Tenderloin District of San Francisco Walking Tour
Starting at the Tenderloin Museum, this tour will guide you through some of the complex and surprising history behind San Francisco's well-known Tenderloin district.
Though much of her life was lived abroad, Isadora Duncan, considered by many to be the mother of modern dance, was born on Taylor Street in San Francisco. On Duncan's last visit to the city, in 1917, she performed for sold-out audiences at what is now the Geary Theater.
In 1929, the Glide Foundation was created by Methodist philanthropist Lizzie Glide in memory of her late millionaire cattleman husband, H.L. Glide. Construction of Glide Memorial Church began that year and was completed on January 11, 1931. Beginning in the 1960's, the church became heavily involved in grassroots community outreach and activism- particularly centered around women's rights, LGBTQ rights, addiction, homelessness, and racial equality. Due to their progressive theology and wide array of social programs, Glide Memorial Church has been a lightning rod for controversy over the years. After years of contentious debate- much of which surrounded the issue of gay marriage- Glide Memorial Church issued a declaration of independence from its former parent church, the United Methodist Church. As an independent non-profit, Glide continues to operate in the same capacity as it always has, offering both lively church services and as many as 87 social services to the community today.
Built in 1911, the building that is now the Ambassador Hotel was, for its first several years of existence, known as the Ferris Harriman Hotel and Theater. The hotel gained fame, however, from the 1970s until 1996, when the owner, Hank Wilson, opened the hotel to patients with AIDS and cared for them without any public assistance.
Original site of the Admission Day Monument, also known as the Native Sons Monument and the Phelan Fountain. Erected in 1897 to celebrate California statehood. It was moved to Golden Gate Park in 1948. But lobbying from the Native Sons led to it being moved again to Market, Post & Montgomery streets in 1977.
In August 1966, The Compton's Cafeteria Riot marked an important date in the civil rights movement in the United States. The conflict erupted into violence during an aggressive police effort to close the establishment of Compton’s Cafeteria, a popular, 24-hour spot frequented by LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) patrons. Though largely forgotten, and not holding the same place in queer history as events like the Stonewall Riots in New York a few years later, it was nevertheless an important moment in San Francisco gay history because of the patrons’ violent response. It can be seen as a flashpoint, an eruption after years of conflict, resentment, and community. Compton’s Cafeteria no longer exists. The building remains on-site and at one time housed the Oshun Center - a women’s clinic that offered free care.
Opened in 2015 by Uptown Tenderloin, Inc.- an organization dedicated to local historical preservation and education- the Tenderloin Museum unravels 100 years of the vibrant, hidden history behind one of San Francisco's most infamous districts. Interactive exhibits at the museum feature a wide variety of art, memorabilia, artifacts, documents, and photographs which all pay tribute to the unique neighborhood where the Grateful Dead recorded an album and one of the first LGBTQ riots in United States history took place.