Infographic: Fun Facts About San Francisco’s Tenderloin District

It’s been a couple of months since we’ve settled into our new (and dare we say fabulous space) here in the city’s Tenderloin district. Located at the corner of 6th and Market streets, we’re really in the heart of it all; adjacent to the Donut World, diagonal from Show Dogs, across from the Crazy Horse Warfield. It’s an interesting corner to say the least. Really, it’s the crossroads of this neighborhood’s history…and its future.

In fact, we’ve been so inspired by the long and lettered history of this neighborhood, we decided to do a little research and get the whole story. Though it’s hard to tell these days, the Tenderloin used to be a haven to some of San Francisco’s most ritzy hotels and theaters. In fact 33 blocks of this neighborhood are recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. The area took a blow during the 1906 earthquake and well, has never been quite the same. But thanks to Burning Man Foundation, the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, and tech startups like us and Twitter, the TL could be back on an upswing.

We give you the fall and rise of the Tenderloin.

Fall and Rise of the Tenderloin

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Image originally posted on Zengage, the Zendesk Blog

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  • Holymoly

    Really, it is the crossroads of this neighborhood’s history…and it is future.

  • archie

    This infographics looks fabulous. Who made the design and all?

  • archie

    This infographics looks fabulous. Who made the design and all?

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Thanks, Archie. We work with Column 5 to flesh out the concept. They do great work!

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Thanks, Archie. We work with Column 5 to flesh out the concept. They do great work!

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Woopsies! Holymoly — nice catch. We’ve corrected the typo. Thanks for pointing it out! 

  • Anonymous

    Awesome infographic. But do you really mean “decimate”? I suspect “obliterate,” “wipe out” or “destroy” would be more accurate. 

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Thanks for the catch–fixed!

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  • KG

    Infographic — you’re doing it right. Also, thanks for getting involved in the neighborhood. Not all of use living in the area deal crack or sell ourselves on the corner as many in SF like to say. I’m quite proud of the architecture and culture we’re surrounded by, while being within walking distance to everything else great about this city. 

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  • Tim Giangiobbe

    Great Stuff Colorful and informative 

  • Suckerfree

    Usually bad form here in SFO to say “San Fran” unless you are doing it on purpose

  • Loinmaster

    Usually bad form here in San Francisco to say “SFO unless you are referring to the airport.

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  • Ana Lucila Diazdeleon

    Great job!!!  Thanks for being willing to help with the turn-around…and keep San Francisco vibrant.

  • Dan Rosenbaum

    Usually bad form to correct anyone on a name of a city that people use. San Francisco, San Fran, SFO and ‘Frisco all mean the same thing. No needs to be corrected about the city they love.

  • Clippyt

    This sounds like gentrifying propaganda. This article states that the area consisted of “luxury hotels, theaters etc.”, which paints the district as an upper class entertainment area of vice; when in fact the “luxury hotels” were actually Single Room Occupancy (SROs) hotels where working class laborers commonly stayed for long periods of time during economic booms. It should also be noted that the entertainment venues were actually affordable venues (movie houses, saloons etc.), and they were actually common in many cities; in fact you can see a second entertainment area of theaters along Mission Street. The theaters were for working class folks, which is evident in the fact that the Tenderloin area houses the only Irish bank in the City, away from the discriminating banks in the Financial District (read the story of the Bank of Italy to familiarize yourself with the banking history of the City). The Mission also had similar entertainment venues that are now also unterutilized because of the decline of this form of entertainment. In contrast, the Paramount Theater in Oakland was designed to be a grander theater for the suburbanites coming home on the trolley lines. Yes, the Tenderloin area was once a thriving center, but not in the way that this graphic tries to portray. Further, it declined because the working poor left the City with the decline of certain industries. Finally, many of the SROs were declared historic places because it helped preserve much needed housing for the remaining less fortunate folks in the area.   

  • Dave, Zengage Editor


    Thanks for the feedback. We’re really interested, and invested, in revitalizing the Tenderloin. We probably won’t escape the gentrification stigma, but we’d certainly like it to be a safer place–whatever that’s called. Please let me know if you have any info that you’d like us to post or would like to write some posts yourself.

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  • Duke Kim

    I love these random blogs.  So unexpected from a “ticketing” software company.  I stayed in the Tenderloin last year for the Faith No More concert at the Warfield.  I didn’t think it was that rough.  Enjoy the new digs!

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Thanks! We’re loving our new spot!

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    Great! We’re always looking for a new watering hole! Let us know when you open and we’ll stop by for a drink.

  • Dave, Zengage Editor

    It’s because that’s when the neighborhood officially became designated as the Tenderloin. During the 1906 earthquake, the section of San Francisco is the Tenderloin today had been decimated. It wasn’t until 1913 that the boundaries that make the Tenderloin today were formalized. You can read more here if you’re interested: