The Western Addition is northeast of Alamo Square. If you're not here to put out a five-alarm blaze, you're probably here for the jazz, so it's also called the Jazz District, especially by people trying to advertise an apartment there.

Borders and definition

Google Maps (2014) defines the Western Addition as being giant, encompassing the Lower Haight, Lower Pac Heights, and Hayes Valley. Nobody else really thinks of it as this big. The Western Addition, like many neighborhoods, is ill-defined. Some maps draw it as encompassing all of Alamo Square Park and a significant portion of what is now known as "NoPa," while others define it as the area north of Golden Gate, extending to Geary.

Western Addition intersects and/or overlaps with the Alamo Square neighborhood, NoPa, the Fillmore District, Lower Pacific Heights and the Lower Haight, depending on how you mentally define it.

Based on how many in the hood talk about the Western Addition, its borders appear to have shrunk over the past several years to encompass an area containing a number of lower-income housing units.  At the same time, new neighborhood names such as NoPa have appeared, and the Alamo Square neighborhood began to mentally capture more and more of the common vernacular.  This is no doubt due to the efforts of real estate agents.


This is an area that was formerly a part of Japantown. When many Japanese residents were put in internment camps during World War II, the land was taken over by the government.


In the 1950s and 60s, large parts of the neighborhood were razed by the SF Redevelopment Agency. The agency both purchased houses from residents who sold them willingly and also used eminent domain to buy out local businesses and houses - but many years passed before housing projects were built for the displaced residents, who were primarily people of color. In a 2008 article about the redevelopment project finally ending, SF Gate said this "urban renewal" project was "was touted as a move to wipe out blight but actually destroyed the city's most prominent African American neighborhood..."Our community is gone and never coming back, and that is painful." The displaced residents had received notices about the promised housing projects, with pages like the following:

This booklet was handed out by the SF Redevelopment Agency for people whose homes were going to be razed for the redevelopment of the Western Addition. (October 1966) The SF Redevelopment Agency also handed out a booklet to residents called Facts to guide your move (Internet Archive), explaining the redevelopment, the resettlement process, and rights and privileges available to the displaced. This included some reimbursement, house-hunting help, access to a Community Services Representative (a social worker), and a Homemaker who could "call on you to explain some of the ways to make housekeeping easier".



Jazz.  Yoshi's jazz club. The Fillmore Center.

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