Main Branch

100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA 94102

The main branch of the San Francisco Public Library is surrounded by three primary neighborhoods: the Tenderloin, Civic Center, and South of Market (SOMA). In 1938, the vibrant mid-Market area was the home to theaters such as the Fox and shopping centers like the Emporium. The Tenderloin was densely rebuilt after the 1906 earthquake with large, luxurious apartment buildings and a nightlife district, with bars and jazz clubs like the infamous Black Hawk. SOMA in that period was an industrial, working-class neighborhood with factories and single-room-occupancy units pressed together in the area around Sixth and Market Streets, which even then was referred to as Skid Row.

With the flight from cities after World War II, the glamour of the Tenderloin faded and many mid-Market theaters shut down. These neighborhoods now represent some of the greatest income discrepancies in the city. Lucrative technology companies like Twitter, Adobe, and Uber are mere blocks away from social support organizations like Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, Saint Boniface Catholic Church, and the library, which provide services to the city’s most vulnerable populations.

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 30th, 2019: Model City: Designing San Francisco

February 2nd, 2019:Night of Ideas: Model City Panel

February 2nd, 2019: Night of Ideas

February 9th, 2019: Make a Neighborhood Landmark Collage

February 12th, 2019: Open Mapping Workshop with Mapbox

February 13th, 2019: Building on Toxic Land: Neighborhoods at Risk

February 16th, 2019: Reading the Model at Main

February 23rd, 2019: Northwestern Loop: From “Inside” to Outside Lands and Back Bike Tour

February 23rd, 2019: Intrigue and Art at the Expo–A Celebration of the 80th Anniversary of the Golden Gate International Exposition

March 12th, 2019: Hands on History: WPA in the Archives and a Trip to the Fair