When Nook Sales Experts match a buyer with their dream home, the only thing as important as architectural style is the neighborhood. That’s why we’re bringing you the #NookNeighborhoods series, where every Wednesday you’ll find cool history and culture to make sure you don’t overlook an area that could have the best nook for you.
The Mission District is San Francisco, especially for those who want a car-free life to enjoy great views of The Bay. If you crave a place where you move between a cafe where a radio show is recording before wolfing down the authentic tacquerias next door, you must see this neighborhood. The Mission District is the core of what everyone views as The Bay Area lifestyle, tempting all who fall in love with it to make it their own. For starters, almost a quarter of the residents take the bus or train everywhere, and almost 12% commute solely by bike.
If all you hear about the Mission District is how hipstery it’s become, you aren’t getting the whole story. Its long history means that you see people whose families lived there for generations chatting it up with a tech executive. People take huge pride in their community, and so neighborhood committees aren’t just full of the regulars, the social activists; you work together with small business owners, with software developers, mathematicians and muralists. There are so many great nonprofits working to improve the people in their neighborhood that multiple lists highlighting the Mission District’s social good sector couldn’t even begin to get them all.
Everything about this nook shows its history. Many of the murals for which the Mission is famous were popularized by the diligence of Las Mujeres Muralistas, who wanted “to put the museum in the street.” Through their vibrant art, these Latina art school graduates revolutionized the mural landscape by simply allowing women and children to claim their space on the walls of their city. By spreading the stories of Latin American culture in such a large artistic expression, they assured that the heritage of The Mission would never be forgotten, no matter how many newcomers moved there.
As its name suggests, the Mission District grew around Mission Dolores, still a centerpiece for the picturesque Dolores Park. While the Continental Congress sat in stifling Philadelphia debating, then ultimately declaring, independence, Spanish missionaries took root in San Francisco until the United States bought California more than fifty years later, as a result of the Mexican-American War.
Every turning point in American history had its effect on the Mission District: The California Gold Rush raised tensions between the Latino and White populations, migrant farm workers began their long history of working in The Bay Area in the 1900s. The Great Depression created a “repatriation” program that was supposed to be voluntarily but ended in many deported against their will, the Bracero Program in the 1950s, and so on. Yet while the flavor of the Mission remains deliciously Latino, today its population also holds 11 percent Asian and a third Anglo.
Many developments in The Mission District, and especially the suburb of Liberty Hill, rose between the 1870s-1900s; thus, you have quite the variety of Edwardian, but mostly Victorian era homes for tourists to gawk at. Haight Ashbury may have its Pink Ladies for architectural nuts, but The Mission holds many homes that retain their original styles while renovating for modern sensibilities and convenience, much like the neighborhood itself.
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