City’s 11 historic districts get markers

A two-year-old piece of legislation is finally being implemented and its effects can be seen hanging from street poles at the edges of historic districts throughout The City.

The bill, introduced in 2003 by current Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin and passed in January 2004, calls for signs to be installed marking the boundaries of The City's 11 historic districts.

A group of four women calling themselves the Plaque Ladies first encouraged Peskin to take up the cause. “He's always been known as the preservation supervisor,” Plaque Lady Alice Carey said. Carey said the Plaque Ladies wanted the signs put up so that tourists would know and appreciate some of the historical flavorof The City's different neighborhoods.

She said the move is also to protect potential home buyers who may not know they are purchasing property in a historical district, where building codes can be much more strict as to changing the appearance of a structure.

On Friday, the Plaque Ladies threw a party to celebrate and publicize the new signs. “A couple of months ago these wonderful signs appeared everywhere and nobody could figure out why,” Carey said. Peskin said Friday afternoon that he intended on going.

The historical districts include Jackson Square, The City's oldest surviving commercial district, Alamo Square, home to the famous “Painted Lady” Victorian houses and Liberty Hill, in the Mission, where the 1906 fire stopped.

“It took a little longer than I had hoped but all's well that ends well. They're up and I think they will educate visitors and residents alike and give people a special pride of place and remind folks how important our historic buildings and resources are,” Peskin said Friday.

Four of the signs were to be on display at Friday's party.

Carey said the Plaque Ladies will continue to work to install signage in historic districts. “This was part one of a phased effort. We also want to put informational plaques in each district explaining why it's a district. We also want to put plaques on each historical building in the district and put signage on all the individual landmarks in S.F.,” she said.

amartin@examiner.com

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