Alamo Square, nestled in the heart of San Francisco, has long been cherished for its iconic "Painted Ladies" Victorian houses, the breathtaking skyline, and the rich history that surrounds it. However, the park's beauty is not the only thing that makes this neighborhood special. It's the people who have dedicated their lives to preserving its charm and character, such as the late Joe Pecora. We are delighted to announce the installation of the Joe Pecora Memorial Bench, a tribute to a man who played an instrumental role in the neighborhood's preservation.
About Joe Pecora
For over half a century, Joe Pecora was not just a resident of Alamo Square; he was a neighborhood champion, a local historian, and a central figure in the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association (ASNA) and the Victorian Alliance of San Francisco (VASF). More importantly, Joe was known for his unassuming kindness and a truly generous spirit that touched the lives of everyone he met.
In 1979, Joe embarked on a mission that would change the course of Alamo Square's history. He purchased a dilapidated Victorian house near Alamo Square, one that was slated for "urban renewal" and demolition. With the determination that would become his hallmark, Joe and his neighbors rallied against the Redevelopment Agency, successfully saving the neighborhood's cherished Victorian homes from the wrecking ball. Today, thanks in no small part to Joe's tireless efforts, Alamo Square stands as a renowned historic district, a worldwide tourist attraction, and a genuine San Francisco treasure.
Joe was a key member of the Alamo Square Neighborhood Association and played a pivotal role in establishing the Alamo Square Historic District. He became our local historian, diving into the neighborhood's rich history and documenting it meticulously. This passion culminated in his book, "The Storied Houses of Alamo Square," a treasure trove of information on the architects, builders, and residents of the neighborhood's homes, as well as the local lore that surrounds them. Joe's book is cherished by countless lovers of Victorian architecture and local history.
Beyond Alamo Square, Joe was an active member of other local and national organizations, including the Victorian Alliance, the Decorative Arts Forum, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. He was not just a neighborhood hero; he was a preservationist on a grander scale.
Joe was also renowned as a generous host. Every year, he opened the doors of his beautifully restored home to a multitude of friends. Those fortunate enough to attend his annual gatherings were greeted by a home filled with love and warmth, especially during Christmas when every room was adorned with holiday trees, their branches weighed down with priceless antique ornaments.
The Joe Pecora Memorial Bench
As a testament to Joe Pecora's legacy and the love he had for this neighborhood, we are proud to announce the installation of the Joe Pecora Memorial Bench at Alamo Square. Placed at the Steiner and Grove street entrance, the bench faces east in the direction of the Painted Ladies, the beautiful homes Joe cherished so much. It will serve as a place for visitors and residents to pause, reflect, and enjoy the remarkable surroundings he worked tirelessly to preserve.
Fulfilling a Vision
The campaign to make the Joe Pecora Memorial Bench a reality was one of the final priorities spearheaded by Jason Jervis, the former ASNA President (2018-2022) . With a fundraising goal of $7,000, the community came together to not only pay for the bench but also to organize a memorial reception and enhance the area with additional plants as needed, further beautifying the space Joe held dear.
Joe Pecora's legacy lives on in Alamo Square, and the Joe Pecora Memorial Bench is a physical reminder of his unwavering dedication to preserving the beauty and history of this unique neighborhood. We invite everyone to come and visit the bench, take a moment to enjoy the surroundings, and remember the man who made it all possible.
We hope the Joe Pecora Memorial Bench will stand as a lasting tribute to Joe's extraordinary contributions to our community and inspire future generations to continue his mission of preservation and community building in Alamo Square.