Today is another day when I have a bunch of work to complete and am shooting an event in the evening, but I won’t let that stop me from getting outside for a bit! My plan was to walk all of my errands, and also take a long detour to fetch morning coffee, while endeavoring to pay closer attention to the sites near where I live that I might usually take for granted. I tried this a few weeks ago in one direction, so today I went the other. I ended up being able to answer a question I’d been asked recently about San Francisco that I’d been surprised I didn’t had answer for…

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And we’re off… to ship this part of one of my projects back to it’s publisher…

on a mission in the Mission

07-16-15-MissionElTerrible02

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Given my obsession with house numbers, I’m not sure how I never noticed this amazing palette of greens and accent colors happening here…

green building and numbers

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“SF Starry Night”, signed by Gewse. This mural makes me smile—I know that the story behind the original Van Gogh work is sad, but I still associate qualities like “magical” and “dream-like” with the painting… magical and dream-like imagery seem like they go well with our city…

San Francisco Starry Night mural

(p.s., there is a special place in Hades for people who scrawl on murals! Grrr.)

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Mission fruit stands always seem to have a delivery truck out front covered in amazing graffiti paintings (in the theatre of my mind, at least)…

Mission District fruit stand

Mission District fruit stand

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Also a Mission fruit stand staple: a special deal on bulk limes!

We need them for our Tecates 😉

Mission District fruit stand

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Smokes shop ladies…

genie smoke shop sign

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KRUA Thai window collage…

KRUA Thai window and street scene

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Green and purple flowering tree across the street from green and purple church—

(St. Matthew’s Lutheran, built in 1907)…

church across from Mission Dolores

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And here we have the source of the question I couldn’t answer. First, a funny story—I’d lived in the Mission District for a couple of years when my mom asked what I thought of our Mission. You know, like, one of THE missions that you learn about in grammar school, especially if you grew up somewhere in California. They are kind of big deal, in general… It occurred to me then that I had never connected the name of my neighborhood with the fact that THERE IS A MISSION IN IT. I also pass a sign that says “MISSION DOLORES MISSION, .4 MILES” just about every day.

You can all laugh at me. I think I blushed and laughed at myself; seems like an obvious connection, no?

Anyhow, so, I then paid attention and told myself, yes, the big basilica on the corner of 16th and Dolores is of course one of THE missions, founded by Junipero Serra and the missionaries hundreds of years ago. Obviously.

Today I walked past and stopped to take some photos and study the architecture and decorations a bit, notice details I hadn’t before… Mission Dolores basilica

Mission Dolores basilica

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Like a curlicued birthday cake, all ivory and reaching into the sky…

Some of you in the audience may have noticed my erroneous assumption—it is also the answer to the question I was asked about San Francisco, but didn’t know the exact answer to. Recently, since I’ve started this project, my mom asked me how old the oldest buildings in San Francisco are, and if I knew which was the most senior?

I do now!!

The oldest intact building in San Francisco is in fact the Mission San Francisco de Asís—which is not the ornate building pictured in this post, as I have assumed, but actually the small white chapel just next to the Basilica (follow the link above to see the Old Mission). I learn something new every day… Together, they are referred to as “Mission Dolores,” and claim a lot of firsts and other unique distinctions.

The Old Mission was founded in 1776, and built about a decade later; it has witnessed the Gold Rush, and survived the 1906 disaster (the original church next to the Old Mission did not; the Basilica present today was built to replace it and was completed in 1918). It is currently the only place in San Francisco that still hosts a cemetery, and is also the oldest original intact Mission in California. There is still an active parish in the Basilica, and you can visit both and take a tour.

Mission Dolores basilica

Mission Dolores basilica

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In the sidewalk bordering the Basilica 🙂

This was my favorite movie when I was young—Goonies never say die!

GOONIES in sidewalk

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More of the Basilica…

Mission Dolores basilica

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On San Francisco’s list of Designated Landmarks, the Old Mission is no. 1; I didn’t realize there was so much there, and now I’d like to check it out. For now, more Basilica…

Mission Dolores basilica

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Street side of the stained glass window of Junipero Serra…

Mission Dolores basilica

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I’m noticing a theme here…

Denomination all-inclusive antiques shop near Mission Dolores…

shop window

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The window of this shop feels like a time-portal into the 1950s and 60s…

shop window

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Castro District front yard succulent garden…

front yard garden

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Coffee acquired.

I’m such a sucker for things that show the evidence of time… it makes them unique in all the world:

old door

old door

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Love the subtle leaf-shape details on these numbers, too…

house numbers

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Mission street scene: shade trees, stoop-sitters, cyclists…

walking bikes in the Mission

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We’re really into our bikes in the Mission; the level of Fixie worship is practically cult-like, and quirky vintage numbers are pretty iconic as well…

Mission District purple bicycle

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We insufferable Mission hipsters also like to poke fun at ourselves!

But, the sign proclaims the true gospel of coffee, and coffee is always cool…

Faye Coffee sign reading

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Walk, part two:

On to the Rickshaw Stop to photograph a concert—two local bands, and a touring headliner.

Not a No Parking sign, but still a nice composition…

Otis Street sign with graffiti

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Some quick iPhone snaps of the show. iPhones take mediocre photos in dark rooms, but these bands photograph well no matter what…

NRVS LVRS:

NRVS LVRS iphone photo

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TROPICS:

TROPICS iphone photo

I have to say, this was a fantastic bill! I’m really glad I was here to photograph the event and got to see three great sets by three talented bands. El Terrible, NRVS LVRS, and TROPICS all sounded amazing. Such a treat!

For a gallery of photos from the whole show, see the SF Station photo pages.

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On home, via Market Street.

Great vintage cameras in a framing shop window:

vintage cameras in shop window

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And more antiques… Market Street at night:

antique shop sign


Where should I go tomorrow?


  • MILES WALKED: 9 miles
  • NEIGHBORHOODS: Mission District, Castro, Civic Center
  • DESIGNATED LANDMARKS: Mission Dolores (no.1) – sort of!

(MAP TO COME!)