Built on Beer: The Streets of Sunnyside and San Francisco Brewery Profits

Investment money that funded the Sunnyside Land Company in 1890 was largely sourced from the hefty profits of some of San Francisco’s biggest late nineteenth-century breweries: Philadelphia Brewery, Albany Brewery, and United States Brewery—all overseen by the Brewer’s Protective Association. Men who were heirs to these fortunes, or wrapped up in the racket of propping up prices and selling off franchises to foreign capitalists, were among the most prominent initial investors in the Sunnyside project.

Behrend Joost, President of Sunnyside Land Company, was a notorious and irascible teetotaler[1], but he had no problem accepting beer-drenched money from his investors, who altogether put in one million dollars to fund the property speculation project. In return, many got their names or the places in Germany they came from on the newly laid-out streets.


Five of the original Sunnyside streets—Mangels Avenue, Spreckels Avenue, Wieland Avenue, Baden Street, and Hamburg Street—I trace directly to these men.

Portion of the original Sunnyside Land Company homestead map, submitted to the city in 1891. View whole map here. https://sunnysidehistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/1891-Sunnyside-homestead-map-sm.jpg
Portion of the original Sunnyside Land Company homestead map, submitted to the city in 1891. View whole map here. 

In addition, Edna Street is likely to have been named for the beloved daughter of one of these brewery men. Read more

One block in Sunnyside: 50 years ago and today

1969c. 679 Mangels. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr

Fresh from the new collection of building photographs that were recently transferred from the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder to the History Center–here is one residential block in Sunnyside. More about the collection here.

On a bright overcast day in 1968 or 1969*, a unnamed photographer from the Assessor’s office appears to have shot every house on the 600 block of Mangels Avenue, leaving an unusually complete record of houses there at that time. Read more

A glimpse into the past: San Francisco historical house photos now available

Just released for public viewing by the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu: 94,000 photos of houses, shops, and other structures in San Francisco, dating from the 1940s to the 2000s. Visit this webpage for a map showing properties with available photographs, including instructions on requesting an image to view.

Not every house in the city is included, but many are. On the map, once you have located your property lot, mouse over, and a pop-up text block will give the needed information to access the image — the block and lot number, the box number, and the bundle number. Alternately, enter your address on this page.

Once you have those numbers (block/lot, box and bundle), visit this page to fill out a request to have the image pulled.

The new policy from SF History Center: You must visit the SFHC during photo-viewing hours, when they will pull the photo you need at that time. (no order-ahead form anymore [11 May 2019].)

Plan a visit to the SF History Center, on the top floor of the Main Library, Grove and Larkin. Hours for the photo desk at Tuesday and Thursdays 1 to 5pm, and Saturday 10am-12pm and 1-5pm.

You can also order a scan for $20.

GPNHP at Glen Park Festival on Sunday

This Sunday 28 April, Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project will have a table at the Glen Park Festival, 10am-4pm We’ll have lots to look at, including the photo boards from the City Model project and a raffle. Share your stories, ask questions, or just stop by to say hello.

Glen Park Neighborhoods History Project booth at Glen Park Festival, a quiet moment before the people arrived. Sharon Nadeau, Evelyn Rose, and Amy O’Hair, advisory council members.
GPNHP booth at Glen Park Festival, 2017.