Five Fun Facts About North Beach

Jul 18, 2018 607

BY: Peter Lawrence Kane

Until 1909, everyone’s favorite diagonal thoroughfare was known as Montgomery Avenue, creating a de facto intersection of “Montgomery and Montgomery” at the site that would go on to become the Transamerica Pyramid six decades later. That year, the city of San Francisco, in post-earthquake recovery and consolidation mode and with more than 400,000 residents, decided to clean up its streets. It wasn’t as though garbage pickup was implemented that year; instead, the city chose to eliminate the duplicate street names that had proliferated since the pre-Gold Rush Yerba Buena era.

The Commission on the Changing of Street Names took its duty quite seriously. The alterations were most dramatic in the Richmond and Sunset districts, where thousands of neighbors fiercely opposed the “Spaniardized” renaming of all the east-west streets in an alphabetical sequence from Anza to Wawona — with the surnames of a few American military figures, like Kirkham and Lawton, thrown in. But other streets got renamed, too, including DuPont Street (now Grant Avenue) and the Embarcadero, which had previously been known by the cumbersome designations “East Street North” and “East Street South,” separated by the Ferry Building.

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