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Hunters Point, San Francisco, California

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Title: Hunters Point, San Francisco, California  
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Subject: San Francisco Municipal Railway, USS Robison (DDG-12), San Francisco Naval Shipyard, Westmob, Union Iron Works, Bernal Heights, San Francisco, Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, Bumpy Johnson, Alma (1891), Culture of San Francisco
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Hunters Point, San Francisco, California

Bayview-Hunters Point
Neighborhood of San Francisco
Football stadium, is in the foreground
Nickname(s): The Point, The Port, Bayview, HP

Location within San Francisco

Coordinates: 37°43′37″N 122°23′19″W / 37.72687°N 122.38873°W / 37.72687; -122.38873

 • Board of Supervisors Malia Cohen
 • State Assembly Tom Ammiano (D)
 • State Senate Mark Leno (D)
 • U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D)
 • Total 10.2 km2 (3.95 sq mi)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 35,890
ZIP Code 94124
Area code(s) 415

Bayview-Hunters Point or The Bayview, is a neighborhood in the southeastern corner of San Francisco, California, United States. The decommissioned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard is located within its boundaries and Candlestick Park is on the southern edge.

Redevelopment projects for the neighborhood became the dominant issue of the 1990s and 2000s. Efforts include the Bayview Redevelopment Plan for Area B, which includes approximately 1300 acres of existing residential, commercial and industrial lands. This plan identifies seven economic activity nodes within the area. The former Navy Shipyard waterfront property is also the target of redevelopment to include residential, commercial, and recreational areas.[3]


The Bayview-Hunters Point district is located in the southeastern part of San Francisco, strung along the main artery of Third Street from India Basin to Candlestick Point. The boundaries are Cesar Chavez Boulevard to the north, U.S. Highway 101 (Bayshore Freeway) to the west, Bayview Hill to the south, and the San Francisco Bay to the east. Neighborhoods within the district include Hunters Point, India Basin, Bayview, Silver Terrace, Bret Harte, Islais Creek Estuary and South Basin. The entire southern half of the neighborhood is the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area as well as the Candlestick Park Stadium.[1]


Primarily composed of tidal wetlands with some small hills, the area was inhabited by the Ohlone people prior to the arrival of Spanish missionaries in the 1700s. It was first surveyed in 1775 by Juan Bautista Aguirre,[4] a ship pilot for Captain Juan Manuel de Ayala who named it La Punta Concha (English: Conch Point).[5] Later explorers renamed it Beacon Point.[6] For the next several decades it was used as pasture for cattle run by the Franciscan monks at Mission Dolores.[5]

In 1839, the area was part of the 4,446-acre (17.99 km2) Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo Mexican land grant given to José Cornelio Bernal (1796–1842). Following the California Gold Rush, Bernal sold Bayview-Hunters Point property for real estate development in 1849. Little actual development occurred but Bernal's agents were three brothers, John, Phillip and Robert Hunter, who built their homes and dairy farm on the land (then near the present-day corner of Griffith Street and Oakdale Avenue) and who gave rise to the name Hunters Point.[5]

After a San Francisco ordinance in 1868 banned the slaughter and processing of animals within the city proper, a group of butchers established a "butchers reservation" on 81-acre (0.33 km2) of tidal marshland in the Bayview district. Within ten years, 18 slaughterhouses were located in the area along with their associated production facilities for tanning, fertilizer, wool and tallow. The "reservation" (then bounded by present-day Ingalls Street, Third Street, from Islais Creek to Bayshore) and the surrounding houses and businesses became known as Butchertown. The butcher industry declined following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake until 1971 when the final slaughterhouse closed.[7]

Shipbuilding became integral to Bayview-Hunters Point in 1867 with the construction there of the first permanent drydock on the Pacific coast. The Hunters Point Dry Docks were greatly expanded by Union Iron Works and Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation and were capable of housing the largest ships that could pass through the locks of the Panama Canal. World War I increased the contracts there for building Naval vessels and, in 1940, the United States Navy purchased a section of property to develop the San Francisco Naval Shipyard.[5]

The shipbuilding industry saw a large influx of blue collar workers into the neighborhood, many of them African Americans taking part in the Great Migration. This migration into Bayview increased substantially after World War II due to racial segregation and eviction of African Americans from homes elsewhere in the city.[8] Between 1940 and 1950, the population of Bayview saw a fourfold increase to 51,000 residents.[9]

The Bayview-Hunters Point district was labelled "Southern San Francisco" on South San Francisco further to the south.

Until 1969, the Hunters Point shipyard was the site of the Naval Radiological Defense Laboratory (NRDL). The NRDL decontaminated ships exposed to atomic weapons testing and also researched the effects of radiation on materials and living organisms.[10] This caused widespread radiological contamination and, in 1989, the base was declared a Superfund site requiring long-term clean-up.[11][12] The Navy closed the shipyard and Naval base in 1994. The Base Realignment and Closure program manages various pollution remediation projects.[10]

The Bayview-Hunters Point district served as the location for the coal and oil-fired power plants which provided electricity to San Francisco from 1929 until 2006. Smokestack effluvium and byproducts dumped in the vicinity have been cited for health and environmental problems in the neighborhood. In 1994, the San Francisco Energy Company proposed building another power plant in the neighborhood but community activists protested and pushed to have the current facility shut down.[13] In 2008, Pacific Gas and Electric Company demolished the plant and began a two-year remediation project to restore the land for residential development.[14]

By the 1960s, the Bayview and Hunters Point urban neighborhoods had become increasingly segregated from San Francisco and were composed predominantly of African-Americans and other racial minorities. At this time, the hyphenated name "Bayview-Hunters Point" became the official designation for the district.[1] Pollution, substandard housing, declining infrastructure, limited employment and racial discrimination were notable problems. James Baldwin documented the marginalization of the community in a 1963 documentary stating "this is the San Francisco, America pretends does not exist."[6][15] In 1966, racial tensions sparked a race riot at Hunters Point.[16] Closure of the naval shipyard, shipbuilding facilities and de-industrialization of the district in the 1970s and 1980s increased unemployment and local poverty levels.[6]

Building projects to revitalize the district began in earnest in the 1990s and the 2000s. As in the rest of the city, housing prices rose 342% between 1996 and 2008. Many long-time African American residents, whether they were those who could no longer afford to live there or those who sought to take advantage of their homes' soaring values, left what they perceived to be an unsafe neighborhood and made an exodus to the relative safety of the Bay Area's outer suburbs. Once considered a historic African American district, the percentage of black people in the Bayview-Hunters Point population declined from 65 percent in 1990 to a minority in 2000.[17] Despite the decline, the 2010 U.S. Census shows the African American population in the Bayview to be greater in number than that of any other ethnicity.

In the 2000s, the neighborhood became the focus of several redevelopment projects. The MUNI[18] T-Third Street light-rail project was built through the neighborhood, replacing an aging bus line with several new stations, street lamps and landscaping. Private developer Lennar Inc. proposed a $2-billion project to build 10,500 homes and commercial spaces atop the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard. A potential new football stadium for the San Francisco 49'ers and a shopping complex were also proposed for Candlestick Point. The stadium would reinvigorate the district, but the 49ers changed their focus to Santa Clara in 2006. A bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics in San Francisco that included plans to build an Olympic Village in Bayview-Hunters Point was also dropped.[19] Lennar Inc. proposed to build the stadium without the football team.[20] Local community activist groups have criticized much of the redevelopment for displacing rather than benefiting existing neighborhood residents.[6]


According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Bayview-Hunters Point (ZIP 94124) had a population of 33,996, an increase of 826 from 2000. The census data showed the single-race racial composition of Bayview-Hunters Point was 33.7% African-American, 30.7% Asian, 12.1% White, 3.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, 0.7% Native American, 15.1% other, and 5.1% mixed race. Of Bayview's population, 24.9% was of Hispanic or Latino origin, of any race.[21]

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Bayview-Hunters Point had the highest percentage of African-Americans among San Francisco neighborhoods, home to 21.5% of the city's Black population, and was the predominant ethnic group in the Bayview. Census figures showed the percentage of African-Americans in Bayview declined from 48% in 2000 to 33.7% in 2010, while the percentage of Asian and White ethnicity increased from 24% and 10%, respectively, to 30.7% and 12.1%. However the eastern part of the neighborhood had a population of 12,308 and is still roughly 60% African-American.

According to the 2005-2009 American Community Survey (ACS), the Bayview district is estimated to have 10,540 housing units and an estimated owner-occupancy rate of 51%. The 2010 U.S. Census indicates the number of households to be 9,717, of which 155 belong to same-sex couples. Median home values were estimated in 2009 to be $586,201,[2] but that has since fallen dramatically to around $367,000 in 2011, the lowest of any of San Francisco's ZIP code areas.[22] Median Household Income was estimated in 2009 at $43,155.[2] Rent prices in the Bayview remain relatively low, by San Francisco standards, with over 50% of rents paid in 2009 at less than $750/mo.[23]

A recent Brookings Institution report identified Hunters Point as one of five Bay Area "extreme poverty" neighborhoods, in which over 40% of the inhabitants live below the Federal poverty level of an income of $22,300 for a family of four.[24] Nearly 12% of the population in the Bayview receives public assistance income, three times the national average, and more than double the state average. While the Bayview has a higher percentage of the population receiving either Social Security or retirement income than the state or national averages, the dollar amounts that these people receive is less than the averages in either the state or the nation.


Since the 1960s, the Bayview-Hunters Point community has been cited as a significant example of marginalization.[6] In 2011, it remained "one of the most economically disadvantaged areas of San Francisco".[25] Root causes include a working class populace historically segregated to the outskirts of the city, high levels of industrial pollution, the closure of industry, and loss of infrastructure.[6] The results have been high rates of unemployment, poverty, disease and crime.[6][26] Attempts to mitigate the effects of marginalization include the city's building of the Third Street light-rail line, establishment of the Southeast Community Facility (SECF) as a response from the SF Public Utilities Commission to a community-led effort to balance environmental injustice associated with public utilities,[27] the Southeast Food Access Workgroup,[28] initially formed by the SF Department of Public Health as part of the SF Mayor's ShapeUp SF health initiative, and implementation of enhanced local hiring policy that recognizes that regulations requiring hiring for public projects prioritize City residents and contractors may not help specific neighborhoods where job seekers and contractors may still be overlooked. Place-based and asset-based community building programs networked through the Quesada Gardens Initiative began in 2002 adding direct grassroots public participation to the social and environmental change landscape with a goal of preserving diversity and encouraging longterm residents to reinvest in their neighborhood.

The Hunter's Point shipyard's toxic waste pollution has been cited for elevated rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases among residents.[25] Clean-up of the site is underway.

Gang and drug activity, as well as a high murder rate, have plagued the Bayview-Hunters Point district.[29] A 2001 feature article in the San Francisco Chronicle cited feuding between small local gangs as the major cause of the area's unsolved homicides.[26] In 2011, The New York Times described Bayview as "one of the city’s most violent" neighborhoods.[30] Police have made the removal of guns from the streets their top priority in recent years, leading to a 20% decline in major crimes between 2010 and 2011, including declines of 35% in homicides, 22% in aggravated assaults, 38% in arson, 30% in burglary, 34% in theft, 23% in auto theft, and 39% in robbery. Lesser crimes have also declined by about 24% over the past year.

Until the late 2000s the neighborhood had no chain supermarkets, as many corporate chains could not afford to lease a retail space.[31] In 2011, a San Francisco official described the area as a "a food desert - an area with limited access to affordable, nutritious food like fresh produce at a full-size grocery store."[32] A large swath of the southeast sector of San Francisco sits within a Federally recognized food desert.[33] A Home Depot was approved by the city to be built in the area, but the Home Depot Corporation abandoned its plans following the late 2000s economic crisis.[34] Lowe's took over Home Depot's plans, and in 2010 opened their first store in San Francisco on the Bayshore Blvd. site. In August 2011, UK supermarket chain Tesco, owner of Fresh and Easy stores, opened Bayview-Hunters Point's first new grocery store in 20 years, though this store will soon close as part of Fresh and Easy's larger corporate exit from the United States.[32][35]

The neighborhood was the subject of a 2003 documentary, Straight Outta Hunters Point,[36] directed by lifelong Hunters Point resident Kevin Epps, and a 2012 sequel, "Straight Outta Hunters Point 2," movies that expose the daily drama of gang-related wars plaguing a community already fighting for social and economic survival. The Spike Lee film Sucker Free City used Hunters Point as a backdrop for a story on gentrification and street gangs.[37]

Community activism

A number of community groups, such as the India Basin Neighborhood Association,[38] the Quesada Gardens Initiative,[39] Literacy for Environmental Justice, [40] the Bayview Merchants' Association,[41] and the Bayview Footprints Collaboration of Community-Building Groups[42] work with community members, other organizations and citywide agencies to strengthen and improve this diverse part of San Francisco.

Community gardening, art and social history are popular in the area. The Quesada Gardens Initiative is a well recognized organization that has created a cluster of 35 community and backayrd gardens in the heart of the neighborhood, including the original Quesada Garden on the 1700 block of Quesada Ave., the Founders' Garden, Bridgeview Teaching and Learning Garden (which won the 2011 Neighborhood Empowerment Network'sPalou Community Garden. Major public art pieces honor unique hyper-local history, grassroots involvement, and the right of communities to define themselves.

Landmarks and Attractions

Four buildings in the district are listed in the California Registry of Historic Places. The

Bayview is home to two large parks: Bayview Park, located on Key Ave. just west of the San Francisco 49'ers stadium, offers sweeping views of the city; and The Candlestick Point Recreation Area, located just east of the stadium, is a popular attraction for kayakers and windsurfers. Heron's Head Park, located in the northern part of the neighborhood, is home to a recently resurgent population of clapper rails[49] and the EPA Award-Winning[50] Heron's Head Eco Center.

Speakeasy Brewery, located at 1195 Evans Street, offers tours and beer and hosts live music at their "Final Friday" events.[51] Restaurants such as Chef Eskender Aseged's Radio Africa Kitchen,[52] Old Skool Cafe,[53] Limón Rotisserie,[54] and Brown Sugar Kitchen,[55] slated to move into the area by late 2011/early 2012, join an existing group of established restaurants up and down the Third St. corridor, including Sam Jordan's, Frisco Fried,[56] and Las Isletas, to name but a few.

The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market,[57] located on Jerrold Ave., has been at the center of food distribution in San Francisco since long before moving to its Bayview location in 1964.

The Hunters Point Shipyard is home to the country's largest artist colony, "The Point".[58]

The Quesada Garden,[59] located on Quesada Avenue and 3rd Street in the heart of the neighborhood, is a landmark community open space on a public right-of-way. It is connected to a showcase community food producing garden (Bridgeview Community Teaching and Learning Garden) by two large murals produced with the community by artists Deidre DeFranceaux, Santie Huckaby, Malik Seneferu, and Heidi Hardin. Together, these projects have turned one of the most dangerous and blighted corridors in San Francisco into the safe route through the neighborhood, and have created a destination point for residents and visitors. Karl Paige and Annette Young Smith, retired residents, started planting on an urban median strip in 2002, and were quickly joined by neighbors to complete what is now a 650-foot by 20-foot focal point for flowers, food, art and community building. Thirteen mature Canary Island date palm trees on the block are on the San Francisco Registry of Historic Trees.


The Anna E. Waden Library, currently undergoing major renovations and improvements, is located at Third Street and Revere, where the Neighborhood History Preservation Project is housed.[60]

Hunters Point Shipyard is a redevelopment project by Lennar Corporation on the 702 acres at Candlestick Point and the San Francisco Naval Shipyard.[61] The plan calls for 10,500 residential units, a new stadium to replace Candlestick Park, 3,700,000 square feet (340,000 m2) of commercial and retail space,an 8,000- to 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) arena; artists’ village and 336 acres of waterfront park and recreational area.[62] The developers said the project would contribute up to 12,000 permanent jobs and 13,000 induced jobs.[63]

The approval process required developers to address concerns of area residents and San Francisco government officials. Criticism of the project focused on the large-scale toxic clean-up of the industrial superfund site, environmental impact of waterfront construction, displacement of an impoverished neighborhood populace and a required build-up to solve transportation needs.[62]

In July 2010, Lennar Corporation received initial approval of an Environmental Impact Report from San Francisco supervisors.[63][64] In September 2011, the court denied the transfer of property to Lennar Corporation prior to clean-up of contamination.[25]


External links

San Francisco Bay Area portal
  • Profile: Bayview-Hunters Point 2006 11-part series UC Berkeley School of Journalism
  • Community-building through informal resident-led groups known as Quesada Gardens Initiative
  • Community's user-generated calendar of events created by Footprints community network
  • Bayview Merchants' Association
  • Bay View Newspaper
  • Bayview MAGIC - Community of color collaborative
  • Historic Hunters Point in pictures
  • India Basin Neighborhood Association
  • Map of India Basin
  • Islais Creek History Neighborhood Parks Council
  • Hunters Point infant mortality rate is comparable to Bulgaria
  • Hunters Point Shipyard redevelopment
  • 1966 Hunters Point riot
  • Review of a documentary film about Hunters Point
  • Alternative economic development for Bayview-Hunters Point
  • Community Window on the Shipyard, an archive of Shipyard-related documents
  • Literacy for Environmental Justice, a local organization working on Environmental Justice issues in Hunters Point
  • Artists at Hunters Point Shipyard

Coordinates: 37°43′37″N 122°23′19″W / 37.72687°N 122.38873°W / 37.72687; -122.38873

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