Eureka Valley Properties

Written by Linda Alexander
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Eureka Valley properties are found in and around the neighborhood now known as the Castro. These properties were originally dairy farms and dirt, much like the rest of San Francisco, and evolved into suburbs. Today, Eureka Valley and Castro is one of the most vibrant communities in the Bay Area. Originally, Irish, German, and Scandinavian working-class immigrants came to Eureka Valley seeking inexpensive land. Once the cable railway linked the area to the rest of the city, Eureka Valley quickly grew into a "suburb."

The First Eureka Valley Properties

This had happened with other San Francisco neighborhoods, whose hills had been prohibitively steep to commute up, until effective transportation was built. The Eureka Valley homesteaders built large Victorians for their large families, and today they have been mostly restored to their original grandeur. What was once "cheap land" today is priced as steeply as the hills are sloped.

Eureka Valley remained a peaceful, working-class neighborhood until after World War II. Then, people began to leave the city for the suburbs, in pursuit of the new American Dream. Single men, many of them gay, discharged from the military began to buy Eureka Valley properties, which were then still relatively inexpensive, and renamed the neighborhood after its busy thoroughfare, Castro Street.

During the activism of the '60s and '70s, and with the devastation of the AIDS epidemic in the '80s, Castro grew into a cohesive gay community. Now it's a tourist attraction as well as a friendly neighborhood to all who visit, live, or work there. The often-photographed "painted ladies," a row of restored Victorians, are perhaps the most well known Eureka Valley properties.

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