In 1775, Antonio María de Bucareli y Ursúa, Viceroy of New Spain (1771—1779), sent three ships to explore the coast of California and to provide support for the second Anza Expedition leading the original colonists from Sonora Mexico to Dolores Lagoon in today's Mission District...

The San Carlos or The Golden Fleece discovers the Golden Gate 1775
by W.A. Coulter

Today’s Mission District was originally the home of the Yelamu Ohlone Indians, who had two long-established villages here prior to the arrival of the first European settlers in the late 18th century. One of the first buildings erected by the Spanish missionaries in the 1780s remains the oldest standing building in San Francisco, the chapel at the neighborhood’s namesake, Misión San Francisco de Asís, better known as MISSION DOLORES. (3321 16th Street). 

In the early to mid-19th century the area was home to ranchos of Spanish-Mexican colonists whose names still echo through the district: Bernal, Dolores, Guerrero, Valenciano, and others. A crude two-mile road led northeast to the town of Yerba Buena (later renamed San Francisco). With the arrival of the Gold Rush and California statehood came a building boom, with substantial development of the Mission into housing for working class immigrants from Italy, Germany and Ireland, as well as factories in which many of these new residents worked.

In the post World War II era there was a large influx of Mexican immigrants, due in part to displacement by redevelopment in other parts of the City. This was the beginning of the imprint of Latino Culture that continues to define the Mission today. That cultural influence was both deepened and broadened by the arrival of primarily Central but also South American refugee immigrants from the 1960s through the 1980s.

The decades on either side of the turn of this century marked a boom-bust-boom cycle that initiated continual rediscovery and re-investment in the Mission, but never so much so that the neighborhood lost its unique multi-cultural sabor.


The world’s first major natural disaster to have its effects recorded by photography ranks as one of the worst natural disasters in US history and one of the most significant earthquakes of all time...


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