"Art is a kind of illness." — Giacomo Puccini

Yerba Buena Cove


San Francisco - 1849

This weekend I am moving to a new home in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood. I have never lived in this area before, so this evening I was doing some basic Internet research to learn about the history of the neighborhood.

I discovered that in 1849, my neighborhood did not even exist. It was part of Yerba Buena Cove in San Francisco Bay! In between then and the 1906 earthquake, the cove was filled in and developed. The South of Market area was mostly industrial then. The destruction of the 1906 earthquake was only exceeded by the fires that followed. My neighborhood took a direct hit from the tremors and fires; whatever did not fall in the quake burned in the fire.

In 1989, the Loma Prieta quake struck the Bay Area. It was—and still remains—the largest earthquake since 1906. Again, my neighborhood was severely impacted as the nearby Embarcadero Freeway, a double-decker built during the auto expansion of the 1950s, was damaged so badly it had to be destroyed. This resulted in a renaissance for the neighborhood, as the City’s waterfront was again opened up for all to enjoy. After that, a development boom resulted in new residential and commercial development for the neighborhood. We are moving into one of these new residential units in a brand new building that I hope is earthquake-safe, fire-proof and flood-resistant.

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