Potrero's Lost Neighborhood
Irish Hill was a neighborhood that literally disappeared. Located between today’s Dogpatch and Pier 70, this ten-square block neighborhood was populated from 1867 until 1923. Most of its residents were single men, many of them Irish, that were employed in the adjacent shipbuilding industries, like the Union Iron Works.
The neighborhood’s reputation for drunken debauchery and crime was well known in late-19th century San Francisco. Boarding houses, hotels, and many saloons fueled Irish Hill’s reputation as a rowdy, dangerous place to be, day or night.Very little has been known about this working-class neighborhood.
For three years, Steven Fidel Herraiz researched Irish Hill, a ghost town whose residents, buildings, streets, and original topography no longer exist. Through rarely-seen photographs, historic newspaper articles, and artifacts, he tells the story of this dynamic neighborhood, whose demise in the early 20th century was brought on by the very industries that created it.
Reached by a 98-step stairway, Irish Hill was largely demolished bit by bit for industrial expansion. Its last remaining piece reminds us of all the other dramatic man-made changes in the local landscape: the filling-in of Mission Bay, the chopping away of Potrero Hill, and the expansion of industry onto reclaimed Bayshore land.
Watch Steven Herraiz tell the stories of Irish Hill at 2014 Potrero Hill History Night
Visit dogpatchna.org/scavenger-hunt to join the community fun as our gift to you during this year's "holidays at home" Shelter in Place.