Japantown Atlas - San Francisco's Japantown (Western Addition)
Detailed Map: San Francisco's Japantown in 1940
This map shows 16-20 blocks of San Francisco's Western Addition in 1940. The center of the Japanese American business district was at the intersection of Post and Buchanan Streets (as it is in 2008). Seemingly, every business within a block of this corner was Nikkei-run. But the Nikkei presence extended some distance in all directions – the Buddhist Temple and Catholic Church were off to the northeast (upper left), and there was a scattering of businesses on upper Fillmore (and several more a block farther north, off the map). There are additional Japanese institutions beyond the map, such as Pine United Methodist Church (several blocks east on Pine Street near Polk and Larkin; today out in the Richmond District).
The largest Christian congregation, the Reformed and Evangelical Church (now merged with United Church of Christ) was located on Post Street in a big, old Congregational Church. This church was larger by far than most other rooms, and was used by other groups for large community events. The Community Hall next door (built in 1924) later became the Hokubei Maininchi Newspaper building (scheduled to be demolished late 2007). The Soto Zen temple took over the former Ohabai Shalome Synagogue just a few years earlier (1934); today this has been restored as Kokoro Assisted Living Facility.
As we've mentioned somewhere, in 1940 there was still a sizeable commercial district on lower Grant Ave. between Sacramento and Bush Street. There were still numerous trading companies between Chinatown and the Embarcadero (the area later redeveloped as Golden Gateway). The once-thriving enclave in South Park had by 1940 faded into the woodwork due to immigration restrictions and the Japanese shipping lines moving to the North Embarcadero. (The Bochow Hotel on Buchanan may be a South Park hotel which relocated back to Japantown in the '30s).
This map is one of a set of maps we did for 1940, '59, '72, and 2004, for the Japantown Task Force. We've reformatted it in the Atlas colors so we can see residential density vs. commercial/community uses. The full sequence of five maps (1910-2004) is posted at the Japantown Task Force website, down near the bottom, under Reports.
You can also find links on our main San Francisco page to downloadable PDF of the four central blocks (1940 to 2000).
First posted 8/4/07, reposted 3/8/08 with full-color map