Harrison Street Industrial Corridor

Unfinished History

Ford-Motor-Co.-to-be-Gompers-Trade-School-flipped 1946-aad-8872.jpg

Old Ford factory at 21st and Harrison, which became Samuel Gompers Trade School in 1946.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Harrison Street in the Mission was for most of its life a major thoroughfare for rail traffic, as the San Jose-San Francisco line ran on it, as did many freight trains, including one that went right by the factory above to pick up finished new Ford autos as they rolled off the assembly line. This area of the northeast Mission was contiguous with the Harrison Street corridor in the South of Market, which was also very industrialized.

21st and Harrison SP train 1905 AAA-9981.jpg

1905 image of San Jose-San Francisco Railroad near 21st and Harrison.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library (AAC-9981)

Train passing through 22nd and Folsom 1907 AAC-8238.jpg

Train chugs through 22nd and Folsom in 1907.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library (AAC-8238)


Atlas Stair Building, a strange little house next to a curving driveway behind the Western Plywood warehouse, on 22nd just west of Harrison. The curving driveway, currently claimed by the wood company, is actually contested in its ownership and illegally closed off and squatted by private landowners, and was once the railroad's leased right of way through the block. Old train tracks can still be seen here, between 22nd and 23rd, Harrison and Treat.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

Treat at rr crossing 1920s.jpg

Treat Avenue with railroad crossing at lumber yard between 22nd and 23rd, c. 1920s.

Photo: courtesy Elizabeth Creely

July 9 1959 sp train on curve behind 22nd and Folsom AAB-9455.jpg

July 9, 1959: The people in the area between 22nd and 23rd Sts. and Treat Ave. and Folsom St. have a train in their backyards. It's the Southern Pacific's small branch line, the last of it 'in-town' service for a few businesses there. Train-loving kids in the neighborhood merely have to peer over their back fence to watch 'Casey Jones' at the switch engine, jostling a few freight cars into position. The branch line, which ends at 23rd and Folsom Sts., is part of the historic 'Old Main Line,' the San Francisco-San Jose Railroad, established in 1863. The line was absorbed by SP in 1870, and was operated until 1907. At that time it was discontinued when Bayshore yards here filled in for a shorter route to the Peninsula.

Ford Assembly 1946 AAC-6793.jpg

Another shot of the plant in 1946.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

15th betw. Folsom and Harrison 1927 AAB-5886.jpg

A 1927 shot of rail cars parked alongside warehouses on 15th Street between Harrison and Folsom Streets.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

C 1955 View toward Northeast Corner of 15th and Folsom. Woolworth Company warehouse with railroad boxcars on 15th, presently occupied by the University of California San Francisco Mission Center. wnp100.00107.jpg

Woolworth Company warehouse at 15th and Folsom, c. 1955, railroad boxcars on 15th.

Photo: OpenSFHistory.org wnp100.00107

Folsom and 15th 2023.sharpened and cropped.jpg

UCSF Mission Center at 15th and Folsom, 2023

Photo: Eihway Su

Harrison and 17th 1933 AAB-4038.jpg

Cement factory at 17th and Harrison (right), 1933. This lasted until the 21st century when it was finally torn down and replaced by loft-style condominiums.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

John O Connell School 1953 21st and HarrisonAAB-0341.jpg

John O'Connell School, a technical high school, in the former Ford Motor Co. factory building, 21st and Harrison, 1953.

Photo: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Old-loading-dock-20th-and-Harrison 6017.jpg

This old loading dock at 20th and Harrison used to have box cars parked alongside it as recently as the early 1990s.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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