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San Francisco’s Excelsior District

September 2, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

By Samuel Phineas Upham

The Excelsior District, located east of San Jose Avenue on Mission Street, was first incorporated in 1869. On April 15 of that year, the Excelsior Homestead was registered in the San Francisco City Hall, recorded in books “C” and “D”.

The land was part of the Rancho Rincon de Las Salinas y Potrero Viejo land grant. These land grants were offered to a Spanish soldier for his duty, and a member of the local town council. When the area was handed to the United States after cession, the treaty was honored and the land was kept in tact, but it was eventually sold off as the families who hold it began to lose both power and wealth over time.

On today’s maps, this area is simply called “Southern San Francisco,” which is not to be confused with South San Francisco. Over the years, the district was redeveloped and sections of the area were given names. Bernal Heights, Ingleside and the Excelsior District are the three most prominent names in the group.

The Excelsior District grew further, with smaller neighborhoods developing for real estate purposes. Jeanette and Emmanuel Lewis named most of the streets in the area, which either bear the name of capitals or countries. In fact, the original name for Excelsior Avenue was “China”.

Over time, Mexican and Central American migrants settled into the area. Especially throughout the 1980s, when wars from those regions forced refugees to seek a better life for themselves.


About the Author: Samuel Phineas Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Samuel Phineas Upham website or LinkedIn.

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