If there’s one constant in San Francisco, it’s change. Perhaps no place embodies that more than the 303 acres of today’s Mission Bay neighborhood on The City’s eastern waterfront.
Named for the shallow, calm cove created from the last ice-age snowmelt roughly 5,000 years ago, this area was once a lagoon that evolved into a warm water marsh of cordgrass and pickleweed. The first human residents were the Patwin, who lived off the mussels, clams, smelt and shorebirds prevalent along the shoreline. In the late 1700s, Spanish missionaries followed these tribes. It wasn’t until 1847, that the first “waterlots” of Yerba Buena Cove were auctioned as real estate.
On Saturday, Feb. 27, take a journey in this rapidly changing neighborhood to meet and hear from local residents and builders on the past, present and future of their community. Join Walk San Francisco and the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) for a jointly hosted monthly members walk, led by Walk SF Board member, car-free resident and Mission Bay Development Group Director of Design and Planning, Luke Stewart.
Much like today’s building boom, in the 1850s giant steam shovels and pile drivers operated all day — and night — to fill in the sold lots. Builders generated millions of cubic yards of rock and sand. What was once home to an enormous natural ecosystem became a district of shipyards, canneries, slaughterhouses and warehouses. By 1910, Mission Bay’s water heritage was all but gone, as debris from the 1906 earthquake became the last large infill wave. With the grant of 150 acres to the Central Pacific, Southern Pacific, and Western Pacific railroads, Mission Bay began its life as an industrial zone and rail yard — a period lasting until the early 1970s.