LOCATION: San Francisco, California
CLIENT: City and County of San Francisco
DATE COMPLETED: Underway
Founded as a Mexican pueblo in 1835, San Francisco has always been home to Latinos, whose origins include not only Mexico but also El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, and other Spanish-speaking nations in Latin America and Europe. Despite the city's origins, this community remained relatively small in numbers from the American conquest in 1846 until 1910, when the Mexican Revolution resulted in a sudden influx of Mexican refugees. The city's Spanish-speaking population gradually expanded with immigrants from Central America, the Caribbean, South America, and even Spain. By the end of World War II, the city's Latino population had grown beyond its compact barrio in North Beach and established a beachhead in the city's Mission District, which remains the center of Latino culture in San Francisco.
In partnership with San Francisco Heritage, the San Francisco Latino Historical Society, and San Francisco State University Professor Carlos Cordova, VerPlanck Historic Preservation Consulting is working on a Draft Citywide Historic Context Statement to document the history of Latino San Francisco. In addition to providing the most in-depth history ever written of Latinos in San Francisco, this document will identify potential city landmarks closely linked to sites of importance to San Francisco's Latino communities, including buildings designed and built by Latinos, important cultural and political organizations, nightclubs and galleries, and sites associated with important individuals or events. The document will also deal with strategies to preserve the hundreds of important murals in the Mission District, including Balmy Alley and Clarion Alley. The Latino Citywide Historic Context Statement is on track for completion in early 2016.