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Excelsior District, San Francisco facts for kids

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Excelsior District
Row houses in the Excelsior District
Row houses in the Excelsior District
Excelsior District is located in San Francisco County
Excelsior District
Excelsior District
Location in San Francisco County
 • Total 3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
 • Land 3.50 km2 (1.350 sq mi)
 • Total 32,552
 • Density 9,310/km2 (24,113/sq mi)
ZIP Code
94112, 94134
Area codes 415/628

The Excelsior District is a neighborhood in San Francisco, California.


The Excelsior District is located along Mission Street, east of San Jose Ave, south of Interstate 280 Southern Fwy, west of John McLaren Park, and somewhat north of Geneva Avenue.

Areas within the Excelsior District include the Excelsior neighborhood itself, as well as Mission Terrace, Outer Mission, and Crocker Amazon.


On April 15, 1869, the Excelsior Homestead was filed at City Hall. The record is in books “C” and “D” and in the book of city maps on page 129. This map section showing the area called the Excelsior can be found in Bancroft's Official Guide Map of City and County of San Francisco. This map indicates that the Excelsior area was previously part of the Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo.

Rancho Rincon de las Salinas y Potrero Viejo later became known as Southern San Francisco on city maps, not to be confused with the town of South San Francisco. The Southern San Francisco area referred to everything south and central along with the eastern bent of Mission Street and District. The neighborhood extends to its end at the county line. Over the years, as the southern end of San Francisco was developed, the city created Major neighborhoods & Districts within the area, and these were given names that appeared on city maps. These are: Bernal Heights, Ingleside, The Excelsior District, Visitacion Valley & The Bay View District. As the city grew, The Excelsior District was developed further, and it was split into even smaller sub-neighborhoods useful for Real Estate. Some of these given names are: the Excelsior neighborhood itself, Mission Terrace, Crocker Amazon, Cayuga and the Outer Mission neighborhood. Despite this division into smaller sub-neighborhoods, most of these areas are still referred to as being the Excelsior District today.

Many of the area's streets, those named for the capitals of countries, and its avenues, those that are named for the countries themselves, were done so by Emanuel Lewis and his daughter Jeannette. Emanuel built 200 houses which sold as a result of the 1906 earthquake. On the west side of the district, which is also known as the Mission Terrace, many of the streets were named after American Indian tribes (Mohawk Ave became Seneca Ave for example), and Onondaga, Navajo, Modoc, Ottawa, Oneida, Seminole, and Cayuga are named among the rest. It is evident that many names have been retained, and from the various neighborhoods' inceptions, while some have changed to accommodate changes in political climate. As an example, Excelsior Avenue itself was originally named "China". Likely due to anti-Asian feelings that led to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, India, Japan and China Streets were changed to Peru, Avalon, and Excelsior Streets. To recognize and publish the original street names local neighborhood booster group F.A.C.E. (Friends and Advocates of Crocker-Amazon and the Excelsior) won a 2011 Community Challenge Grant to replace 10 city street signs at intersections on each of these 3 streets which now show both the current and original street names. In 2013 San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed Resolution No. 130655 adding the original street names to the current street signs.


In its earlier days, the Excelsior District was predominantly Italian, Irish, and Swiss. During the late 1970s, 80s, and 90s, the Excelsior District, like the Mission District, became predominantly Latino. In the 1980s, the neighborhood became predominantly Latino with the arrival of refugees from Central American wars and immigrants from Mexico. The Excelsior District also has a large Filipino community. For the past two decades the Excelsior District along with neighboring neighborhoods Ingleside, Ocean View, and Visitacion Valley, which were predominantly African American neighborhoods, have become predominantly Asian. Today it is one of the most ethnically diverse districts in San Francisco.

Noteworthy residents

  • Grateful Dead singer/guitarist Jerry Garcia
  • Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Cronin
  • Jay Gordon, singer
  • Turntablist and composer DJ Qbert
  • 1949 world heavyweight contender Pat Valentino
  • San Francisco supervisor and political assassin Dan White
  • Surrealist poet Philip Lamantia
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