History

A Partnership
This site is a partnership between the South San Francisco Public Library and the South San Francisco Historical Society for the purpose of preserving and making available to the community information and artifacts from South San Francisco's past.
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The Grand Avenue Library houses the South San Francisco History Room devoted to the historical development and current events in South San Francisco.  The Local History Collection was established in 1967 and is located downstairs at Grand Avenue Branch Library, 306 Walnut Avenue.  The collection includes photographs, building and genealogical resources, pamphlets, yearbooks, oral history tapes, maps and many other documents.

The Historical Society is a non-profit organization established in 1980 for all those interested in the history and culture of South San Francisco.

It was originally formed to advocate for the historically significant architecture in the downtown Grand Avenue corridor and for the preservation of landmarks. The Society seeks to achieve this through active support and participation in community planning.Today we now have Sign Hill as a Registered National Landmark, Sidewalk of Names, Magnolia Plaza community room, the Historic Preservation Ordinance, and some 25 historic resources protected against needless destruction. 

A Resident's Reflection on South San Francisco  

Recently the City had a chance to sit down with Chandra Kirtman, a resident whose family has been in South San Francisco for almost 30 years!  This is what she had to say about South San Francisco.

Kirtman, Chandra
When did you move to South San Francisco?
South San Francisco became my home in 1987, but prior to that, I was working here and my children attended school here at All Souls Catholic School. So, I guess you could say it was my ‘home away from home’ at that time.
 
What brought you to South San Francisco?
My Ticket Agent position at Pacific Southwest Airlines (PSA) made SSF super convenient, especially since my workday began at 5:30 AM! The commute was practically zero and that allowed me to sleep until the last possible minute. South San Francisco is smack dab in the middle of everywhere you need to go, being convenient to 101 and 280. Also, South San Francisco had a bit of a homey, undiscovered feel to it (still does).

What is one of your favorite memories of South San Francisco?

Many of my favorite memories revolve around food, I loved the cheeseburgers and thick fries from The Big Bite (long gone, used to be on Linden Ave.), Caroline Fregosi’s meatloaf sandwiches from Town Liquors on Grand Avenue (shout out to Aldo DeTomasi and his bubbly daughter, Amber) and lunch at Bertolucci’s with my boss, Optometrist Dr. Donald Schoeppner. Grand Avenue’s Galli’s Sanitary Bakery still has great everything, but fruit bars and Dutch Crunch rolls were special treats for my kids.

What is one piece of history that you think most people don’t know about when it comes to South San Francisco?
South San Francisco employs so many people. From Armour Meats, to See’s Candies to Guy F. Atkinson Construction Co. South San Francisco was and still is a place where there are many opportunities for all to work hard and get a ‘piece of the pie’. Speaking of pie (it always comes back to food…) John & Kathy’s on Linden served up the best, most bountiful slices ever!

What do you think is the “best kept secret” of South San Francisco?

The fact that South San Francisco is a wonderful blend of so many cultures, Italian, Hispanic, Filipino, African American, Basque, even Creole (that’s me)!

What is your favorite thing to do in South San Francisco?

Take in Orange Park, which just keeps getting better and better. There’s something to do for all ages, Bocce Ball, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, etc. The Joseph A. Fernekes recreation building is always hosting fun-filled events relevant to our community.

What do you want other people to know about South San Francisco?
I want people to know that South San Francisco is a city of many blends, a blend of old and new industry, a unique mixture of cultures and the perfect balance of small town and sophisticated city!