Local History

After dark history, Homestead rings in 115 years

When Deb Welch first stepped into The Homestead, a bar at the corner 19th and Folsom, it was love at first sight. It was 1996, and a Japanese blues band was playing a tune in the corner. “There was hay all over the floor, and the band didn’t speak a word of English,” she said. “It was so bizarre.” Welch...

The sweet bread for the Day of the Dead has its own SF story to tell

All month, residents and tourists have visited the panaderias in the Mission District to purchase the pan de muertos, a sweet bread traditionally made in the weeks leading up to the Day of the Dead or Día de Los Muertos. It’s as if the bread was a Mission tradition. But, only 42 years ago, it was not common fare. “We...

After nearly 100 years, SF mortuary is alive and kicking

Locked away in the basement safe at the Duggan Welch funeral home on 17th street are old record books, some dating back to the days when the mortuary carried out funeral processions by horse and carriage. Steven Welch, the current owner, flipped through the pages. The earliest books are in his great-grandfather’s cursive. Later documents are in his grandmother’s handwriting...

Review: Cary Cordova’s romp through the Mission Renaissance

Every city has its moment – a time when events and people converge in one place to define it for years to come.  Drill down and those moments – often decades long – are generally associated with neighborhoods –  Montmartre in the first years of the 20th Century,  Harlem in the 1920s, Soho in the late 1970s and early 1980s....

One vacant block in SF’s Mission reaches back into another era

Two grey buildings on 23rd Street loom like tombstones across the bright green lawn of Parque Ninos Unidos. The two buildings, which share three addresses between them—3067, 3069 and 3071—are noticeable for their state of disrepair. The rooms are empty, the upstairs windows shattered and exteriors are a motley pastiche of white and grey. Hastily applied patches of paint cover...

Tonight: Launch party for book celebrating stories and murals of the Mission

In a burst of color and poetry, a new book of photography and writing called The Mission will enter the literary scene at the Grand Theater tonight. The Mission‘s focus is on the community murals the neighborhood is known for, photographed by Richard Evans, but also delves deeper than their artistic surfaces. With poetry and musings from important artistic and literary figures in...

Starting Friday, peep into the Mission’s past

Our friends at the Mission Media Arts Archive collective will be featuring This Was Then, a compilation of three short films featuring the Mission in the 1970s and 1980s at the Peephole Cinema in Orange Alley near 26th Street.  The shorts will show 24-hours a day from Friday through May 18. The films include a youth council strike, a day in Dolores Park...

Elixir Bar: A Deep Fount of Mission History

When you grab a drink at Elixir on 16th and Guerrero streets, you might not know you’re inside the city’s second-oldest saloon, running since 1858. On Saturday, boozehound historians of the E Clampus Vitus association will reveal a historic plaque at Elixir denoting its venerated status. Mission Local talked with owner H. Joseph Ehrmann, the 11th (or perhaps 12th, given...

HISTORY: 17 Reasons Remembered

“When I came to San Francisco, I saw that fantastic sign…with no explanation but it was enough for me,” wrote Glen Mehn in a 2002 letter to the city protesting the removal of the icon. “I knew where I wanted to live…in the Mission, close to that sign.” Read the Full Story HERE.

The Sound of the Mission’s History Returns Remixed

Think you know the Mission and its history? You might discover something new at the Brava Center for Theater and the Arts when El Son de la Misión re-opens for a two-night on Friday, Nov. 11. The show is a musical and theatrical exploration and expression of the history of the Mission, with a particular focus on activism through the...

Busting the Myths of California’s Missions

The historical “myths” of the Spanish missions in California were heavily critiqued at a presentation on Thursday evening, as the organizer Lisa Ruth Elliot from Shaping SF framed the evening as a way to “open the conversations that are not happening” around the histories of Native Americans in California. A crowd of about 50 people at the Eric Quezada Center...

At 45, Women’s Building Shows No Signs of Slowing

With 45 years of advancing feminism under its belt, the Women’s Building has more work ahead, but owning its own building has given it a stability that will allow it to continue. “It‘s an anchor of our community, it’s a village tree,” said Erin Sink, a member of the board of directors, who emphasized the organization’s support for nonprofits in...

The Great Earthquake’s Marks on the Mission Are Still There – If You Know Where to Look

Picture this: It’s 5 a.m., 110 years ago. San Francisco wakes up to 45 seconds of shifting earth: (Sound by the Mission Bicycle Earthquake Tour) The 1906 earthquake left its mark, and though the Mission did not fare as badly as many other parts of town, signs of the quake still dot the neighborhood. I recently rode along on a tour...

SF’s Randall Museum Mourns Death of Two Ravens

The largest birdcage at the Randall museum held just two birds as of last week: a yellow-billed magpie with a broken wing, and another bird, a smallish crow, that hopped nervously from the dried eucalyptus branch at the top of the cage to the floor and back again. Both birds seemed bereft, and the cage felt empty of avian life. Usually...

Marian’s Clothing: A History

You have seen the signs outside Marian’s for months. “Store closing!” they blare to passerby on Mission Street, now through the bars of a sliding gate. Once a vibrant clothing store, Marian’s has closed – but not without leaving behind a rich history. Andrew Thompson, nursed the store along on its deathbed after 63 years in business. He and his...