Over the last three decades, San Francisco has created thirteen historic districts that highlight a group of resources worth protecting because they bring to life a time and bring context to SF’s rich historical past.
From warehouses in the mid-market area to national land trusts, they highlight a range of diverse neighborhoods from Civic Center to the Presidio National Park; the first business center in Jackson Square; industrial areas such as the Northeast Waterfront and the South End; and residential neighborhoods such as Telegraph Hill, Liberty Hill, Alamo Square, Bush Street-Cottage Row and Webster Street.
A large number of buildings in districts contribute to the understanding of how a neighborhood or area changed and developed through “integrity”. “Integrity” is the authenticity of physical characteristics from which resources obtain their significance. Integrity is the composite of seven qualities:
When properties retain integrity, they are able to convey their association with events, people, and designs from San Francisco’s past. Resources lacking integrity are deemed incompatible or non-contributory. In general, only a small percentage of resources located within a historic district will be deemed incompatible or non-contributory. As an example, in a historic district for 19th-century architecture, a newly built building would be deemed non-contributory.
Here is a list of San Francisco Historic Landmark Districts with descriptions and links to more information.
1. Jackson Square Landmark District
Homes here are found in the Barbary Coast/Financial District neighborhood. Bounded by Broadway, Sansome, Washington, and Columbus Avenue and designated in 1972, San Francisco’s earliest surviving commercial area features commercial and mixed-use buildings, predominantly brick, erected in the 1850s to 1860s. Buildings are typically two- to three stories with commercial uses at the high ground story. Blocks: 8 Parcels: 82. Discover Jackson Street, a street we love so much we named half the company after it!
2. Webster Street Landmark District
Homes here are found in the Pacific Heights neighborhood. Bounded by Jackson, Buchanan, Fillmore, and Clay Streets and designated in 1981, this residential historic district in the Western Addition features a unified collection of builder-developed residences designed in the Italianate style. The single-family residences and duplexes were designed for middle-income home buyers. Blocks: 3 Parcels: 25
3. Northeast Waterfront Landmark District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS North Waterfront neighborhood. Bounded by Greenwich, Embarcadero, Montgomery Street, and Broadway and designated in 1983, this commercial and industrial historic district reflects waterfront storage and maritime activities, from the Gold Rush era to World War II. It features a large collection of warehouses and industrial buildings constructed of brick and reinforced concrete. Blocks: 9 Parcels: 53.
4. Alamo Square Landmark District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Alamo Square neighborhood. Bounded by Golden Gate Avenue, Divisadero, Webster, and Fell Streets and designated in 1984, this large residential historic district is clustered around Alamo Square in the Western Addition. It features richly ornamented houses and flats, designed in a range of Victorian- and Edwardian-era styles, primarily for businessmen and the upper-middle-class home buyer. Alamo Square Park is also a contributing feature. Blocks: 16 Parcels: 281
5. Liberty Hill Landmark District
Homes here are found in the Dolores Heights/Eureka Valley neighborhood.Bounded by 20th, Mission, Dolores, and 22nd Streets and designated in 1985, this Mission District historic district features Victorian-era residences designed primarily in the Italianate, Stick, and Queen Anne styles. It contains a mix of uniform developer-built tracts for the working class and larger, custom-designed residences for middle-income home buyers. It includes mixed-use buildings, primarily along Valencia Street, that feature ground-level retail spaces. Blocks: 10 Parcels: 298.
6. Telegraph Hill Landmark District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Telegraph Hill neighborhood. Bounded by Greenwich, Sansome, Montgomery, and Green Streets and designated in 1986, this eclectic hillside historic district features the largest concentration of pre-1870s buildings in San Francisco. The residential district features small-scale dwellings accessible only via narrow pedestrian-only lanes and staircases, as well as larger, iconic Modern buildings such as Richard Neutra’s Kahn House and the Streamline Moderne Malloch Apartment Building. Blocks: 6 Parcels: 90.
7. Blackstone Court Landmark District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Cow Hollow neighborhood. Bounded by Lombard, Franklin, Gough, and Greenwich Streets and designated in 1987, the significance of this tiny mid-block residential district is more historical than architectural. It is centered around the now-filled Washerwoman’s Lagoon. The lot lines, small houses, and location on a pre-Gold Rush trail present a unique physical expression of pre-1906 development in the Marina District. Blocks: 1 Parcels: 4.
8. South End Historic District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS South Beach neighborhood. Bounded by Stillman, First, Ritch, and King Streets and designated in 1990, this industrial and warehouse historic district features a collection of single- and multi-story warehouses. Constructed of brick and reinforced concrete, the warehouses are associated with maritime and rail activities. The majority of buildings were erected between 1906 and 1929. Blocks: 6 Parcels: 84.
9. Bush Street Cottage Row Landmark District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Lower Pacific Heights neighborhood. Bounded by Bush, Webster, Fillmore, and Sutter Streets and designated in 1991, the historic district is comprised of residential buildings – primarily of flat front Italianate and Stick design – plus a walkway and a small park. Located in the Japantown neighborhood, the buildings are relatively small-scale and a uniform two stories in height. In the 1930s, the walkway was commonly known as “Japan Street” due to the neighborhood’s large population of Japanese-American residents. Blocks: 2 Parcels: 23. More information from SF Planning.
10. Civic Center Landmark Historic District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Civic Center neighborhood.Bounded by Market, Fell, Franklin, Golden Gate and Jones and designated in 1996, the Civic Center historic district consists of monumental institutional buildings flanking a central open space, as well as nearby large-scale commercial and apartment buildings. Civic Center institutional buildings are unified in a Beaux Arts Classical design, described as “American Renaissance.” The Civic Center Plaza is a contributing feature. Blocks: 15 Parcels: 61
11. Dogpatch Historic District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Dogpatch neighborhood.Bounded by Mariposa, Tubbs, 3rd, and Indiana Streets and designated in 2003, this historic district features the oldest enclave of industrial workers’ housing in San Francisco. It is located to the east of Potrero Hill in the Central Waterfront district. The small-scale Victorian-era cottages and flats housed workers from the shipyards and maritime-related industries of the adjacent Potrero Point. Also included are several industrial, commercial and civic buildings.
12. Market Street Masonry Historic District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS South of Market or Hayes Valley neighborhoods.
A discontiguous district of 8 structures built between 1911 and 1925. Each building is constructed of reinforced concrete or a combination of brick and reinforced concrete. All are designed by San Francisco master architects. More information from SF Planning.
13. Duboce Park Historic District
Homes here are found in the SFAR MLS Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Residential area featuring well-preserved Victorian- and Edwardian-era homes, many in the Queen Anne style. The district includes Duboce Park.
Get in touch!
photo credit/copyright: Matt Fuller