San Francisco. Nicole Meldahl, Executive Director of the Western Neighborhoods Project, will recount some of the specific initiatives she accomplished, such as saving tulips from Europe immediately before World War II, and Stein’s ascendance to chief nurseryman (or should we say, nurseryWOman?) and eventually manager of the Conservatory of Flowers. 

Stay tuned for registration information.

October 22nd, 2020  Intersections of Racism, Gender, and Historic Preservation in San Francisco’s Asian American Communities

Interior of Babies Aid Clinic in Chinese Hospital with Dr. Rose Goong Wong on far left and patients. Sept. 30, 1933. Courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library (AAB-6861).

In collaboration with Michelle Magalong, Executive Director of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans in Historic Preservation (APIAHiP). Panelists to be determined soon.

Stay tuned for registration information.





November 2020 Alice Ross Carey Memorial Lecture – Preservationists on Preservationists

Preservationist Betty Marvin. Photo by Daniella Thompson for the Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association.

Women architects and preservationists currently in the profession will give lightning-round presentations about their favorite women architect/preservationists, past or present. Speakers to be determined.

Stay tuned for registration information.



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