Farewell Favorites: Streets of Old

St. Brigid's Church
Around the turn of the Millennium, the streets of Old San Francisco came a couple of steps closer to extinction. In December, 2000, the section of Commercial Street between Grant and Kearny in Chinatown, which was one of the City's last brick streets, was renovated. It's well-worn bricks were replaced with new ones, but also with alternating sections of concrete. The discarded bricks were rescued and stored by a preservationist. When Kearny was at the water's edge, Commercial Street was known as Long Wharf. It was home to several brothels and shares a distinction with Market Street as the only two streets where you can face the east for an unobstructed view of the Ferry Building. In 2002, the section of 24th Street between Rhode Island and De Haro is the subject of friction between neighbors and Department of Public Works officials who want to remove its cobblestones for plumbing and other improvements. A quasi-brick street exists on Pacific Avenue between Lyon Street and Presidio. When the City's streets were made from bricks, mud, and cobblestones, flat stones were used at every intersection. St. Brigid's Church, Broadway and Van Ness Avenue, is made from many of them which were bought and stored by the church about a hundred years before Y2K. The City's most famous brick street is Lombard between Hyde and Leavenworth.

Detail I: 3rd Ave. between Irving and Parnassus
Detail II: 3rd Ave. between Irving and Parnassus

Copyright 2002 Hank Donat
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