Images of the Sunnyside District
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The Sunnyside District
"... TWO HUNDRED ACRES, FORTY-EIGHT BLOCKS, TWO THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY LOTS. Just think of it! Twenty-two hundred and fifty lots in the city of San Francisco … NOT IN THE SAND HILLS. All fine land and beautifully located on a magnificent slope, being the most southerly portion of the San Miguel Ranch, formerly owned by Senator Leland Stanford, recently sold by the Senator to James P. McCarthy, and now owned by the Sunnyside Land Company, … SUNNYSIDE is destined to be the beauty spot of San Francisco …!”
So proclaimed the advertisement in the San Francisco Call, April 1891 for the "CREME de la CREME" of the City. Formerly pastureland in the remote area generally referred to as the Outside Lands, the Sunnyside Land Company boasted a lack of sand dunes, fertile soil, and beautiful sunshine. Despite a direct connection downtown via Behrend Joost's electric railroad, the sale of home lots would be sluggish for decades. Here are some early views ...
Courtesy of a Private Collector and Ken Hoegger.
"Men of the Time"
Joost then purchased 200 acres of Rancho San Miguel for home lots, accessed by his electric road. Image from the SF Call, April 26, 1891.
As soon as he arrived in the U.S in 1854. Behrend Joost began accumulating wealth through real estate investments and thriving retail establishments. Image from the SF Call, May 28, 1893.
After incorporating the Panama Canal Company, Ferdinand de Lesseps visited San Francisco in 1880 to drum up financial support for the project. Map from Bradstreet's Pocket Atlas of The United States, 1885. Available at Rumsey Historical Map Collection.
The Sunnyside: Begotten of the Panama Canal
Behrend Joost knew a great opportunity when he saw one. In the 1880s, he became principle investor of at least one of the contractors selected to perform dredging of the new Panama Canal during the French phase of construction. While Behrend and his brother Fabian were able to walk away with a new-found fortune, the rest of the project under French oversight was a dismal failure.
Behrend next set his eyes on development of the Outside Lands, purchasing a certain 200 acres in the southern portion of Rancho San Miguel from James P. McCarthy in April 1891. Five months earlier, McCarthy had purchased 585 acres of the Rancho from Senator Leland Stanford, "... extending from Twin Peaks to the Almshouse, south to the Industrial School." With his new electric railroad (the first in San Francisco) leading to the lands under construction, Behrend would soon begin promoting the "Creme de la Creme" of San Francisco, the new "Sunny Side" district.