CALIFORNIA COLLECTION: San Francisco – “Hunters Point” (1965-1971)






Bayview-Hunters Point is located in the extreme southeastern part of San Francisco, strung along the main artery of Third Street from India Basin to Candlestick Point. The boundary to the west is Interstate 280 and to the south Highway 101. The entire eastern portion of the neighborhood is the San Francisco Bay and the former naval base of Hunters Point. Most of it is landfill from the Bay. The entire southern half of the neighborhood is the Candlestick Point State Recreation Area as well as the Candlestick Park Stadium.

Hunters Point received its name from a wealthy landowner who once owned land there. The construction of the Hunters Point Dry Dock and Naval Yard in the early to mid 20th Century led to the development of the residential area of the neighborhood which was settled by large numbers of African Americans taking part in the Great Migration who worked in the Naval Yards. This migration doubled during and after World War 2, while racial segregation also prohibited African Americans from owning homes elsewhere in the city. Between 1940 and 1950, the population leaped from 16,500 to 147,000. The Urban Renewal which occurred in other predominately African American sections of the city, such as the Western Addition and the Fillmore District, led to a higher population of African Americans living in the area.

De-industrialization of the city, state, and country as a whole from the 1970s through the 2000s as well as the closure of the Hunters Point Naval Base, devastated the neighborhood, bringing urban blight, high unemployment, poverty, and crime. Because the areas around the former Naval Yard, factories, and power plant were not fully de-contaminated following their closure, many of the residents there began to suffer from diseases such as Asthma, Cancer, and high infant mortality rates[citation needed].

Citywide gentrification during the late 1990s through the 2000s affected the neighborhood as many of its long time residents moved to the suburbs of the East Bay Area, leaving only the very poor, while a new population moved in, consisting mostly of Chinese and Korean immigrants, as well as a small population of young urban professionals.

Sporadic redevelopment came to the area in the form of the Third Street Light Rail Project and attempts to rebuild Candlestick Park. In 2006, an effort spurred by Mayor Gavin Newsom to bring the 2016 Summer Olympics to San Francisco, saw plans to completely rebuild Bayview-Hunters Point into the Olympic Village. Such plans fell through.[3] In 2009, another plan was developed to re-develop the neighborhood as part of a wider plan to build a new Stadium for the 49ers.[4][5]
[edit] Attractions & Characteristics
The Gilman Street MUNI station in the Bayview.

Bayview-Hunters Point is predominantly African-American. The neighborhood has a population of 20,322 and is roughly 60% African-American, the highest concentration of that ethnic group in San Francisco. The neighborhood’s predominance of African-Americans is a legacy of the restrictive housing practices of the past. [3]

Bayview-Hunters Point is home to many family businesses, community organizations, home recording studios, and churches that have thriving congregations. Most of which are located along the Third Street Commercial Strip. Several rap groups such as Cold World Hustlaz and RBL Posse are originally from Hunters Point.[citation needed]

Many consider Bayview-Hunters Point a marginalized community because it contains nearly one-third of San Francisco’s toxic waste sites. Additionally, the area is plagued with moderate crime, gang and drug activity, as well as a moderate murder rate.[6] Until the late 2000s the neighborhood had no supermarket chains, as many corporate chains had never heard of the area.[7] but community gardening is increasingly popular in the area. UK supermarket chain Tesco is proposing to build its new Fresh and Easy store there in the future. 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. [4]

A number of community groups, such as the India Basin Neighborhood Association[8], the Quesada Gardens Initiative [5], Literacy for Environmental Justice [6], the Bayview Merchants’ Association [7], and the Bayview Footprints Collaboration of Community-Building Groups [8] work with community members, other organizations and city-wide agencies to strengthen and improve this diverse part of San Francisco. Bayview-Hunters Point is also home to 2 of the most notorious gangs in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Westmob (located on West Point and Middle Point Roads) and Big Block (located on Harbor Road) gangs.[9]

Creator/Contributor: Joe Rosenthal

Contributing Institution: The Bancroft Library. University of California, Berkeley.

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