History of San Francisco

San Francisco after World War II

During World War II, San Francisco was the major mainland supply point and port of embarkation for the war in the Pacific. The War Memorial Opera House which opened in 1932, was the site of some significant post World War II history. In 1945, the conference that formed the United Nations was held there, with the UN Charter being signed nearby in the Herbst Theatre on June 26. Additionally the Treaty of San Francisco which formally ended war with Japan and established peaceful relations, was drafted and signed here six years later in 1951.

Urban renewal


In the 1950s San Francisco mayor George Christopher hired Harvard graduate Justin Herman to head the redevelopment agency for the city and county. Justin Herman began an aggressive campaign to tear down so-called blighted areas of the city that were really working class, non-white neighborhoods. Enacting eminent domain whenever necessary, he set upon a plan to tear down huge areas of the city and replace them with modern construction. Critics accused Herman of racism for what was perceived as attempts to create segregation and displacement of blacks. Many black residents were forced to move from their homes near the Fillmore jazz district to newly constructed projects such as the near the naval base Hunter's Point or even to cities such as Oakland. He began leveling entire areas in San Francisco's Western Addition and Japantown neighborhoods. Herman also completed the final removal of the produce district below Telegraph Hill, moving the produce merchants to the Alemany boulevard site. His planning led to the creation of Embarcadero Center, the Embarcadero Freeway, Japantown, the Geary Street superblocks, and eventually Yerba Buena Gardens.

Tags

Embarcadero Center, Embarcadero freeway, Japantown, Geary Street, Yerba Buena Gardens