Bernal History Project

Bernal Heights is a hilltop village, tucked away in the southern part of San Francisco. Freeways and urban thoroughfares now bound a neighborhood once defined by the swamps and creeks of the original Mexican land grant. From the 1860s legend of Widow O'Brien's cow to the current fight over the preservation of the branch library's murals, residents have tirelessly guarded and recorded their environment. Bernal is diverse, vibrant, and still evolving.

Bernal Heights from 26th and Fair Oaks 1921 - David Gallagher

This site aims to provide a solid basis in researching the neighborhood. Browse the links, subscribe to our newsletter, and contact us if you want to know more about anything Bernal-related not shown here.

Historic Bernal News
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  • Meeting Of The Howard-Street Protestants. 1891
    The Property-Owners Discuss Their Grievances and Assessments.

    The North-avenue Protective and Improvement Club met last night in Welch's Hall, Bernal Heights. Thomas J. Brown was in the chair. This club represents sixty-eight property-owners who are organized for the purpose of opposing the assessment for the extending of Howard street from Twenty-sixth street south to North avenue. A new protest was drawn up against the confirmation of the report of the commissioners for the extension of Howard street. This protest will include those property-owners who are non-residents and were unable to file their protests with the Board of Supervisors within the specified time. They will be urged to assist in carrying this matter to the Supreme Court should the Board of Supervisors fail to give the property-owners the relief prayed for.

    Attention was called to the extension of Potrero avenue, the assessment district of which takes in a part of Bernal Heights, the club's district. A committee was appointed to ascertain the exact boundaries of the assessment district and report to the club at its next meeting.

    A number of those present called the attention of the club to the fact that the district north of Twenty-sixth street toward the city proper had not been assessed for Howard street, while they who were small property-owners and were half a mile beyond where the termination of the proposed extension stops had been assessed. They thought this a gross injustice.

    Frank McCoppin and ex-Judge Tooby of the commission were roundly scored for their action. The club members claimed that both of these men went to Stanford Hall and pledged themselves to carry the work through in six months, whereas they spent fourteen months and for the first eight months did nothing. The charge of $3000 for three experts' service for three weeks' work and a secretary's bill for $1400 were also commented upon. The advisability of contesting the entire extension before the courts was discussed and the majority of those present were in favor of that course, and also of raising funds for that purpose.