Crowdsourcing Maps, Unnumbering Streets
The easy part is done — the maps that are left are the tough ones, where streets were renamed (or never actually existed). Bayview / Hunters Point (aka Butchertown) along with the old piers by Dogpatch will be a real challenge.
I created a cheat sheet for Butchertown which should help for the numbered and lettered “South” streets and avenues, like these:
In the late spring of 1909, a street renaming commission was appointed by Mayor Taylor to clear up the long-standing confusion from similar or duplicate street names… the chairman took a strong stand against streets named only by numbers or alphabetical letters by stating that their use “is a cheap and indefensible expedient resorted to only when imagination is lacking.”
Lettered streets were expanded into words (N St South became Newhall St.)and numeric order turned into alphabetical street names (11th Ave South became into Kirkwood, 12th Ave S. turned into La Salle). Railroad Ave (and the Long Bridge) eventually became 3rd street.
(These “South” streets and avenues shouldn’t be confused with those in the Richmond and Sunset, where J became Judah, etc – if a fog-dweller wants to generate a companion index, please let me know.)
Freebooters and cutthroats, these Spanish fellows!
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. Let’s go back to Ireland, if we must get some names imported. ‘Dinan’ and ‘Conroy’ will do better than these outlandish titles of forgotten adventurers. This Spanish business is worse than the bubonic plague, but we’ll come through it in time.
IN SESF, the Catholic church got involved with renaming the streets in Bayview / Hunters Point, leading to some rather entertaining bitching. From the SF History Encyclopedia:
Led by Father O’Sullivan of All Hallows Parish, and Father Ford, a Jesuit from St. Ignatius College, the Bayview attempted to influence the street name selection. The first contention was over the use of the name of the “patriotic” Thomas Paine, of American Revolutionary and “Age of Reason” fame. When Paine was suggested for Sixteenth Avenue, South, Father O’Sullivan protested vehemently against naming a thoroughfare after someone they branded an atheist.
The Examiner quoted O’Sullivan as saying, “[Paine] was an infidel, and in South San Francisco we are all Christians.”
The Fathers really didn’t like authors:
Father Ford protested naming Thirtieth Avenue, South as Fitzgerald Avenue: “I object to making a hero of the author of pagan literature.”
The 11/27/1909 SF Call tells the story of a pirate mistaken for a priest (Sir Francis Drake vs St. Francis of Assisi).