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Produce Market

Unfinished History

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Colombo Market, c. 1920s

Photo: California Historical Society

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The old Colombo Market gate, still standing today as the entry to the park in the picture at bottom.


The old Colombo Market gate, recently relieved of its ivy covering, standing alongside Sydney Walton Square, the private/public park of the Golden Gateway Apartments.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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The old produce market once occupied part of today's downtown, the areas near the docks stretching northward from the Ferry Building. You can see the low-rise buildings going off this 1947 photo to the top and right (west and north), and the produce market started right in that area. More photos below.

Photo: Private Collection, San Francisco, CA


Galli Fruit Company

Photo: C.R. Snyder


Produce Market at Washington and Davis Streets, mid-1950s.

Photo: C.R. Snyder


These are the produce market owners who tried to fight the city's redevelopment plans for the site of the market. Joe Carcione is the young man 4th from the left, who later became TV's Greengrocer.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library



One of the main arguments in favor of moving the old produce market was that the streets were so clogged with vehicles that it led to the wastage of large quantities of fresh produce.

Photos: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


Looking south on Davis near Washington. The tall building in distance with the cupola style top is the Matson Building, while the one next to it on the right is the Pacific, Gas and Electric Building. Today this view is blocked by the Embarcadero Center and other highrises.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


In these days the old produce market was the heart of Italian San Francisco, dominated by families from Genoa and the Italian-speaking canton of Switzerland, Ticino. Local Italians led the founding of the Farmers' Market in 1943 at Market and Duboce, in part to overcome bottlenecks in distribution of locally grown produce during WWII.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


Dozens of 1- and 2-story warehouses characterized the district, long forgotten in the 21st century where the Embarcadero Center and surrounding rehabilitated buildings full of architectural firms, lawyers, restaurants, and other modern uses.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


View westward on Washington from apx. Davis in the mid-1950s.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


Same view west on Washington of the Golden Gateway Apartments and the edge of the INS building (center rear). This was the former site of the downtown produce market.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2007

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Golden Gateway Apartments towering over more recent, smaller-scale offices and condos along Davis at Pacific.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2011


The former site of the produce market in downtown is now a modern office development and the small park area.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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Now known as Sidney Walton Square, named after a former official of the Redevelopment Agency, the park is a strange public/private hybrid with rent-a-cops to prevent bicyclists from relaxing in the park.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2011

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