While poking through some of my bookshelves last weekend, I stumbled across two old San Francisco street maps from the 1940s. As you might expect, most of the Bernal Heights street grid is much the same today as it was then, with one big exception: The Bayshore Freeway wasn’t built until the 1950s, so the eastern slope of Bernal looked rather different.
The construction of the freeway reshaped some aspects of the neighborhood in ways are still visible today; most ominously by turning Faith into a dead end street. (METAPHOR ALERT!!!)
But let’s take an even closer look… with a Burrito Justice-style overlay of a circa 1940 map and a contemporary Google map:
Look closer, and we see more detail. Impressively, Bernal’s streetscape survived the creation of the Bayshore Freeway with relatively little disruption or dislocation. Only two small streets disappeared entirely: Adam and Eve:
So while the physical damage to the neighborhood was relatively minor, the metaphysical damage was significant, considering that the freeway cut us off from Faith and Joy, while wiping out Adam and Eve so thoroughly that no trace remains. Talk about being cast from Eden…