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Jackson Square is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California, bounded by Broadway, Washington St. on the south, Columbus Ave. on the west and Battery St. on the east with any number of nearby satellite buildings and residents outside the bounds that truly belong to the neighborhood.

History

Jackson Square encompasses the northeastern part of the former Barbary Coast. Built largely during the mid-late 1800's, its unique collection of Gold Rush-era architecture and quaint tree-lined streets make it one of San Francisco's oldest established historic districts. The district contains the sole surviving buildings of the early central business district of San Francisco. They are the only physical reminders of the city's beginnings as a great port and mercantile center. During the 1850s this newly filled area which directly adjoined the piers to the east was populated by merchants, banks, places of entertainment, professional and government offices, and assembly halls.

Character

Jackson Square Historic District retains its character as one of the oldest commercial neighborhoods in San Francisco. Though in some cases extensively altered during seismic retrofit, the collection of brick and ornate buildings found on the narrow streets and alleys offer a rare glimpse into the California Gold Rush that gave San Francisco its start. Buildings on Jackson between Montgomery and Sansome retain cast iron shutters as protection against fire, but when the city burned, in one case, a warehouse's contents turned out to be more significant in saving the building in the 1906 earthquake and fire:

If, as they say, God spanked the town for being over-frisky,
Why did he burn the churches down and spare Hotaling's Whiskey? [2][3]

Walking tours regularly assemble for the sights and recounting of history, even as the neighborhood changes with new development. With few vacancies, there is plenty of evidence of neighborhood vitality. For decades this was the interior designer's district (predating the San Francisco Design Center), and the well-heeled still order elegant furnishings, wall coverings, carpets, prints and the like through the trade, and occasionally at retail. Furniture and decorative art galleries, residential condos and apartments, advertising agencies, boutique retail, law firms, select restaurants and watering holes, architects, and design firms comprise the neighborhood.

Recently, there has been a resurgence of this vibrant mix to breathe new life in to the area.

Ad for Coppa’s Neptune Palace nightclub, 569 Jackson St., circa 1913. In 1914, "throngs gathered nightly to dance and eat until the police commissioners closed all of these resorts, as well as Barbary Coast." [4]

References

External links