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 ...

 

SF Call, Apr 26 1891
SF Call, Apr 26 1891

Behrend Joost, SF Call, May 28 1893
Behrend Joost, SF Call, May 28 1893

"Men of the Time"

The 10 Monterey at Detroit, 1939
The 10 Monterey at Detroit, 1939

Courtesy of a Private Collector and Ken Hoegger.

SF Call, Apr 26 1891
SF Call, Apr 26 1891

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Behrend Joost
Behrend Joost

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.

Map, Panama Canal, 1885
Map, Panama Canal, 1885

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.

Sunny Side Arises
Sunny Side Arises

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.

Behrend Joost
Behrend Joost

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.

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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.