Neighbor Explains 45 Years of Bernal Heights History in 56 Seconds


Neighbor Ralph lives a few doors down from me in Precitaville, and he’s been here for a long time. His father bought the house he lives in now back in 1943 with money he made working as a laborer at Fort Mason. 

Ralph remembers the years after World War II, when San Francisco’s population swelled with returning soldiers and sailors who decided to stay. Everyone had work, he recalled, particularly at the shipyards.”Hunter’s Point was going 24 hours a day,” he says.

Ralph worked for the SFPD as a policeman. He started on the beat, but then spent most of his career “inside” at the Hall of Justice before retiring.

He pointed to my house. “Sam lived there,” he said. That jogged my memory about the census records from 1940. Sam? Sam Piazza? “Yeah, Sam Piazza.” Ralph knew him.

In Ralph’s earliest memories, Bernal Heights was Italian and Irish. Then he remembers Mexicans and Filipinos moving in, and now Ralph notices that the neighborhood is changing again.

This is Neighbor Ralph’s thumbnail history of the last 45 years of Bernal Heights history:

PHOTO: Neighbor Ralph by Telstar Logistics

6 thoughts on “Neighbor Explains 45 Years of Bernal Heights History in 56 Seconds

  1. Pretty good now?! Pretty good now?! Seriously…how dare he! He has NO right to say that. Everything I have heard(and read) is that the neighborhood is changing significantly for the worse and has been since about the time he said it has gotten “better” like the 80’s and 90’s. WTF, so out of touch. Where’s my pitch fork and torch!

    That was a great micro interview, I love the neighbors on my street who are from a similar generation, we have a lot to learn from them.

  2. Gee Brian, people from different generations have a different world views! He has every right to make his assessment of the current situation! Especially since he has lived here for so long!

  3. Pingback: High Bridge Arms in Bernal Heights, San Francisco’s Last Gun Shop, Set to Close | Bernalwood

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s