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Looking back: Distressing street name changes; 1924 Ocean Beach roadhouse

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We love our neighborhood history, so here’s a couple of interesting items for you…

@SF_Historian shared the above photo last week of a very grand 1924 roadhouse that was located on the northeast corner of Balboa near the Great Highway. It was called the Pacific Ocean House Ocean Beach Pavilion (among many other names) and you can see another photo of it here.

The Western Neighborhoods Project has written quite a bit on the roadhouses of the Great Highway and outer Richmond, which were popular destinations for drinking, dining and cavorting. Last year they even discovered some roadhouse architecture buried in the floorboards of a building on La Playa.

If you think NIMBYism is “new” to San Francisco, you’d be wrong (if you’re not familiar with the term it stands for “Not In My BackYard!”). It dates back at least as far as 1909 when there was uproar over proposed street name changes in the Richmond and Sunset Districts.

Chronicle columnist Gary Kamiya covered the controversy in his recent article Spanish street names upset Sunset, Richmond residents, detailing a time when residents feared that some proposed street name changes might “result in their neighborhood being renamed “Spanishtown” or “Dagoville.””

It was a complicated issue which eventually resulted in First Avenue becoming Arguello Boulevard and 49th Avenue becoming La Playa, plus A, B, and C Streets becoming Anza, Balboa and Cabrillo. There were additional street names changes in the Sunset District.

But that was after some severe anti-Spanish sentiments like this quote from a newspaper editorial: “What do we want with Spanish names, anyhow? Why, only the other day they shot a man there for speaking out the truth, and they have been the most cruel, tyrannical race in Europe.” Get the full story at SFGate.com

Sarah B.

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 11:21 am | Posted under History | 8 comments

Happy 4th of July! Here’s hoping we don’t have fogworks

We hope everyone has a most excellent long weekend AND that @karlthefog stays away at least until 10pm tomorrow night :)

If you’re looking for ideas on where to watch the fireworks show, which are shot off in sync from the foot of the Municipal Pier and from barges north of Pier 39, check out the guide on CurbedSF.

Here in the hood, we’re fans of walking up and over to Crissy Field to catch the who, or standing at Inspiration Point in the Presidio to see them (though some of them get cut off by the hills). Where do you like to watch from?

The show should start just shortly before 9:30pm. And if we do get fogged in, you can always watch the spectacular video above of the Golden Gate Bridge’s 75th Anniversary fireworks show.


Sarah B.

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 12:28 pm | Posted under Events | 3 comments

Video: San Francisco is fogtastic

A little zen for your Wednesday…

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 9:15 am | Posted under Video | 5 comments

Man found dead in his home; Haz Mat crew called & residents evacuated

Photo by @bonanos

Both CBS News and SFAppeal are reporting this morning that a man was found dead inside his residence at 43rd Avenue and Clement Street near the VA Hospital. Police and fire found him after they responded to the residence for a welfare check just before 9am.

After discovering the body, police declared a hazardous materials situation in the apartment, which triggered an evacuation of other apartments in the building.

A hazmat crew was called to the scene, and the block of 43rd Avenue between Clement and Geary was closed to car traffic.

A little after 11am, reader @bonanos tweeted that residents were being allowed back into the building

Authorities have not indicated why the apartment was declared a hazardous materials situation.

UPDATE 1:59pm: SFWeekly reports that police spokesperson Sgt. Danielle Newman told them that “Emergency personnel located possible hazardous chemicals.”

UPDATE 7-3-14: The deceased man was Sam Young, a local photographer and videographer. The Examiner has more about him in this article. His cause of death is still unknown.

Sarah B.

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 11:27 am | Posted under News | 19 comments

Sun halo at Fulton & 41st Avenue

Photo by Larf

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 5:02 am | Posted under Photos | 2 comments

Video from 48 years ago: Sutro Baths burns to the ground

Yesterday, the Western Neighborhoods Project posted video from the final moments of Sutro Baths when it burned down on June 26, 1966. The old 8mm film was transfered to DVD and provided to WNP by one of their members, Mark Adams. Joel Springer, who shot the footage, was known for chasing and filming many fires in San Francisco.

Sutro Baths was no longer in operation in 1966, and its swimming days were long behind it. Before its closure to the public in 1964, it had morphed into an ice-skating rink.

At the time of the fire, the buildings were in the process of being demolished in anticipation of the development of high-rise apartments and. After the fire, the city abandoned those plans.

Sarah B.

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 11:21 am | Posted under History | 4 comments

Richmond Station handled back-to-back bomb scares this week

The bomb squad outside the 6th Avenue SFPD station on Thursday afternoon. Photo by Derek

Bomb scares seem to be our summer thang here in the Richmond District…

After the 7th Avenue Safeway was shut down for a few hours last month due to a suspicious package found in the parking lot (and eventually cleared), the Richmond District station was tasked with two more similar incidents this week.

On Wednesday evening, police were called to a home on Beaumont near Mel’s Diner on Geary. Someone reported seeing what they thought might be a pipe bomb. Residents in surrounding homes were evacuated and the bomb squad was called to the scene.

The object was eventually deemed safe, and the Richmond station later tweeted “SFPD bomb squad checked and it was just a pipe. Better safe than sorry”.

On Thursday around 2pm, a scare developed much closer to home when someone walked into the Richmond District police station on 6th Avenue with a suspicious object.

The block where the station is located was closed off to traffic, and once again the bomb squad was called to the scene to inspect the object. Around 3:19pm, the all clear was given.

The station later tweeted an explanation about the incident: “Resident brought a suspicious package to the station. Bomb squad checked – it was perfume.”

[Insert cheap perfume joke here.]

And in that same tweet, they offered some sage advice: “For a suspicious package don’t touch – call 911.”

Sarah B.

A bomb squad officer in his protective gear on 6th Avenue on Thursday. Photo by Derek

The bomb squad’s robot was on the scene at the 6th Avenue scare on Thursday. Photo by Derek

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 5:02 am | Posted under News | 1 comment

NRDC grades the health of our beach waters; Baker Beach ranks lowest

The Natural Resources Defense Council released their annual report this week, entitled “Testing the Waters 2014: A Guide To Water Quality At Vacation Beaches”. In it, they detail water quality conditions at beaches in 30 states along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, using water samples taken in 2013.

We took a look at our nearby beaches – Baker Beach, China Beach, and Ocean Beach – to see how they ranked.

The key indicator that the report looks at is the Beach Action Value (BAV) safety threshold, and what percent of samples from a given beach exceed the threshold due to higher than acceptable levels of bacteria.

Ocean Beach offers the cleanest waters, with 0% of samples exceeding the BAV safety threshold. China Beach is just slightly behind with 2% of samples exceeding the BAV.

Baker Beach has the most alarming statistics, with numbers as high as 28% of samples exceeding the BAV threshold, specifically those taken from the Lobos Creek dumpout near the lower parking lot of Baker Beach. Two other spots at Baker Beach came in much lower at 3% and 7%.

According to the NRDC, “the largest known contributor to beach closings or health advisory days has historically been stormwater pollution. Untreated sewage spills and overflows are also frequently to blame.”

Baker Beach is no stranger to low ratings. In 2011, Heal the Bay listed Baker on its “Beach Bummer” list, which ranked the most polluted shorelines in the state. Lobos Creek empties onto Baker Beach which apparently creates opportunity for bacteria to congregate. That portion of Baker Beach is on the list for an official cleanup effort, but research and recommendations won’t be completed until 2019.

Year over year, our beaches fared about the same. The NRDC changed their methodology a bit but click here if you want to see a synopsis of their findings in 2013.

Sarah B.

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 5:13 am | Posted under Recreation | 13 comments