Shaping San Francisco Donations
or make a
one time donation

Market Street Hub Neighborhood

Historical Essay

by John Horn

Val Market 1945.jpg

Valencia and Market, 1945, when the intersection was still the heart of a now-forgotten neighborhood called "The Hub."

Market-west-at-Valencia-Sept-14-1945-SFDPW.jpg

Market at Valencia (tracks turn left onto Valencia), Sept. 14, 1945.

Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R.collection

Hub 40s.jpg

The Hub, looking east on Market from apx. Octavia, 1940s.

Market-sw-from-Van-Ness-c-1932 72dpi.jpg

Market Street west from Van Ness, c. 1932, into the heart of the Hub neighborhood.

Photo: C.R.collection

Market 1883.jpg

Looking east on Buchanan towards Market, c. 1883.

Hermann-St-east-fr-Buchanan-towards-Market-and-Laguna-1932-SFPL 72dpi.jpg

Hermann Street east from Buchanan towards Market and Laguna, 1932., San Francisco Teachers College (later San Francisco State College) at left.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, courtesy C.R. collection

Market-and-Haight-w-Mint-Hill-and-Twin-Peaks-c-1900-SFPL.jpg

Market and Haight intersection, c. 1900. Mint Hill still prominent on north side of Market at top of hill.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library, courtesy C.R. collection

For many decades beginning in the 1880s through the 1950s, the intersection of Market, Valencia, Haight and Gough Streets was popularly known as the “Hub,” because no fewer than four streetcar lines converged there either on their way downtown or outbound to outlying neighborhoods. The Municipal Railway and the Market Street Railway ran on four tracks on Market Street; the 9 Valencia ran on Valencia and the 7 Haight on Haight Street. The intersection was a busy transit hub, with streetcar lines radiating out from it along Market St., Valencia and Haight Streets. Over the course of decades, the intersection and surrounding neighborhood remained a transit hub even as streets were reconfigured and streetcar lines were replaced with buses.

Powerhouse.jpg

The United Railroads Powerhouse at Valencia and Market, 1880s.

Market-and-Valencia-power-house-after-1906-quake.jpg

Powerhouse ruins after 1906 earthquake and fire, Haight Street in distance.

Photo: San Francisco MTA

Sanborn Mkt Val 1905.jpg

Sanborn insurance map, 1905, showing intersection of Valencia and Market and surroundings, with United Railroads powerhouse and carbarn in center.

The name “Hub” eventually came to stand for the surrounding neighborhood as well as the intersection and was well-known to residents of the City. By the 1930s the neighborhood was alive with thriving businesses and a surrounding residential population. Many well-known businesses located here because of the ease of public transportation and the central location, including the Hub pharmacy (for many years San Francisco’s only 24-hour pharmacy), Hub Bowling and the McRoskey Mattress Company. McRoskey is the only business from the Hub area that survives to this day.

Airflex late-20s.jpg

McRoskey Mattress Company, 1920s, when Gough Street did not yet go through Market to Mission.

Photo: Courtesy McRoskey Mattress Company

Cars 1939 01.jpg

Used car lot on Market in 1939 where Gough now crosses through.

Cars 1939 02.jpg

Used car lot on Market Street where Gough now runs to Mission Street,circa 1939. Note the sign in background: Hub Bowling, 1675 Market Street.

Photos: Courtesy McRoskey Mattress Company

Gough at Market.jpg

Gough at Market, c. 1907, temporary structures still abound after quake.

Photo: SFMTA

Reconstruction-Market-Street-May-1931 72dpi.jpg

Market Street being rebuilt in May 1931.

Photo: C.R collection

Fillmore West at Van Ness and Market 1970 via Isabella Acuña FB.jpg

The famous Fillmore West at Van Ness and Market in 1970 when the Grateful Dead show was being advertised.

Photo: Isabelle Acuña

The name faded from public memory after the conversion of the Valencia and Haight street lines to bus service and the removal of two streetcar tracks from Market Street with the dissolution of the Market Street Railway, all in the 1940s. The neighborhood went into decline beginning in the late 1940s.

Mkt gough.jpg

Building the Gough Street extension, 1949.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

So Van Ness.jpg

Construction linking Market Street with Mission, South Van Ness Extension, 1930s.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library

South-Van-Ness-south-from-Mission-and-Otis-Sept-15-1931-SFDPW.jpg

South Van Ness extension under construction, southerly view from Mission and Otis, Sept. 15, 1931.

Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R. collection

Mission-and-12th-1912 72dpi.jpg

Mission and 12th Street, 1912.

Photo: C.R. collection

Today the reference to the “Hub” is largely forgotten except to history buffs, but a movement to revive the name in reference to a larger area with the intersection as its nexus has begun as the neighborhood becomes a part of the revival of the area in general and a reconfiguration of the intersection under the Market and Octavia Plan. Several landmark structures populate the neighborhood today as it is poised for revival.