Eureka Valley

1 Jose Sarria Ct, San Francisco, CA 94114

In many ways, 1938 Eureka Valley resembles the present day: the unusual angle of Liberty Street’s peak and the train tracks that cut through Twenty-First and Chattanooga Streets look very familiar. On the model is the Castro Theater, built in 1922 and designed by famed architect Timothy Pflueger, mastermind of the scale model. Also visible is Mission Dolores Park, which continues to be one of San Francisco’s most popular outdoor spots. The park, a former cemetery, was established in 1905 and used as an encampment for displaced citizens after the 1906 earthquake.

Not visible on the model are all the people who have made this area their home. The original residents, the Yelamu Ohlone people, roamed the grassy valleys until the Spaniards founded Mission Dolores in 1776. Later, working-class Germans, Scandinavians, and Irish settled in the area, and beginning in the late 1960s, the neighborhood known as the Castro became an epicenter for the LGBT community. As the site of everything from Harvey Milk’s camera store to the White Night Riots, the Castro has been at the heart of LGBT political activism. The neighborhood is also a place for citywide celebrations, including annual Halloween parties (discontinued in 2007), the Dyke March, and the Castro Street Faire. The devastating effects of the AIDS crisis cut the population of the Castro in half, and the community responded with memorials such as the AIDS Memorial Quilt and support organizations like Project Open Hand. Today, the neighborhood maintains its unique character, and rainbow flags can be seen adorning bars, storefronts, and Victorian houses.

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

February 9th, 2019: My Place in the World

February 16th, 2019: Go West! Over Hill and Dale Bike Tour

February 19th, 2019: The History of Eureka Valley

February 26th, 2019: Reading the Model at Eureka ValleyM