Our friends at the Bernal Heights History Project recently pointed us toward a relatively obscure Facebook group dedicated to the history of the area around Precita Park.
That’s where we found the rather remarkable photo you see above, showing the intersection of Mission and Army (Cesar Chavez) looking east, shortly before the infamous “street-widening” project. The photo reveals that Army had already been widened to South Van Ness, and demolition is clearly underway on the north side of Army to extend the widening west to Mission Street. Look closely on the left side of the photo and you can also see the oddly-shaped, three-story apartment building that was later rotated 180-degrees and moved across the street when Army was finally widened.
There are also some terrific pictures of the original St. Anthony’s Church on Army near Folsom, which was destroyed in a suspicious June 1975 fire.
Here’s how St. Anthony’s looked from street level in 1965:
And here’s the real heartbreaker; check out this spectacular view of the church interior, as seen in 1958:
UPDATE: Let us not forget that rebel blogger and animated GIF historian Burrito Justice also created a spiffy overhead graphic that visualizes the transformation of Army at Mission that occurred as the street was widened. Click here to see it.
PHOTOS: via Precita Park in Bernal Heights on Facebook