Fabulous Photos Show Life of South of Market, San Francisco in the Early 1980s

South of Market (SoMa) is a beautiful neighborhood in San Francisco, California. It is home to many of the city’s museums to the headquarters of several major software and Internet companies. SoMa is the epitome of true San Francisco living, with fine dining, museums, artisan coffee shops, luxury hotels, and many entertainment options. There is no more diverse neighborhood in San Francisco to stroll through than this one. The area is bordered on the north by Market Street, extending from the Ferry Building to the 101 entrance near Hayes Valley. The border on the eastern end is the SF Bay. 16th Street runs between the waterfront and Vermont Street on the southern end. District boundaries vary depending on who you ask, but this is the most common definition.

In the mid-19th century, SOMA developed into a burgeoning pioneer community, mainly consisting of low-density residential buildings and a business district along with 2nd and 3rd streets and industrial areas near the waterfront. The wealthy moved to Rincon Hill, while the upper-middle class settled nearby South Park. Due to the proximity to the docks of San Francisco Bay and the cable cars, heavy industrial development in the early 20th century drove the wealthy to Nob Hill and points west. Over time, it developed into a working-class and lower-middle-class community of European immigrants, sweatshops, power plants, flophouses, and factories. The 1906 earthquake completely destroyed the area. As a consequence of the earthquake, the area was rebuilt with wider streets, as the focus was on the development of light to heavy industry.

Redevelopment plans for the area were first outlined in 1953. After many years of planning, the conference center, Moscone Center, which occupies three blocks and hosts many major trade shows, was built in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Moscow South opened in 1981. Moscone North opened in May 1992, and Moscone West opened in June 2003.

Here are some fabulous photos that show life in South of Market in the early 1980s. American photographer and educator Janet Delaney took these photographs.

#1 Labyris Auto Repair, “Complete Car Care By Women”, 240 6th Street, 1982

#2 Chinese jumprope in front of Bessie Carmichael School, Folsom Street, 1980

#16 Langton Street residents Lalett and Vanessa Fernandez with their son, 1980

#26 Skip Wheeler and his wife groom their horses after Veteran’s Day Parade, Folsom at 2nd Street, 1980

#32 San Francisco Ballet performing on opening days for the Moscone Center, 1981

#42 Jean Decottignies, Jean’s Auto Body Specialists, 1264 Folsom Street, 1982

#43 Ted Zouzounis and his son, David, at Ted’s Market, 1530 Howard Street,1982

Avatar of Aung Budhh

Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *