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Richmond District
—  Neighborhood of San Francisco  —
Geary Boulevard, looking eastward from 36th Avenue in the "Outer Richmond."
Nickname(s): The Richmond, Outside Lands, Inner Richmond, Outer Richmond
 - Board of Supervisors Eric Mar
 - State Assembly Fiona Ma (D)
 - State Senate Leland Yee (D)
 - U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D)
 - Total 7 km2 (2.705 sq mi)
 - Land 7 km2 (2.705 sq mi)
 - Total 59,297
 - Density 8,463.4/km2 (21,920/sq mi)
ZIP Code 94118, 94121
Area code(s) 415

The Richmond District is a neighborhood in the northwest corner of San Francisco, California.



Lying directly north of Golden Gate Park, "the Richmond" is bounded roughly by Fulton Street to the south, Arguello Boulevard and Laurel Heights to the east, The Presidio National Park and Lincoln Park to the north, and Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Park Presidio Boulevard, a major thoroughfare, divides the Richmond into the western "Outer Richmond" and the eastern portion, called the "Inner Richmond." Geary Boulevard is a major east-west thoroughfare that runs through the Richmond and to downtown.


The district was given its name by Australian immigrant and Japanese fine art dealer George Turner Marsh, one of the neighborhood's earliest residents, who called his home "the Richmond House" after Richmond, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia.[2] The district was originally an expanse of rolling sand dunes. It was developed initially in the late 19th century.

The district became legally called the "Park-Presidio District" according to a city law that was passed back in 1917. Neighborhood clubs and real-estate agents urged the Board of Supervisors to change the name to Park-Presidio District. Due to the lack of zip codes at the time, they were worried there would be confusion between the district and the city of Richmond right across the bay. On January 27, 2009, Supervisor Eric Mar introduced his very first legislation that would rename the area north of Golden Gate Park and west of Arguello Boulevard as the Richmond District; basically, the area that is already commonly referred to as the Richmond District.[3]

After the 1906 earthquake, development increased with the need to provide replacement housing. The last of the sand dunes and coastal scrub that once dominated the area were built over to create a street car suburb.

The Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war brought many White Russian, Orthodox Russian refugees and immigrants into the neighborhood. Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia briefly made its headquarters at the Holy Virgin Cathedral which still stands today on Geary Boulevard.

In the 1950s, and especially after the lifting of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1965, Chinese immigrants began to replace the ethnic Jewish and Irish-Americans who had dominated the district before World War II. Chinese of birth or descent now make up nearly the majority of residents in the Richmond. [2]

Adolph Sutro was one of the first large-scale developers of the neighborhood. He is responsible for building the Sutro Baths, along with his mansion on the western end of the district, near Ocean Beach.

Attractions & Characteristics

19th Avenue in the Richmond District.

The Richmond District and the neighboring Sunset District (on the south side of Golden Gate Park) are often collectively known as "The Avenues", because a majority of both neighborhoods are spanned by numbered north-south avenues. When the city was originally laid out, the avenues were numbered from 1st to 49th and the east-west streets were lettered A to X. In 1909, to reduce confusion for mail carriers, the east-west streets and 1st Avenue and 49th Avenue were renamed. The east-west streets were named after Spanish explorers in ascending alphabetical order in a southward direction. First Avenue was renamed Arguello Boulevard and 49th Avenue was renamed La Playa Street. [3]

Today, the first numbered avenue is 2nd Avenue, starting one block west of Arguello Boulevard, and the last is 48th Avenue near Ocean Beach. The avenue numbers increase incrementally, with the exception that what would be 13th Avenue is called Funston Avenue named for Frederick Funston, a U.S. Army general, famous for his exploits during the Spanish-American War, the Philippine-American War, and the 1906 Earthquake.

Many of the east-west streets are still named after the Spanish Conquistadors, but there are exceptions. The creation of Golden Gate Park took out the streets previously lettered E through G. The former D Avenue became Fulton, which is the northern boundary of most of the Park. The southern boundary, the former H Avenue, was renamed Lincoln after President Abraham Lincoln.

North of the Park in the Richmond District, the streets are named Anza, Balboa and Cabrillo. South of the neighborhood there are called, Hugo (Inner Sunset only), Irving, Judah, Kirkham, Lawton, Moraga, Noriega, Ortega, Pacheco, Quintara, Rivera, Santiago, Taraval, Ulloa, Vicente, Wawona, and Yorba. "X" was originally proposed to be Xavier, but was changed to Yorba due to a pronunciation controversy.[4]

The bustling commercial strip of restaurants and shops along Clement Street between Arguello and Park Presidio Boulevard is referred to by some as "New Chinatown." The same commercial strip is home to many Pubs, Bars, and restaurants as well.

Successive waves of immigration from the former Soviet Union over the decades has made the Richmond home to a high concentration of Russian, Ukrainian, and Eastern European immigrants. The large Russian Orthodox Cathedral Holy Virgin Cathedral is one of the largest buildings in the neighborhood and contains the remains and relics of John of Shanghai and San Francisco. The area around the Cathedral is informally known as Little Russia, and has many Russian bakeries, groceries, and restaurants.

The Richmond is also one of the last major enclaves of Irish Americans left in San Francisco's original large Irish American population. Many recent Irish immigrants also live in the area. Geary Boulevard and nearby Clement Street has many popular Irish Pubs.

Major Parks in the Richmond include Lincoln Park and Golf Course in the Outer Richmond which also contains the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. The former Fort Miley Military Reservation is now part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, a section of which contains a large Veterans Affairs Hospital. A small lake near Park Presidio and the Presidio Park forms part of the Mountain Lake Park.

External links

Coordinates: 37°46.68′N 122°28.98′W / 37.778°N 122.483°W / 37.778; -122.483


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Lagos, Marisa (January 28, 2009) /cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/detail?blogid=55&entry_id=35128 "Don't call that the Richmond!" San Francisco Chronicle. (Retrieved 1-28-09.)
  3. ^ Lagos, Marisa (January 28, 2009) "Richmond District name has never been official, but that soon may change" "San Francisco Chronicle." (Retrieved 1-28-09.)
  4. ^ Freeman, John (2003). "Street Naming Controversy - 1909". Encyclopedia of San Francisco. San Francisco Museum & Historical Society. Retrieved 2008-06-21.  


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