Our Continuing Efforts in the Excelsior for Heritage in the Neighborhoods

March 31st, 2020 No Comments »

Heritage in the Neighborhoods text, with three images representing the Excelsior (Colorful mural reading "Excelsior"), Marina (Neon sign reading "Marina Lounge"), and Parkside Districts (mural reading "Parkside).

We’ve had a whirlwind time this month focusing on the many businesses, buildings, and cultural communities that make the Excelsior District special. If you’ve missed any of our posts you can find a list of them here. At the same time, in light of the shelter-in-place orders necessitated by the worldwide development of COVID-19, we’ve been recalibrating our strategy for helping you get more involved in Heritage in the Neighborhoods from home. While we look forward to rescheduling our Excelsior Heritage Night to a date in the future, we would like to find new ways of connecting virtually with those who would like join our preservation efforts in the Excelsior. To that end, we will be planning virtual meetings and live events online in the coming weeks, in order to continue raising awareness of the historic fabric of the neighborhood and start building an affinity group to tackle a local preservation project.

The Excelsior Action Group (EAG), the neighborhood advocacy group that we’ve been working with closely with throughout the month, has many local beautification, art, and legacy business projects already in progress that we at Heritage (and by extension the affinity group we help form) hope to assist with. Below are are some of these projects, as well as current work that Heritage has in progress in the neighborhood. Again, in the next few weeks we hope to find new ways to connect with you virtually, so stay tuned for more information soon!

The Granada Theatre building (now a Goodwill store) as featured in our Excelsior video. The theatre’s marquee and vertical sign is long gone, but advocates at EAG hope to raise money to install a new vertical sign reading “The Excelsior” to highlight  the neighborhood’s identity. 

Mission at Ocean Apr 1947. View north on Mission from Ocean (and San Juan Ave) Granada Theatre (later a Goodwill Store) showing ‘Magnificent Doll’and ‘Two Smart People’. Southbound SF Municipal Railway (Muni) 14-line Streetcar #939. OpenSFHistory / wnp27.50127.jpg

Another neighborhood sign EAG hopes to restore is the Roma Pizzeria sign, at 5099 Mission Street.

Central Drug Store (left), the oldest still-operating business in the Excelsior District, next to an ad for the store within the Excelsior News Special Issue, August 20, 1928. (Western Neighborhoods Project Collection). Central Drugs is one of the businesses that EAG is currently working on to add to the city’s Legacy Business Registry (which Heritage hopes to assist with).

The Italian American Social Club at 25 Russia Avenue. Heritage is currently assisting the Club with their Legacy Business Registry application. We hope to reschedule our Excelsior Heritage Night (previously scheduled for March 25th, 2020) to a date later this year.

Heritage was happy to assist the SF Planning Department in crafting the City Landmark designation for the Storybook/Art Deco-style Royal Baking Company building at 4773 Mission St. A hearing is currently scheduled for May 6th for the next step in its approval, so stay tuned for news! 

Published in November 2019, the draft of the Excelsior/Outer Mission Streetscape Design Guidelines is an interagency effort to create a unified vision for streetscape improvements on Mission Street in the Outer Mission and Excelsior. Examples of streetscape improvements include neighborhood gateway features and artwork. These guidelines aim to help improve the safety, visual quality, and community character of the corridor. The draft details the efforts that EAG and other community groups have undertaken to solicit community feedback for streetscape improvements, and gives examples of projects already completed such as the addition of public art in the Excelsior’s Kenny Alley, Persia Triangle, and Excelsior Branch Library. Heritage may in part use these community outreach efforts as a template for building neighborhood support for Heritage in the Neighborhoods.


For those interested in joining advocacy efforts in the Excelsior, would you be interested in a virtual Zoom meeting, or a presentation from us on Facebook or Youtube Live? Let us know your thoughts and ideas for connecting during this (extraordinary) time by emailing Kerri at kyoung@sfheritage.org.

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