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Richmond District, San Francisco, California

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Title: Richmond District, San Francisco, California  
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Richmond District, San Francisco, California

For the city across the bay, see Richmond, California.
Richmond District
Park-Presidio District (1917–2009)
Neighborhood of San Francisco

An aerial view of the Richmond District.
Nickname(s): The Richmond, Outside Lands, Inner Richmond, Outer Richmond, South Marin

Location within San Francisco

Coordinates: 37°46′40″N 122°28′58″W / 37.77778°N 122.48278°W / 37.77778; -122.48278Coordinates: 37°46′40″N 122°28′58″W / 37.77778°N 122.48278°W / 37.77778; -122.48278

Named for Richmond, Victoria
 • Board of Supervisors Eric Mar
 • State Assembly Fiona Ma (D)
 • State Senate Leland Yee (D)
 • U.S. House Nancy Pelosi (D)
 • Total 7.01 km2 (2.705 sq mi)
 • Land 7.01 km2 (2.705 sq mi)
 • Total 59,297
 • Density 8,460/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, developed initially in the late 19th century. It is sandwiched between Presidio of San Francisco (north) and Golden Gate Park (south) It is sometimes confused with Richmond, a city 20 miles (32 km) north of San Francisco.


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 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] In 1917, the district was legally named "Park-Presidio District", chosen to avoid confusion between the district and the city of Richmond right across the bay.

That name remained until January 2009, when newly elected Supervisor Eric Mar introduced legislation that renamed the area north of Golden Gate Park and west of Arguello Boulevard as the Richmond District.[3]


The district, originally an expanse of rolling sand dunes, was developed initially in the late 19th century. Adolph Sutro was one of the first large-scale developers of the area. After purchasing the Cliff House in the early 1880s,[4] he built the Sutro Baths on the western end of the district, near Ocean Beach.

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 Anti-Communist White Russian, Orthodox Russian refugees and immigrants into the neighborhood. Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia briefly made its headquarters at Holy Virgin Cathedral 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 half of residents in the Richmond.[1]


Richmond District consists of five residential neighborhoods:

Lake Street District

The Lake Street District is just south of Presidio of San Francisco and north of Inner Richmond. It is an affluent neighborhood characterized by its many Victorian/Edwardian mansions. Its boundaries are: Presidio to the north, Arguello Blvd to the east, California St. to the south, and 25th Ave. to the west. Its name is derived from Lake Street, the district's only main artery.

Sea Cliff

Sea Cliff is a small neighborhood consists of mostly exclusive mansions, so named because this neighborhood sits along the northwestern cliff of the Richmond District that borders the Pacific Ocean. Its boundaries are Pacific Ocean to the north, Presidio to the east, California St. to the south, and Legion of Honor to the west.

Inner Richmond[5]

Inner Richmond sits south of Lake District. Its boundaries are: California St. to the north, Arguello Blvd to the east, Fulton St. to the south, and Park Presidio Blvd. to the west. The hub of northern Inner Richmond is Geary Blvd. and Clement St. which are particularly known for Chinese, Cambodia, Korean, Burmese, and Russian cuisine. The hub of southern Inner Richmond is Balboa St, which is known for Japanese and Korean restaurants. Inner Richmond is a diverse neighborhood with a sizable Chinese and Russian population.

Central Richmond[6]

Central Richmond is between Inner Richmond (to the east) and Outer Richmond (to the west). It is bounded by Park Presidio Blvd to the east, California St. to the north, Fulton St. to the south, and 33rd Ave. to the west. Its commercial strips are on Geary Blvd. and Clement St. (between 22nd to 26th Ave.). Central Richmond has a vast Chinese population and houses several top rated Chinese restaurants.

Outer Richmond[7]

Outer Richmond is to the west of Central Richmond. It is bounded by Clement St. to the north, 33rd Ave. to the east, Fulton St. to the south, and Ocean Beach to the west. It borders the Ocean Beach and the Cliff House, currently operating as a restaurant.


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.[8]

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 Street became Fulton, which is the northern boundary of most of the Park.

North of the Park in the Richmond District, the streets are named Anza, Balboa and Cabrillo.


The "Marina Style" houses are popular in Central and Outer Richmond. Marina-style uniquely consists of a sun room (a room with windows on three sides), that can only be accessed through a bedroom—essentially a bedroom inside of a bedroom; and the split bathroom where the bathtub and sink is in a separate room from the toilet, which has its own room.

To lure home buyers with promises of big houses but needing to keep prices low, homes were built with large basements (basement is an unusual feature in California because its weather permits shallower foundation) with the intention that the buyers can convert the basements into living space at their own volition. Essentially marketing a house as two stories with the first story (basement) unfinished. This decision would prove to be ingenious as the 20th century evolved, as many of the basements were converted to garages. Some were converted with garages in the front and in-law units in the back.

Parks and recreation

Sutro Heights Park is located in Richmond District.[9] Also in the Richmond District is Rochambeau playground. Located between 24th and 25th Avenue, the playground boasts tennis and basketball courts, as well as play structures.

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.


The San Francisco Unified School District serves Richmond District. Alamo, Argonne, and Lafayette elementary schools are located in the Outer Richmond, and Sutro, Frank McCoppin and George Peabody are in the Inner Richmond. Presidio Middle School is located in the Outer Richmond District, while Roosevelt serves the Inner Richmond. George Washington High School is located in the district.[10]

The Richmond/Senator Milton Marks Branch and the Anza Branch of the San Francisco Public Library serve the Richmond District.[11][12] In 1930 voters approved a city charter amendment that would increase funding to the library system so a new library could be built. John Reid, Jr., the architect, designed and landscaped the $57,117.29 new library, which was placed on the site of the former Lafayette School. On April 10, 1932 the Anza Library, the 17th municipal library branch, was dedicated. On May 2009 the library system closed the Anza Branch for repairs.[13] A rebuilt library opened on June 18, 2011. Jing Mo Athletic Association lion dancers provided entertainment at the ceremony.[12]

See also


External links

  • Park Presidio Neighbors Association
  • Ocean Beach Bulletin, Neighborhood news organization covering the outer Richmond District
  • Central Richmond District Yahoo! Group

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