The Castro in San Francisco

Wednesday, 12 October 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, San Francisco Bay Area
Reading Time:  10 minutes

LGBTQ Pride Flag Market Street and the Castro © flickr.com - tedeytan/cc-by-sa-2.0

LGBTQ Pride Flag Market Street and the Castro © flickr.com – tedeytan/cc-by-sa-2.0

The Castro District, commonly referred to as the Castro, is a neighborhood in Eureka Valley in San Francisco. The Castro was one of the first gay neighborhoods in the United States. Having transformed from a working-class neighborhood through the 1960s and 1970s, the Castro remains one of the most prominent symbols of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activism and events in the world. Castro Street was named after José Castro (1808–1860), a Californian leader of Mexican opposition to U.S. rule in California in the 19th century, and alcalde of Alta California from 1835 to 1836. The neighborhood known as the Castro, in the district of Eureka Valley, was created in 1887 when the Market Street Railway Company built a line linking Eureka Valley to downtown.

San Francisco’s gay village is mostly concentrated in the business district that is located on Castro Street from Market Street to 19th Street. It extends down Market Street toward Church Street and on both sides of the Castro neighborhood from Church Street to Eureka Street. Although the greater gay community was, and is, concentrated in the Castro, many gay people live in the surrounding residential areas bordered by Corona Heights, the Mission District, Noe Valley, Twin Peaks, and Haight-Ashbury neighborhoods. Some consider it to include Duboce Triangle and Dolores Heights, which both have a strong LGBT presence. Castro Street, which originates a few blocks north at the intersection of Divisadero and Waller Streets, runs south through Noe Valley, crossing the 24th Street business district and ending as a continuous street a few blocks farther south as it moves toward the Glen Park neighborhood. It reappears in several discontinuous sections before ultimately terminating at Chenery Street, in the heart of Glen Park.

One of the more notable features of the neighborhood is Castro Theatre, a movie palace built in 1922 and one of San Francisco’s premier movie houses. 18th and Castro is a major intersection in the Castro, where many historic events, marches, and protests have taken and continue to take place. A major cultural destination in the neighborhood is the GLBT History Museum, which opened for previews on December 10, 2010, at 4127 18th St. The grand opening of the museum took place on the evening of January 13, 2011. The first full-scale, stand-alone museum of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history in the United States (and only the second in the world after the Schwules Museum in Berlin), the GLBT History Museum is a project of the GLBT Historical Society. The F Market heritage streetcar line turnaround at Market and 17th-streets where the Jane Warner city parklet sits. Across Castro street is the Harvey Milk Plaza in honor of its most famous resident with its iconic giant flag pole with an oversized rainbow flag, symbol of the LGBT community. Below street level is the main entrance to the Castro Street Station, a Muni Metro subway station and a multitiered park. Milk’s camera store and campaign headquarters which were at 575 Castro has a memorial plaque and mural on the inside of the store, now housing the Human Rights Campaign Action Center and Store. There is a smaller mural above the sidewalk on the building showing Milk looking down on the street fondly. Across Market Street from Harvey Milk Plaza, and slightly up the hill, is the Pink Triangle Park – 17th Street at Market, a city park and monument named after the pink triangles forcibly worn by gay prisoners persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. Harvey’s was formerly the Elephant Walk, raided by police after the White Night Riots. Twin Peaks, the first gay bar in the city, and possibly in the United States, with plate glass windows to fully visibly expose patrons to the public, is located at the intersection of Market and Castro. The Hartford Street Zen Center is also located in the Castro, as well as the Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, 100 Diamond Street. Special events, parades and street fairs that are held in the Castro include the Castro Street Fair, the Dyke March, the famed Halloween in the Castro (which was discontinued in 2007 due to street violence), Pink Saturday (discontinued in the Castro in 2016), and the San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. A LGBTQ Walk of Fame, the Rainbow Honor Walk, was installed in August 2014 with an inaugural twenty sidewalk bronze plaques representing past LGBTQ icons in their field who continue to serve as inspirations. The walk was originally planned to coincide with the business district of the Castro and eventually include 500 bronze plaques. The main business section of Castro Street from Market to 19th Street was under reconstruction and repaving in 2014 to address a number of neighborhood concerns. The area has heavy vehicular traffic, as well as many visitors. As part of the work, the sidewalks were widened and new trees were planted. Additionally, 20 historical cement etchings covering from the inception to the area being settled to the 2010s sweeping gay marriage movement victories were installed in September 2014.

The Castro with Castro Theatre © Tobias Kleinlercher/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Castro with Castro Theatre © Tobias Kleinlercher/cc-by-sa-3.0 The Castro with Castro Theatre © flickr.com - Mike McBey/cc-by-2.0 Castro District in the foreground and Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks in the background © flickr.com - Christopher Michel/cc-by-2.0 Castro Street © Oren Rozen/cc-by-sa-3.0 LGBTQ Pride Flag Market Street and the Castro © flickr.com - tedeytan/cc-by-sa-2.0
<
>
Castro District in the foreground and Sutro Tower and Twin Peaks in the background © flickr.com - Christopher Michel/cc-by-2.0
A separate sidewalk installation, the Castro Street History Walk (CSHW), is a series of twenty historical fact plaques about the neighborhood—ten from pre-1776 to the 1960s before the Castro became known as a gay neighborhood, and ten “significant events associated with the queer community in the Castro”—contained within the 400 and 500 blocks of the street between 19th and Market streets. They were installed at the same time as the inaugural twenty RHW plaques. The CSHW goes in chronological order starting at Harvey Milk Plaza at Market Street, up to 19th Street, and returning on the opposite side of Castro Street. The $10,000 CSHW was paid for by the Castro Business District (CBD) which “convened a group of local residents and historians to work with Nicholas Perry, a planner and urban designer at the San Francisco Planning Department who worked on the sidewalk-widening project and lives in the Castro” to develop the facts. Each fact was required to be about the neighborhood or the surrounding Eureka Valley. The facts are limited to 230 characters, and were installed in pairs along with a single graphic reminiscent of the historic Castro Theater.

San Francisco has a large and thriving tourist economy due to ethnic and cultural communities such as Chinatown, North Beach, Haight-Ashbury and the Castro. The Castro is a site of economic success that brings in capital all year round with many events catered to the gay community along with everyday business. The Castro is a “thriving marketplace for all things gay” meaning the area caters to people who identify with LGBT culture and other associated meanings to the word gay. There are cafes, the Castro Theater, and many businesses that cater to or openly welcome LGBT consumers. These establishments make the Castro an area of high spending and lead to high tourist traffic. In addition to the city’s locals, people travel to visit the shops and restaurants as well as the events that take place, such as the Castro Street Fair. Events such as the fair drum up business for the community and bring in people from all over the nation who visit solely for the atmosphere the Castro provides. People who do not necessarily feel comfortable expressing themselves in their own community have the freedom to travel to places such as the Castro to escape the alienation and feel accepted. There is a sense of belonging and acceptance that is promoted throughout the district to accommodate non-heteronormative people that many LGBT travelers are attracted to. The Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) was created in 1974 to help promote the Castro as a place for tourists, but also San Francisco and LGBT businesses as a whole. The GGBA sought to gain local political power and hoped to achieve their gains through an increase in gay tourism, and the association formed the San Francisco Gay Tourism and Visitor’s Bureau in 1983. The LGBT tourism industry drives and benefits the economy due to the constant influx of consumers.

Read more on The Castro Theatre, Wikivoyage The Castro and Wikipedia Castro District (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




Recommended posts:

Share this post: (Please note data protection regulations before using buttons)

Theme Week Provence - Aubagne

Theme Week Provence - Aubagne

[caption id="attachment_152674" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © Kremtak/cc-by-sa-3.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Aubagne is a French commune in the Bouches-du-Rhône department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region of southern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Aubagnais or Aubagnaises. Aubagne is located in the Huveaune valley and surrounded by the mountain ranges of Garlaban with Sainte-Baume to the north and Douard to the south 17 km (11 mi) east of Marseille Port. Aubagne is the main city of th...

[ read more ]

Theme Week Ecuador - Quito

Theme Week Ecuador - Quito

[caption id="attachment_171204" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Municipal Palace in the Plaza Grande © Diego Delso/cc-by-sa-4.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Quito, formally San Francisco de Quito, is the capital city of Ecuador, and at an elevation of 2,850 metres (9,350 ft) above sea level, it is the second-highest official capital city in the world, after La Paz, and the one which is closest to the equator. It is located in the Guayllabamba river basin, on the eastern slopes of Pichincha, an active stratovolcano in the Andes mo...

[ read more ]

Annecy, between mountains and lakes

Annecy, between mountains and lakes

[caption id="attachment_151071" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Palais de l'Isle © Edwin Lee[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Annecy is a commune in the Haute-Savoie department in the Rhône-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It lies on the northern tip of Lake Annecy (Lac d'Annecy), 35 kilometres south of Geneva. Annecy and Savoy-Mont Blanc are the French candidate to host the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. During the French Revolution the Savoy region was conquered by France. Annecy became attached to the dép...

[ read more ]

The port city of Ancona

The port city of Ancona

[caption id="attachment_161172" align="aligncenter" width="590"] The Vanvitelli's Lazzaretto, project of the architect Luigi Vanvitelli © Mungany[/caption]Ancona is a city and a seaport in the Marche region, in central Italy, with a population of 102,997. Ancona is the capital of the province of Ancona and of the region. The city is located 280 km (170 mi) northeast of Rome, on the Adriatic Sea, between the slopes of the two extremities of the promontory of Monte Conero, Monte Astagno and Monte Guasco. Ancona is one of the main ports on the Adriatic Sea, especially for passenger traffic, and ...

[ read more ]

Paradise Island in the Bahamas

Paradise Island in the Bahamas

[caption id="attachment_206037" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © flickr.com - Derek Key/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Paradise Island is an island in the Bahamas formerly known as Hog Island. The island is located just off the shore of the city of Nassau, which is itself located on the northern edge of the island of New Providence. It is best known for the sprawling resort Atlantis with its extensive water park rides, pools, beach, restaurants, walk-in aquarium and casinos. Paradise Island is connected to the island of ...

[ read more ]

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

Hotel Nacional de Cuba

[caption id="attachment_165301" align="aligncenter" width="590"] © flickr.com - Tony Hisgett/cc-by-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Hotel Nacional de Cuba is a historic luxury hotel located on the Malecón in the middle of Vedado in Havana, Cuba. It stands on Taganana hill a few metres from the sea, and offers a view of Havana Harbour, the seawall and the city. The New York architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White designed the hotel, which features a mix of styles. It opened in 1930, when Cuba was a prime travel destination...

[ read more ]

The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London

The Sherlock Holmes Museum in London

[caption id="attachment_23636" align="alignleft" width="590"] Sherlock Holmes Museum © Jordan 1972[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Sherlock Holmes Museum is a privately run museum in London, dedicated to the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. It opened in 1990 and is situated in Baker Street, bearing the number 221B by permission of the City of Westminster, although it lies between numbers 237 and 241, near the north end of Baker Street in central London close to Regent's Park. The Georgian town house which the m...

[ read more ]

Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius

Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius

[caption id="attachment_224951" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Christmas 3D video projected on the Cathedral © flickr.com - Guillaume Speurt/cc-by-sa-2.0[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. It is situated in Vilnius Old Town, just off Cathedral Square. Dedicated to Saints Stanislaus and Ladislaus, the church is the heart of Catholic spiritual life in Lithuania. The coronations of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania t...

[ read more ]

The Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover

The Herrenhausen Gardens in Hanover

[caption id="attachment_4095" align="aligncenter" width="505" caption="Re-construction of Herrenhausen Castle © Thomas"][/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]The Herrenhausen Gardens (German: Herrenhäuser Gärten), located in Lower Saxony's capital of Hanover are made up of the Great Garden (Großer Garten), the Berggarten, the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover. The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe while the Berggarten ...

[ read more ]

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore

[caption id="attachment_186242" align="aligncenter" width="590"] Gilman Hall © Daderot[/caption][responsivevoice_button voice="UK English Female" buttontext="Listen to this Post"]Johns Hopkins University is an American private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, the university was named for its first benefactor, the American entrepreneur, abolitionist, and philanthropist Johns Hopkins. His $7 million bequest (~$150 million in 2017 dollars)—of which half financed the establishment of Johns Hopkins Hospital—was the largest philanthropic gift in the history of the Un...

[ read more ]

Return to TopReturn to Top
© Giovanni Dall'Orto
Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan

Santa Maria delle Grazie ("Holy Mary of Grace") is a church and Dominican convent in Milan, northern Italy, and a...

Malaga Cove © Cardinalngold
Palos Verdes Estates in California

Palos Verdes Estates (Palos Verdes, Spanish for "Green Sticks") is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States, situated...

© Definite1ymaybe
Memorial International receives the Nobel Peace Prize

Memorial is an international human rights organisation, founded in Russia during the fall of the Soviet Union to study and...

Close