Mission Street

Series / Mission Street

Mission Miracle Mile

In 2003, I decided to document some of the Mission’s most colorful patrons. San Francisco’s Mission District has long been the home of the working-class retailer. Between the 1906 earthquake and World War II, Mission Street was proudly known as the “Mission Miracle Mile.” Second only to San Francisco’s Union Square shopping district, Mission Street provided a shopping haven for goods and services of high quality. As a symbol and testament to its name, there were two decorative bridges on each end of Mission Street, beginning on 16th street and ending on Cesar Chavez.

The Mission has historically been a neighborhood for the immigrant, and to this day the “Miracle Mile” holds true to this tradition. Jewish, Irish, Italian and now Hispanic families reside and work in this area. The neighborhood is again in the midst of dramatic changes. Since the early 2000’s, the area has seen a large influx of coffee shops, boutiques and pricey restaurants, that are making the Mission popular to young tech entrepreneurs.

This series of images hopes to capture the essence of the small businesses that been in the neighborhood for over 30 years. Like JJ O’Connor Florists, an establishment that came to Mission street over a hundred years ago, is among the oldest in this tradition and one of the many I’ve been lucky to photograph. Sadly, it recently shut down, as have many of the others that are documented in this series.