San Francisco Landmarks
This building has been home to a working-class neighborhood bar for nearly 130 years with fifty-three of those years as Sam Jordan's Bar.
Sam Jordan was an African American Navy veteran who arrived in San Francisco directly after World War II. After a decade spent working as a longshoreman, boxing in the Golden Gloves league, and initiating a variety of entrepreneurial business activities, Jordan purchased this property, renovated it and reopened it in 1959 as Sam Jordan's Tavern.
The bar quickly became a gathering place for the neighborhood's African American working class. Jordan and his bar fostered activities that strengthened the Bayview neighborhood, ranging from scholarship drives and evenings highlighting local musicians to African American businessmen's luncheons and political brainstorming sessions.
In 1963, Sam Jordan became the first African American to run for mayor of San Francisco; his platform emphasized equality, civil rights and the rights of the working class.
Sam Jordan lived here from 1959 until his retirement in 1995. By the time of his death in 2003, he was known as the Mayor of Butchertown in reference to the neighborhood's former industry.
When we photographed the building in December of 2015, it was owned and operated by the Jordan family.
Source: Adapted from San Francisco Landmark Designation Initiation, Case Number 2011.0681L, 20 June 2012