5075 3rd St, San Francisco, CA 94124

Bayview–Hunters Point was on the precipice of becoming an enormous United States military hub in 1938. Since the late 1860s, shipbuilding and repair had been a major industry in the area; the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company’s dry docks had seen the construction of numerous ships for World War I. Yet this bayside neighborhood in the city’s southern reaches still had the look and feel of a small pastoral town.

What the model does not reveal is the history of the Muwekma Ohlone people, who inhabited the wetlands and tidal marsh in this area for thousands of years, or the San Francisco Health Department’s destruction of immigrant fishing camps in 1939 to make way for a US Navy base. By the 1940s, the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard brought an influx of black workers to the area as part of the Great Migration. The closing of the shipyard in the late 1970s led to extensive job losses, but despite rising poverty and isolation from the city, the neighborhood maintained a vibrant, predominantly black population. Today, as San Franciscans look to the south for more housing opportunities, Bayview–Hunters Point is an area of substantial redevelopment. But concerns about the environmental impacts of the shipyard—a Superfund site contaminated by radioactive pollution—continue to create challenges for this rapidly changing neighborhood.

Historical Photos

All photos courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Scale Model Installation Photos

All photos courtesy of Beth LaBerge.

Neighborhood Mixtape

Branch Events

January 26th, 2019: South by Southeast Bike Tour

February 10th, 2019: Reading the Model at Bayview

February 12th, 2019: Let’s Build a City! Lego Building Party

February 16th, 2019: Bayview Stories: Past, Present, Future