Where are the borders of the neighborhood? Links to historical maps follow.
The boundaries of Sunnyside
When Sunnyside was laid out by the Sunnyside Land Company in 1891, a plat map showing the streets, lots, and boundaries was submitted to the city. These are the original boundaries.
Here are those original boundaries applied to a modern map.
The far eastern flatiron point was located at Joost Ave and Monterey Blvd (then Sunnyside Ave). The southernmost edge was Havelock Street. The northwest corner was Melrose and Ridgewood Avenues (then Hamburg) and the north/northeast corner stood at Melrose Ave and Congo Street.
On the Border of Pretty Nice
In previous decades these boundaries have been chipped away at times, by residents or real estate agents, for reasons that entirely escape this writer. Sunnyside is older than all the surrounding neighborhoods, and has more intriguing history to explore. And Sunnyside does not have the regrettable legacy of ever having had racist restrictive covenants in operation. Why abdicate your own neighborhood? More recently the district has gained a bit more shine; it’s more urban, interesting, and walkable than its residence-park neighbors; there are shops and apartment buildings, a Slow Street, bike-share stations, a public stairway on the mend, and lots of new families.
Through the Years
The Sunnyside Land Company reproduced the original homestead map (with a few misspellings) on their big splashy half-page advertisement in the SF Chronicle announcing their property speculation project in April 1891.
This Department of Public Works map of Sunnyside from 1912 (with some updates from 1940s) shows the neighborhood extended northward a bit.
The San Francisco Planning Department in the twenty-first century has a different set of boundaries displayed in their SFFind map, somewhat more generous than the original ones, which puts City College, Dorothy Erskine Park, and all of Sunnyside Playground inside the borders. This bit of jiggery-pokery artificially boosts the open-space-to-resident ratio for this neighborhood.
UPDATE April 2022: The boundaries of Sunnyside as shown by Google Maps have sometime recently changed. The area north of Congo in the 700 block, and the south side of Bosworth between Elk and Hamerton have been added. These areas have never historically been part of Sunnyside, not on the original maps, not in a realtor’s dreams. Additionally, area in the triangle bounded by Acadia, Monterey, and the original boundary running southeast-northwest at the flatiron eastern corner has been removed from “Sunnyside”. Who understands the quirky ways of Google Maps? Where, for example, the name one-hundred-year-old name “Miraloma Park” was erased altogether from the neighborhoods of San Francisco. UPDATE MAY 2022: Oops, Google Maps have changed Sunnyside’s boundaries yet again! They’ve shaved off some stuff on the north, and added some bits on the flatiron eastern tip! Whuggah. Cartographic thrills. See below for the April and May screenshots, to compare.
Some links for exploring old maps of San Francisco, including Sunnyside, found on DavidRumsey.com. All linked maps contain a navigation slider embedded in the middle to allow zooming in. It sometimes mysteriously disappears–just click in the left side bar, and it should reappear.
- 1938 aerial photo-map of San Francisco
- 1929 Board of Public Works (MM O’Shaughnessy) San Francisco
- 1924 Rand McNally San Francisco
- 1915 Chevalier Map of San Francisco, gorgeous, colorful, fun
- 1905 Sanborn Insurance Maps (check index; Sunnyside found 715-719)
- 1899 San Francisco Sewer Map (includes streets & topographical lines)
- 1892 HW Faust Map of San Francisco (lots of streets never built, aka “paper streets”)
- 1887 Britton & Rey’s Guide Map of the City of San Francisco (before Sunnyside laid out)
- 1881 Bancroft’s Official Guide Map Of City And County Of San Francisco (also before Sunnyside)