A summary the origins of Sunnyside’s street names. (Use this map to stay oriented, though it seems Google has tacked a bit of Glen Park onto our neighborhood.)

Acadia   Baden  Congo  Detroit  Edna  Flood  Foerster  Gennessee  Hamburg  Havelock  Hearst  Joost  Judson  Mangels  Marston  Melrose  Milton  Monterey  Moulton  Ridgewood  Spreckels  Staples  Sunnyside  Wieland

Street-names-banner
Acadia Street

  • Who named it: (*) James P. McCarthy (1847-1924) L.A. real estate capitalist and Sunnyside developer. (More on McCarthy here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Old French colonial name for a large area of eastern Canada, now known as New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Near McCarthy’s hometown, Oswego NY. Plus, the McCarthys seem to have had affection for hot spots of colonial resource plundering, otherwise known as Progress.
  • Notes: Sometimes this street was misspelled as Arcadia in the early 20th century

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Baden Street

  • Who named it: (*) Philip Rohrbacher (1838-1897) brewery capitalist and Sunnyside investor and/or Robert P. Wieland (see Wieland Ave). (More on Wieland here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Baden-Baden, famous German spa town. Near where both Rohrbacher and John H. Wieland (father) were from. Also, the original terminus of the electric streetcar to Sunnyside was Baden, California (now South San Francisco).
  • Notes: Germans say “Bahden” but San Franciscans say “Bayden.”

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Congo Street

  • Who named it: (*) E. Avery McCarthy (1870-1934) real estate capitalist and Sunnyside investor, son of James P. McCarthy. (More on the McCarthys here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Congo River of Africa. Another site of adventurous European colonial resource plundering that garnered much attention by capitalist speculators in those years.
  • Notes: Popular account of the time by Henry Morton Stanley of his travels up the Congo River was published the same year Sunnyside was laid out. EAM, who was a young man of just 20 at the time of street naming, later wrote his own travelogue.

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Detroit Street

  • Who named it: (*) James P. McCarthy (1847-1924) L.A. real estate capitalist and Sunnyside developer, and/or E. Avery McCarthy, his son. (More on the McCarthys here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Capitol of Michigan on Great Lakes. Site of Cadillac’s bold land grab, 1701. Important 19th century manufacturing center.
  • Notes: Another site of adventurous European colonial resource plundering that also captures the sense of 19th century capitalist progressivism. The McCarthy family was from Oswego NY, near to Detroit MI, on the Great Lakes.

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Edna Street

  • Who named it: [Max Jacob] Rudolph Mohr (1853-1928) capitalist and professional corporate secretary, Sunnyside investor who developed and sold real estate in the area for thirty years.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: His beloved first child, Edna Mohr Russ (1884-1979).
  • Notes: Edna married Edmund Russ of prosperous Russ family of SF, 1905.

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Flood Avenue

  • Who named it: James Leary Flood (1857-1926) mining and real estate capitalist, and likely Sunnyside investor.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. Perhaps for more famous father, James Clair Flood (1826-1889) mining capitalist and “Silver King.” Father is namesake of Flood Building downtown SF.
  • Notes: East Coaster: “Isn’t it unlucky to live on Flood?” CA answer: “As long as it’s not Quake Street…!”

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Foerster Street

  • Who named it: C.E.A. (Constantine Emmanuel Adam) Foerster (1859-1898) corporate attorney, capitalist, and Sunnyside investor.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. He was born in the US, though his parents from Darmstadt, Germany. German ö is often transliterated as ‘oe’ in English.
  • Notes: Foerster was a close associate of and corporate lawyer for Behrend Joost for many years. Founded law firm Morrison and Foerster with A.F. Morrison, 1891. Died young of TB.

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Gennessee Street

  • Who named it: (*) James P. McCarthy (1847-1924) L.A. real estate capitalist and Sunnyside developer. (More on the McCarthys here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Gennessee River (now almost always spelt ‘Genesee’), off Lake Ontario, near Oswego, NY, where McCarthy was from—another name from this upstate New York area where the McCarthy family originated.
  • Notes: Means ‘peaceful valley’ in Iroquois. The longer spelling was more common in 19th century. The street name was sometimes misspelled shorter way in the early 20th century.

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Hamburg Street (original name of Ridgewood Ave)

  • Who named it: Rudolph Mohr (1853-1928) capitalist and professional corporate secretary, Sunnyside investor.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Mohr was from Hamburg, Germany, where his mother still lived.
  • Notes: Changed to Ridgewood Ave, 1930, by City of SF.

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Havelock Street

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco, before there was a Sunnyside district.
  • When: 1882
  • For whom or what: British Major Gen Henry Havelock, who put down Indian Rebellion, 1857.
  • Notes: Name replaced Henry Street in 1882. Henry was Havelock’s first name.

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Hearst Avenue (changed from Moulton Ave)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: 1895
  • For whom or what: George Hearst (1820-1891) mining capitalist (not a Sunnyside investor, though)
  • Notes: Name replaced Moulton Avenue in 1895.

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Joost Avenue

  • Who named it: Behrend Joost (1842-1917) capitalist, founder of electric streetcar line to Sunnyside and president of Sunnyside Land Company.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. Fabian Joost and Herman Joost were also Sunnyside investors, though they were not actively involved in the speculation project.
  • Notes: German pronunciation is more like ‘Yohst.’ The Joosts were from Hanover, Germany. Joost Avenue is longest street in Sunnyside.

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Judson Avenue (changed from Wieland Ave)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: 1909, during a massive realignment of street names and numbers
  • For whom or what: Egbert Putnam Judson (1812-1893) inventor, explosives chemical merchant, dynamite company owner.
  • Notes: Name replaced Wieland Avenue, 1909, because there was a Wieland Street in Visitacion Valley, which was confusing.

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Mangels Avenue

  • Who named it: John Henry Mangels (1865-1897) capitalist and Sunnyside investor. (More on Mangels here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. Perhaps for father Claus Mangels (1832-1891) beer, sugar, and cigar capitalist, and the source of the money John Henry drank himself to death on.
  • Notes: Father from Hanover, Germany, and longtime associate of Behrend Joost. The Mangels Mansion still stands at 822 South Van Ness.

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Marston Avenue (changed from Milton Ave)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: 1909, during a massive realignment of street names and numbers
  • For whom or what: (*) Capt. Ward Marston, US Marines, Battle of Santa Clara, 1847—the only northern California battle in the Mexican-American War.
  • Notes: Name replaced Milton Avenue, 1909.

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Melrose Avenue

  • Who named it: James P. McCarthy (1847-1924) L.A. real estate capitalist and Sunnyside developer, and/or M.W. Connor (1839-1910) L.A. real estate capitalist and general manager of Sunnyside Land Company. (More on this streetname here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: McCarthy sold property in the Melrose District in Los Angeles. L.A. Connor used ‘Melrose’ name for two L.A. buildings.
  • Notes: McCarthy also named Melrose Ave in Los Angeles. The McCarthys were from Oswego NY, on Great Lakes (not Melrose MA, as one source says).

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Milton Avenue (original name of Marston Ave)

  • Who named it: Unclear. No one named Milton in the initial investors, nor any late 19th century SF capitalists.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Unclear. Milton, CA, says its name is from RR capitalist Milton Latham.
  • Notes: There was already a Milton Street off San Jose Avenue at the time, which got to keep its name while this one was changed to Marston Ave in 1909. Still, there were two Miltons for 25 years.

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Monterey Boulevard (changed from Sunnyside Ave)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: 1920, a few years after Sunnyside Ave was extended through St Francis Wood, aligning the two names, or rather erasing “Sunnyside” from the new cross-town boulevard.
  • For whom or what: There are many things named Monterey in California: pine tree, bay, city, county.
  • Notes: Name replaced Sunnyside Avenue, 1920, despite the objections of the residents of Sunnyside.

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Moulton Avenue (original name of Hearst Ave)

  • Who named it: Frank Fielding Moulton (1856-1920) capitalist, farmer, and Sunnyside investor.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. Wealthy family originally from New Hampshire. Moulton got out of the Sunnyside racket a few years after its initial offering and moved to massive San Mateo County estate.
  • Notes: Changed to Hearst Ave in 1895, by City of SF.

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Ridgewood Avenue (changed from Hamburg St)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: about 1930
  • For whom or what: name changed to match all the “-wood” streets of adjacent Westwood neighborhood. At that time there was a Ridgewood, CA (now Ridge).
  • Notes: Name replaced Hamburg Street, 1930. I do not know if any anti-German sentiment was a factor (seems a bit prescient if so).

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Spreckels Avenue (original name of Staples Ave)

  • Who named it: Claus Spreckels (1828-1908) beer and sugar capitalist and probable Sunnyside investor, or his son Claus Augustus “Gus” Spreckels. (More on Spreckels’ involvement with Sunnyside here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name. “Most successful German immigrant of late 19th century” (more on Claus Spreckels here).
  • Notes: Family from Hanover, Germany. Street changed to Staples Ave, 1909, by City of SF, because there was also a Spreckels Street in Visitacion Valley, which  was confusing.

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Staples Avenue (changed from Spreckels Ave)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: 1909, during a massive realignment of street names and numbers
  • For whom or what: David Jackson Staples (1824-1900) Forty-Niner and outstanding civic figure; (*) and philanthropist wife Mary P. Staples (1830–1895)
  • Notes: Family originally from Massachusetts. Name replaced Spreckels Avenue, 1909.

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Sunnyside Avenue (original name of Monterey Blvd)

  • Who named it: Whoever is responsible for the name “Sunnyside” for the district: possibly Behrend Joost.
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: “Sunnyside” was a name used in the 1890s and early 1900s for residential districts in Alameda, Marin, and Santa Cruz counties, as well as areas in Seattle and Portland. Just plain old popular.
  • Notes: Well, you can’t name it Foggyside….

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Wieland Avenue (original name of Judson Ave)

  • Who named it: Robert P. Wieland (1861-1908) brewery capitalist and Sunnyside investor. (More on Wieland here.)
  • When: 1891, when Sunnyside was initially laid out.
  • For whom or what: Family name; perhaps for father John H. Wieland (1829-1885) SF brewer, from Württemberg, Germany (near Baden).
  • Notes: Changed to Judson Ave, 1909 by City of SF, because there was also a Wieland Street in Visitacion Valley, which was confusing.

 

* These are my speculations based on pretty exhaustive research, in which I’ve tried to the best of my ability to track the numerous people who were in on the initial share offering for the Sunnyside real estate speculation project. Details and references are contained in the series of articles on GlenParkHistory.org. I welcome questions, see contact address in ABOUT in top menu.