A summary the origins of Sunnyside’s street names. (Use this map to stay oriented.) Read more about our streets here.

Acadia   Baden  Congo  Detroit  Edna  Flood  Foerster  Gennessee  Hamburg  Havelock  Hearst  Joost  Judson  Mangels  Marston  Melrose  Milton  Monterey  Moulton  Phelan  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). As well, John Henry Mangels was fond of visits to Baden, Germany, in his youth. (More on Wieland and Mangels 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 the sort of adventurous European colonial resource plundering that was so much admired by capitalist speculators in those years.
  • Notes: One of explorer Henry Morton Stanley’s accounts of his travels up the Congo River–In Darkest Africa— was published the same year Sunnyside was laid out. Read that here. EA McCarthy, 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 SF 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 then still lived.
  • Notes: Changed to Ridgewood Ave, 1927, by City of SF, the year before Mohr passed away.

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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). Read more about that here.
  • 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. Read more about Joost in this post.
  • 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. Read more about this change here. 

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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, and another one in Ocean view. The one off San Jose still extant. Read more about this change here. 

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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 and that portion named Monterey Boulevard in 1916. Then in 1920, the Sunnyside Ave portion was renamed Monterey to match.
  • For whom or what: There are many things named Monterey in California: pine tree, bay, city, county.
  • Notes: Reportedly, the residents of Sunnyside objected to the lose of their self-named street in 1920.

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Moulton Avenue (original name of Hearst Ave)

    • Who named it: Frank Fielding Moulton (1856-1920) capitalist, farmer, and Sunnyside investor and a director of Sunnyside Land Co.
    • 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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Phelan Avenue (now Frida Kahlo Way)

    • Who named it: City of San Francisco
    • When: About 1906, for a narrow dirt road to connect Sunnyside to Ocean Avenue, along the western edge of the House of Refuge lot (which became Balboa Park in 1910 and City College in 1935.)
    • For whom or what: The father of James Duval Phelan (1861–1930), who was mayor of San Francisco 1897-1902. Mayor Phelan campaigned for Asian exclusion and discrimination, leaving a racist legacy. The name association gave rise to a campaign to change the name in mid-2010s.
    • Notes: In 2018 this street’s name was changed to Frida Kahlo Way. Read more here.

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Ridgewood Avenue (changed from Hamburg St)

  • Who named it: City of San Francisco.
  • When: August 1927 by the Board of Supervisors, at the recommendation of the Board of Public Works.
  • 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, but not from anti-German sentiment–too distant from either war.

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Spreckels Avenue (original name of Staples Ave)

  • Who named it: Sunnyside investor Claus Augustus “Gus” Spreckels (1858-1946), son of “sugar king” Claus Spreckels (1828-1908). (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 father 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). Read more about them in this post.
  • 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; probably named for father John H. Wieland (1829-1885) big-time 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.