Remembering the Time When “South San Francisco” was Actually In San Francisco – The Bayview’s “Avenues, South”

This H. A. Candrian map from 1909 (on display at 100 Van Ness) shows no respect for the then-new City of South San Francisco (founded 1908) - you know, that town that used to be called “Baden” that’s about five miles to the south.

I say that because the Bayview / Hunters Point area is clearly marked “South San Francisco.”

See all those “avenues south” (both actual and planned)? They perished in the Great Renaming of 1909. Check it: 

“There were three sets of numerical streets. First through Thirty-first streets ran from downtown into the Mission District. The growing Richmond and Sunset Districts had First through Forty-ninth avenues. The Bayview District had a similar list of avenues, First through Forty-fifth, which were suffixed as “Avenue, South.” In a pre-zip code era, these variations in designations for numbered or lettered byways just added to the other street name confusion in the city. The Post Office estimated that 500 letters a day were mishandled due to the problem of street names in San Francisco.”

Click to expand

Of course these streets are labelled alphabetically now, but not without a pitched battle at City Hall:

“When the dust cleared, and the final vote was taken on December 21, the commission did placate the priests by naming one street for Padre Palou (instead of Payne), another for Charles Carroll(instead of Cromwell), and a third for the California historian Hubert Howe Bancroft (instead of Belfast, the Protestant city in North Ireland), although Bancroft was still living. The north-south streets in the Bayview were lettered “A” Street, South, through “T” Street, South, with the letter O omitted. These were renamed using mostly prominent San Francisco pioneers, but met with no protest. Two non-pioneers’ names were chosen: Colonel George H. Mendell, who was responsible for laying out much of the coastal defense system and had just recently died, and William Keith, the popular California artist, the only other living person to have a street named in his honor.”

Thank goodness we don’t argue over street names anymore…

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