north beach

Once an actual beach filled with landfill in the late 19th century. Sometimes referred to as San Francisco's "Little Italy", North Beach is one of San Francisco's oldest and most colorful neighborhoods.

Saints Peter & Paul Church
Jack Kerouac
AP Giannini

One of the most significant players in San Francisco history, pivotal in the rebuilding of The City after the great quake and fire of '06, was AP Giannini. He founded the Bank of Italy in 1904 at 550 Montgomery.


Giannini personally rescued his bank's deposits after the quake and fire, carting the cash to safety hidden under produce in fruit crates, so that there were sufficient funds to rebuild The City. Unlike the other banks, Giannini started to loan money immediately on a board across two barrels, lending money in good faith, without credit histories to countless victims anxious to rebuild and forget. North Beach, where most of his customers lived, was the first neighborhood to rebuild after the disaster. Bank of Italy later went on to become Bank of America.

Historic center of the beatnik culture, it is home to the City Light's Bookstore founded by beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti.  Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy also lived in the neighborhood.

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