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December 05, 2014 Slideshows » Culture

The Dogpatch: Industrial Outpost by the Bay 

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The graffiti covered cranes and the brick Union Iron Works machine shop building, with its broken, arched windows, are an iconic reminder of the once thriving industrial Central waterfront which in its heyday brought the settlement of craftsmen and workers to the adjacent Dogpatch neighborhood. From industrial boomtown to abandoned, rough-and-tumble hideout and then a haven for artists, boat builders and small businesses, the area has seen much change. The city has plans underway to redevelop Pier 70, the oldest and largest industrial complex remaining in the city, while preserving its historic charm and giving way for a more community oriented space. Neighborhood residents hope for a revival of the area that repurposes the buildings and keeps the heart and soul of the district intact without further pushing out those who have made the Dogpatch home.

This nine block long neighborhood, stretching north to south along 3rd St., packs some knockout restaurants such as Marcella’s Lasagneria, Hard Knox Café, Piccino, Serpentine and Just for You Café. Rub elbows with long-time residents at the cozy Dogpatch Saloon or avid boaters at The Ramp, which boasts salsa dancing and outdoor seating overlooking the Bay. Work from the artist community of San Francisco and beyond can be seen at Workshop Residence, the Museum of Craft and Design, and open studios at the Noonan Building; home to photographers, painters, sculptors, print makers and more.

An excellent way to learn more about the neighborhood is through the San Francisco City Guides free (donations appreciated) tour of the Dogpatch and Potrero Hill, full of architecture, history and lore.

All text and photos by Beth LaBerge for SF Weekly.

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Now a public trust belonging to the Port of San Francisco, Pier 70 since the Gold Rush has been home to shipyards and maritime industries. It is the oldest continually used civilian shipyard in the United States, still in operation today. It was once home to Union Iron Works, Bethlehem Steel, Pacific Rolling Mills, Risdon Iron & Locomotive Company and the Spreckel’s Sugar refinery. The most iconic structures are the Gantry Cranes, now covered in rust and graffiti they once helped with ship building, moving large pieces of the hull into position. The cranes will stay intact as a part of a new park called Crane Cove in the new vision of Pier 70. This plan would provide shoreline open space, continued boat repair operations and the rehabilitation of the historic infrastructure.
Ice cream lovers come from near and far for the creative, or the more traditional, flavors which rotate daily. And don’t forget about the hand-made cones, toppings and the treats; peanut brittle, cookies, licorice, malt balls and more. Owners and chefs Ian Flores and Annabelle Topacio create a welcoming space to linger over dessert, and the love in their work shows.
The Workshop is both a store and studio space that brings together artists locally and internationally with San Francisco manufacturers to create one-of-a-kind functional art. Each resident artist is given a studio workspace, budget and staff to help with each project, which is then reproduced and sold in the store. The store contains works from past artists, creating a diverse and unique collection of useable art. The most recent artist, Stephanie Syjuco, created a design inspired by the black and white camouflage on battleships, then used a hand screen printing technique to make patterns without repeat. These were cut and sewn to make garments and bags that are completely unique. The next opening will be for artist Gay Outlaw and fine wood worker Bob Schmitz and their cast iron Dutch ovens with faux wood grain.
After a century in operation, and a century of wear and tear, this neighborhood bar went through a floor-to-ceiling remodel the past year. The cocktail list expanded, a gas fireplace and leather booths were added and the neighborhood charm remains. The perfect place to catch a game, grab a brew with friends or hear a Dogpatch tale from a longtime resident.
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