Washington Square Park, flanked by St. Peter & Paul Church, is a quiet expanse of
green in North Beach.
5 Washington Square Park.
This land was designated a public
park in 1847, making it one of the
oldest parks in the city. Feeling like
an old-world town plaza, it draws
residents of all stripes who come to
sun themselves on the lawn, read a
book on a park bench, or watch
their children play in the playground
on the northwest corner. Columbus
& Filbert sts.
6 Saints Peter & Paul Church.
This is the religious center of the
neighborhood's Italian community.
Since the Italians who came to North
Beach in the 1870s were primarily
fishermen, it became known as “the
Church of the Fishermen,” and yearly
processions to bless the fishing fleet
still start out here. Inside, check out
the elaborate altar carved by Italian
craftsmen, the ornate columns, and
the stained-glass windows. Today
masses are given in English, Italian,
and Chinese. 666 Filbert St. (between
Powell & Stockton sts.). y 415/421-
0809. Mass in English Sundays at
7:30am, 8:45am, & 1pm. Mass in
Chinese Sundays at 10:15am. Mass
in Italian Sundays at 11:45am.
7 Firemen Statue. This bronze
statue of three firemen and a
damsel in distress was created in
1933 at the bequest of local charac-
ter Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who
was saved from a tragic fire as a
young girl and became devoted to
firemen. Upon her death in 1929,
she endowed one-third of her estate
to the SF Board of Supervisors “for
the purpose of adding beauty to
the city.” The city used money to
build Coit Tower (p 9, bullet 5 ),
which contrary to popular belief
is not meant to resemble a fire
hose—it is simply a fluted column.
Columbus Ave. (between Union &
8 North Beach Museum. This
tiny museum has photos of old
North Beach, including shots of its
early Irish, Chinese, and Italian
settlers. Inside US Bank, 2nd floor.
1435 Stockton St. (at Columbus
Ave.). y 415/391-6210 (US Bank
telephone; no telephone for the
museum). Free admission. Mon-Fri
9am-5pm; Sat 9am-1pm.