San Francisco Heritage Sites
San Francisco Heritage Sites date before the Gold Rush in 1849, when an African-American became the richest person in San Francisco. Shortly afterwards, a madame formed the Western Terminus of the Underground Railroad here, since California was a Free State. During World War II, access to defense factory jobs attracted the largest migration of African-Americans to the Bay Area. In San Francisco, Fillmore District becoming their anchor for homes, churches, shops and nightclubs.
DESCRIPTION: In 1841, William Leidesdorff commanded the first steamship into San Francisco Bay. Wealth from his shipping line purchased extensive property between California, Grant, Washington & Montgomery streets and built one of the first major hotels in San Francisco. A small street in the Financial District is named in his honor.
ADDRESS: Between Sansome and Montgomery Streets, San Francisco MAP
Mary Ellen Pleasant Memorial
DESCRIPTION: From slave to businesswoman (1814-1903) Madame Pleasant used wealth created from a boarding house and other business ventures to establish the Western Terminus of the Underground Railroad and uplift the Black business community. She won the lawsuit in 1864, which allowed African Americans to ride San Francisco streetcars. Most historians consider her the “Mother of Civil Rights in California.” A large disc-like plaque occupies the front location of her former home.
ADDRESS: Southwest corner of Bush and Octavia Streets, San Francisco MAP
Hotel Mark Twain
DESCRIPTION: The earliest downtown hotel to permit African Americans to stay as guests. In 1949, Billie Holiday stayed here while performing at other venues around town who did not permit her to sleep on the premises. Billie’s room is restored and dedicated in her honor.
ADDRESS: 345 Taylor Street, San Francisco MAP
DESCRIPTION: This street and district developed its world-famous Jazz and Blues nightclub reputation during and just after World War II. It featured several jazz and blues clubs, as well as the world famous Fillmore Auditorium and solid black middle class before destruction by the SF Redevelopment Agency. Fortunately, the Fillmore Heritage Center, Yoshis Jazz Club, 1300 Fillmore, Gussies Restaurant and other small businesses have revived Fillmore Street. Its a must-visit again.
ADDRESS: Fillmore Street, San Francisco MAP
New Chicago Barbershop #3
DESCRIPTION: One of the oldest black-owned businesses in the Fillmore District. The walls are filled with many historic pictures when the Fillmore was still in its heyday. If you are lucky, chat with the oldest barber to hear about the good old Fillmore days.
ADDRESS: 1551 Fillmore Street, San Francisco MAP
Omega Library Centre
DESCRIPTION: Founded by Joe Marshall of Omega Boys Club, this center is known for its academic preparation program for underprivileged youth. It is also known for Joe’s radio talk-show, “Street Soldiers.”
DAYS & HOURS: Mon-Fri 9a-5p
ADDRESS: 1060 Tennessee Street, San Francisco MAP
Bethel AME Church
DESCRIPTION: Founded in 1852 but moved into this newer location. A congregation of over 1,700 supports a credit union plus investment, youth, blood donor, feeding and child care programs.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 8a & 11a
ADDRESS: 916 Laguna Street, San Francisco MAP
3rd Baptist Church
DESCRIPTION: Also founded 1852, but is now in a newer location. The church meets contemporary needs in the community with youth programs and a music academy.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 10a
ADDRESS: 1399 McAllister Street, San Francisco MAP
First AME Zion Church
DESCRIPTION: This is another of San Francisco’s three oldest Black churches.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 11a
ADDRESS: 2163 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco MAP
Glad Tidings Church
DESCRIPTION: This multi-cultural church strives to and succeeds at accepting everyone for spiritual nourishment.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 9:30a & 11a
ADDRESS: 1280 Webster Street, San Francisco MAP
Glide Memorial United Methodist Church
DESCRIPTION: Founder and Minister of Liberation, Rev. Cecil Williams is as much an icon as Glide Memorial. A lot of churches talk the talk, in terms of helping the poor and downtrodden, this one walks the walk. Glide Foundation provides food, shelter and many programs that help turn people’s lives around on earth and for heaven — what a blessing. Glide Ensemble Choir is banging too.
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 9a & 11a
ADDRESS: 330 Ellis Street, San Francisco MAP
St. Paul of the Shipwreck Catholic Church
DESCRIPTION: Founded 1915, this large, this politically active congregation is steeped in African-American culture. It features a youth academy and other community outreach programs.
SATURDAY VIGIL: 5p
SUNDAY WORSHIP: 7:30a & 10:30a
ADDRESS: 1122 Jamestown Avenue, San Francisco MAP