View Full Version : Questions about SOMA - South of Market Street, San Francisco, 1974

03-08-2009, 11:26 PM
Can anyone answer these specific questions about San Francisco's South of Market Street neighborhood back in 1974?

How run-down was the area?

Were there homeless people wandering around, and were there panhandlers or drug addicts?

Garbage-strewn alleys?

Boarded-up shop windows?

Did apartment dwellers string up homemade clotheslines or put their clothes on the fire escape to dry?

Would a young woman feel safe walking through the neighborhood at six a.m.?

Please feel free to add any other details that might be important to understanding South of Market back in 1974. Thanks again.

03-09-2009, 01:06 AM
Can't answer your specific questions, except that I doubt a woman would feel safe walking around there at 6a.m.--it's still slightly dodgy, and I can't imagine it was better back before SF got all gentrified.

Apart from that... I hope you've seen the movie "Milk." It's mostly set in the Castro, of course, but the Castro's not far from SoMa, and just seeing San Francisco in general in that time period (I think Milk goes from about 1973 to 1977) would probably be a huge help to you.

03-09-2009, 01:24 AM
I worked at the old Rincon Annex post office in 1970. (now the upscale Rincon center) It was one of the few jobs you could get as a hippie, since they hired off a civil service exam (Although they did investigate me on a morals clause, when it came to their attention that i was living with a woman to whom i was not married. You youngsters don't really understand how different it was in the "good old days" that some people look back on so fondly.)

I rode my motorcycle to work, sometimes at 4:00 am, and don't remember it being particularly sketchy, certainly no worse than today. Of course, my definition of sketchy was rather looser back then.

The homeless population was a lot less,, although it was starting to grow, so i don't think you'd see a lot of street people. It was also the beginning of a lot of small businesses and startups moving in, like documentary film productions, taking advantage of the low store rents.

But my recollections of that time are, sadly, a bit hazy.

03-09-2009, 04:59 AM
Thank you for the helpful answers! I will watch the movie 'Milk.'