Mission Creek 2003 (Image Source: SFGate.com)

It’s a nice then (2003) and now look down Mission Creek to AT&T Park from the Chronicle.

Mission Creek 2010 (Image Source: SFGate.com)

“The area next to the ballpark had just 540 residents in the 2000 census” but since then the “population has grown more than tenfold to 6,570.”

Now a show of hands from those who remember the old RV park that once was the center of the neighborhood…

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by Invented

    Sheesh looks like A’dam harborside — Hmm, before I ever complain about MB again, I will cycle down there and walk around and re-assess the area. Whatever that is, it looks inviting & accessible and a mix-up which a good neighborhood is made of. More please?

  2. Posted by zzzzzzz

    I’ve always liked the water-side promenade on the left side of the picture. I think that would be a very nice amenity for residents of the neighborhood.

  3. Posted by Legacy Dude

    I don’t live in the area, but it’s really come along splendidly. Lesson to be learned for the junkyard dogs out there who oppose any development or new construction. Lesson for the cynics as well – the city does get things right every now and again. Now we just need to repeat the process on the other side of the creek.
    One thing I’ve often wondered as I ride my bike on that promenade…who lives in those houseboats?

  4. Posted by stucco-sux

    Interesting sub-plot to this, told to me by a neighborhood insider whose been following it from the start. The area was previously an epicenter of homeless squatting in the city, with hundreds of people living out of old RV’s and in tents. When Catellus kicked off the ground breaking and clearing for the area (including Mission Bay), they pushed all these people west, along the flats of 16th, deeper into Potrero flats and the Mission. They are still there, shoved from one police jurisdiction to another, blighting another neighborhood as this new one blossoms.

  5. Posted by tipster

    The RV park, now occupied by Beacon, was actually once the train station. They moved it back one block to its current location to build the RV park, which they ultimately planned on developing.
    That’s at least one advantage of train stations: as development expands outwards from a city center, you can keep moving them back, because there isn’t a lot of stuff you have to scrap to move them. The original SF train station was at Market Street, just across from the Ferry building in the old Southern Pacific building.
    The original building is in the shape of an inverted U, and the trains came right into the center of the U. They pushed the train station back and enclosed the U with two towers (making it an O.
    You can see the initial U shape of the building from the map link below. On the map, the building is underneath Market Street between Stuart and Spear Street.
    You can follow the trajectory of the original tracks to that original station by looking at the overhead view – the landscape is still “scarred” by the large swath the tracks used to cut through SoMa to 4th and King.
    Don’t ask me how I know all this old train trivia. Former life.

  6. Posted by District 6 Demographics

    Well with District 6 election coming up I pray to the election sanity God(s) that the District’s demographics have changed enough so we can have a representative who acknowledges that crime is out of control, dealers and taggers have got to go, and planting trees does not gentrify the city.

  7. Posted by Legacy Dude

    Interesting trivia, tipster. Since we’re waxing nostalgic, I’ve heard from old timers that the channel in the picture above was originally dug to dock freighters. Supposedly the city’s former coffee companies used to import bean from South America, and stevedores would unload crates onto what is presumably now the promenade. Sometime around the late 60s/early 70s it ceased being commercially viable, and shipping moved to larger ports like Oakland and Long Beach, with blight setting in shortly thereafter. At least that’s what I’ve heard. May even be some Olde Tyme photos out there on the internet.

  8. Posted by Marina Refugee

    Call me crazy, but I prefer the old shot, back then I had hopes, prospects and dreams…

  9. Posted by Gil

    It’d be nice if they could dig up a bit more of the covered over Mission Creek to allow more waterway and houseboats.

  10. Posted by rubber_chicken

    The network of parks and open space is really successful and saves the place imho. Come to think of it, such is the case with much of SF: Dolores for example is a dog’s dinner of a street without its median and palms.

  11. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    “It’d be nice if they could dig up a bit more of the covered over Mission Creek to allow more waterway and houseboats.”
    A more economical alternative to create additional low density living space would be to magnetically levitate building pads hovering over the freeway.
    Powered of course by bio-gas harvested off of Mission Creek.

  12. Posted by Rob

    I remember it 10 years ago, 20 years ago, even 30 years ago. 20 years ago takes you right back to the time after Loma Prieta when the only significant building was the China Basin building and the double deck central freeway on King St. and wrapping around the Embarcadero. Mission Creek at that time was in fact a collection of transients, and RV dwellers as it was bounded by a large freeway and the other side of it was row after row of cargo houses for trucking and shipping freight. It was a pretty desolate area as shipping and trucking was ceasing to flow through the city and the only bright spot was the Tic Toc Burgers right near the 3rd Street Bridge, and i doubt anyone wanted to be out at night.
    Some may not like what it has become, architecturally, or as a neighborhood, but prior to Loma Prieta it was essentially an industrial loading dock, and considering that it was all born from a baseball stadium i have to say it is a welcome addition to the City. It didnt turn out to be Wrigley field, but design doesnt create neighborhoods, people, history, and celebration do.
    As for the RVer’s, yes they were initially moved to the areas towards Dogpatch, but more and more the creeping development is pushing them out and i would suspect that significant movement in the Eastern neighborhoods plan will eventually push them out entirely.

  13. Posted by grumpy

    I remember having to park next to the RV lot, king between 3rd and 4th on Saturday nights for Club Universe. Now the only thing recognizable is the McDonalds.

  14. Posted by anonn

    In ’96 it was Happy Donuts and Burger Island for restaurants. That was about it. I worked in the China Basin building back then.

  15. Posted by nnona

    Whaddup Gil?
    You still around? Housing bargains to be had in Portland …
    …and you’re still here in dirty, declining SF (I mean, just look at the photos above for proof of that aesthetic decline you incessantly rant about, eh)?
    Oh, that’s right, you have a job here.

  16. Posted by city walker

    SF City guides has a great walking tour called Mission Bay: Hidden Waters, where you can learn all the fun history of the area, including the train station(s), the houseboats, and the native Americans who lived around Mission Bay (the real one with water).
    check it out!

  17. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    Before it was a Happy Donuts, it was a Doggie Diner.
    I remember it being the only place open by the Train Station.

  18. Posted by Gil

    “A more economical alternative to create additional low density living space would be to magnetically levitate building pads hovering over the freeway.’
    Milkshake, they are actually sunrising part of Islais Creek’s Twin Peaks tributary – the plan is to do this in Glen Park near to Bosworth.

  19. Posted by Invented

    “A more economical alternative to create additional low density living space would be to magnetically levitate building pads hovering over the freeway.”
    Levitating pads could get in the way of the submersion of 280 and 80 underground where they belong. It’s only a matter of time until we take stock of these elevated SUV lanes ripping though our city. Dig big now. (Think miles-long greenways funded by new dev sites which will also knit our highway-divided ‘hoods back together). Whew.

  20. Posted by Mole Man

    With sea levels expected to rise, maybe the right way to bury the freeways is to dump fill all around them and then rebuild the city on top of that.
    This area is really nice, but pernicious invasive weeds are taking over some of the garden areas. It seems odd that there are still so many units available for rent along the water side, but they are asking quite a bit for not so much space.

  21. Posted by Leningrad

    Legacy Dude: Chronicle did a nice story on the house boats and the people that live there in January. you can google sf chronicle houseboats (Hill habitats: inside Potrero homes and house boats) or
    the blue, orange and white building in the background is Arterra.

  22. Posted by Michael

    I remember parking for Club Universe too, which is now condos…I miss Happy Donuts at 2am. I live in the area and work in The Mission and the homeless are in full force between the traffic circle at 8th/Townsend all the way to Treat behind Best Buy. That particular street is RV after RV.

  23. Posted by SFRE

    Does anyone know if Berry Street had that particular “odor” 10 years ago…seriously the smell is bad?

  24. Posted by RSVP

    My home in Redwood Shores is located on a lagoon in a planned community. Redwood Shores is a planned community and its man made lagoons are land locked. It allows the Belmont Creek to flow into the bay. The locking monitors and controls the water level, thus any possible flooding.
    When I first moved there in 1988, there would be at times a “smell” which I think came from the local sewer plant. Through the years it has all but disappeared.
    Does Mission Creek have such monitoring that will keep the area from flooding but still allow the ebb and flow of the creek to the bay and back to keep the water fresh?
    Personally, I hate the view from the new waterfront condos on Berry to the houseboats on the creek. Vise versa, I think that view from the houseboats to the condos are fabulous.

  25. Posted by joh

    Does anyone know if Berry Street had that particular “odor” 10 years ago…seriously the smell is bad?
    It used to smell much worse way way way back in the day. The houseboat residents used to refer to the channel as “Shit Creek,” especially after heavy rains.

  26. Posted by Mike T

    Great Shot. I wish they’d bring back Mission Bay driving range. That’s what I miss most about that area.

  27. Posted by Property is Theft

    20 years ago King St was a free parking for CalTrain. King ‘St’ was a bit of an overstatement, it was more like a big alleyway, nothing like the mega-onramp-feeder of today. And Cirque du Soleil would set up their tent right across from the train station.

  28. Posted by tipster

    This should answer your questions about the stench (and mosquitoes!). Residents of Edgewater apartments on Berry Street say it is so bad that they can’t open their windows in the summer when it’s hot.
    The comment at 7/19/2009 seem to be representative.

  29. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    I have some emtional attachment to this area. About 13 years ago I arrived in USA. I shipped the belonging of my whole life in 7 boxes. I picked them up from the warehouse in a location that is now either the UCSF Mission bay campus, or the vacant lot of Dagget Triangle. If you come by to Dagget Triangle (7th and 16th St) you can still see the foundations of the docks. You have to do it quick enough before they build over it.
    I have walked the abandoned tracks around Mission Bay. I have seen Chinese garment factories workers packed on Third St waiting for a bus home afterwork. The garment factories are of course converted into dotcom companies and design shops by now. I considered myself a newcomer to San Francisco. Little had I know I was witnessing history. And that what I have seen will be gone in 10 years.

  30. Posted by hhatmm

    Let’s go even way back, before McDonalds it was Tick Tock Diner. My dad, longshoremen, railroad men and boiler makers(shipwelders) hung out there for lunch in the 1960’s and until a newsworthy murder/robbery cause the place decline.
    If you want to get a feel of what Mission Bay was like in the 70’s. There is a car chase scene in one of Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry movie.
    I miss the driving range and also and its restaurant.
    By the way, the shoreline use to be at Townsend St. that’s why it’s call “town’s end”.
    The sewer treatment plant last year finished a major “odor control” mitigation plan. At times you’ll find it smelly when sewer overflows after heavy rains… but it’s better than what it was before.
    It’s so different in scale out in Mission Bay than the rest of SF. It’s got a high density surburban office park feel, yet it has pockets of tranquil areas. There are quite few public and private open spaces. I can count about 12…most of which is not known to outsiders but are gems to the locals.
    Two more parks are on its way… the “Commons” at Mission Bay North and South near 3rd street one hidden corporate one already done but not opened yet.

  31. Posted by anonn

    The McDonald’s doesn’t date back that far at all. Maybe 12 or 13 years. It replaced Burger Island and then Burger Island went a block north. Something like that.

  32. Posted by NC

    When my parents divorced in the late 80’s my father lived on a sailboat in Mission Creek. We spent most weekends sailing out of the creek all over the Bay, up the delta, out to Sausalito and even open ocean to the Farrallones. I remember the smell being a bit strong at times, but more so I remember the camaraderie amongst the Mission Creek houseboat and boat dwellers, sailors, harbormaster and neighbors. I do remember the trailer park and the RVs, but the homeless were not centered on the creek they were camped out closer to the Caltrain station. There was a lot of wildlife back then on the creek and the Bayview Yacht Club was the center of neighborhood functions. Surely this was one of San Francisco’s best kept secrets back then (sort of the couch for husbands in trouble or childhood dream realized for those who could not afford a yacht in the Marina). Sadly, it has been transformed into yet another “AnyWhereTownUSA” by pumping it full of bland condos. Such a shame we could have done so much better…

  33. Posted by 45yo hipster

    How about the boat club? I’m sure some of you know it well. I went there a few times, 7-8 years ago with a friend, who had a friend, who was a member. Pretty interesting place and people, definitely not your run of the mill marina district-cum-dot commer-cum-yuppie scene. Dat fo’ shooooorree!

  34. Posted by 45yo hipster

    How about the boat club? I’m sure some of you know it well. I went there a few times, 7-8 years ago with a friend, who had a friend, who was a member. Pretty interesting place and people, definitely not your run of the mill marina district-cüm-dot commer-cüm-yuppie scene. Dat fo’ shooooorree!

  35. Bay View boat club rules! Buy a dingy and become a member.

  36. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    I worked at the original Dot Com – HotWired, back when SOMA was still full of sweatshops and warehouses. This was only a few blocks form here and we had more than one employee that lived in the RV park. Salaries for Internet people weren’t like they are today.
    I remember walking up Third Street at night to Market and not even being able to get a cab to stop for me most nights. I had long hair and wore a motorcycle jacket, but still…
    I ate a lot of lunches a Primo Patio, which is still in the neighborhood. Anyone know when it opened? It already seemed like it had been there a long time in 1995. There was a pretty good bar that served food at 3rd and Townsend, I think it was called Third Street Station, but it is gone now. Both were better than Burger Island.

  37. Posted by anonn

    You’re right about Primo Patio and Third Street Station, NVJ. Primo Patio is still good too. I worked at NetGuide in China Basin landing. Remember the graffiti, http://www.goaway.com? Up on one of the brick warehouses. Somebody saw the writing on the wall, figuratively, and put some writing on the wall, literally, to tell all the dotcommers/gentrifiers to stop encroaching on the area. It didn’t work, obviously.

  38. Posted by Cleo

    I remember the crab sandwiches and salads at Butterfields. (Think it was called Butterfields). Miss that place.

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