Local History

The Thriftown rooftop two weeks ago.

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.
Photo by Santiago Mejia for El Tecolote

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...
2.	Elias Castillo reading an excerpt from his book A Cross of Thrones. Photo by Serginho Roosblad

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...
A woman represents Circulo Cultural and holding a sign explaining the history of the Women's Building at its 45th anniversary celebration.

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...
Photo by Mark Rabine

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...
Grok the Raven. Photo courtesy of the Randall Museum

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...
John Thompson selects a customer's card out of a thick roster. Photo by Laura Wenus

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...
The Evergreen Market - Still on the block. Photo by V. Alexandra de F. Szoenyi

One SF Mission Block: What Was, What Is

When I step foot onto the block of Mission between 21st and 22nd streets, I feel a sense of home, because I see many of the places I would frequent during the first 15 years of my life – from 1980 to 1995. Back then, my grandmother Graciela Gonzalez, managed Panamericana Travel Systems, a business owned by a family friend....
The view of the Mission from the community garden at the top of Potrero Hill. Photo by Joe Rivano Barros.

Housing + Artists: SF Resident Talks Mission History

Looking back on decades-long struggles for housing, long-time Mission resident Tony Levine has been through the neighborhood’s earlier existential crises. We’re walking and talking on a Tuesday morning because Levine is interested in a wedge of a block Mission Local chronicled for Good Morning Mission, an inexplicably residential block of 11 homes at the end of 22nd Street and surrounded by the...
Galería staff and volunteers restore the mural. Photo by David Zlutnik

SF Galería Recognizes One Suspect in Video of Gay Mural’s Defacing

The director of the Galería de la Raza said they have identified a face from the security camera footage taken during the second incidence of vandalism against the outdoor LGBTQ mural on Bryant Street, but they are still deciding how to proceed. “We would love to have ways to resolve this by restorative justice…meaning they admit to the crime and they...
John Nuno in front of St. Peters on 24th Street.

Long Term SF Resident Talks About Gentrification

In my search for long-time Mission residents, I didn’t have to go far. John Nuno, who was born in North Beach in 1943 and moved to the Mission in 1955, has lived behind my house on York Street my entire life. (I’m 25.) He lived temporarily on 18th Street, between Mission & Valencia, but by the age of 25 he...
Johns two aunts, Linda and Bruna, are kneeling on the far left,  first  row.

The Changing Mission Has Been Changing for Decades

John, a who has been reading our coverage about the changes in the Mission wrote in and offered some perspective.   He also sent a photo of his two aunts in front of the American Can Company and when I asked for others he might have, he sent them on.  I’m a lifelong resident of the City, into my eighth decade...
Anachronism, photo by Cristiano Valli

True San Franciscans Gather to Spray Paint and Remember

This morning hundreds of people gathered at Dolores Park for one of the few celebrations that hasn’t yet gone hipster: the Golden Fire Hydrant Painting Ceremony. This hydrant at 20th and Church was the lonely working fire hydrant in the Mission after the 1906 Earthquake. It saved the world – or at least part of the Mission. It’s a moving ceremony, attended by...

Grand Theater’s Art Deco Splendor Finds a New Face and Purpose in Tech Art

With two more days to go in its fundraising drive, the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts is making a final push in its effort to bring in some extra dollars for its $300,0000 fund to revive the Grand Theater at 2665 Mission St, an art deco building from the 1940s that went from a movie theater to a Chinese import store...
La Mexicana Bakery displays a Homie Box of itself made by Cynthia or Cindy Delosa Photo by Daniel Mondragón

Long-Time Artist Captures a Genteel Mission in Homie Boxes

Chances are, you’ve seen Cindy DeLosa’s work in windows around the Mission: small dioramas with “homie” figurines depicting iconic scenes and moments in the neighborhood. The “homie boxes,” as they’re called, can be spotted everywhere, but if you want to see about a dozen of them in one place, head for the window galley at Precita Eyes on 24th Street, where Cindy...