UPDATE: San Francisco Marriage Rights pioneer and political activist, Del Martin passed away Wednesday at UCSF Hospice. Martin was wed to her partner of 55 years, Phyllis Lyon at San Francisco City Hall on June 16th. The two were the first couple to be married after the California Supreme Court decision that gave gays and lesbians the right to marry. Del Martin was 87 years old.

Record Store, North Beach
North Beach is often referred to as San Francisco's favorite neighborhood. In fact the American Planning Association named it one of ten 'Great Neighborhoods in America' citing its authentic character. That character is maintained by the area's family-owned European cafes and restaurants, and the small bohemian shops of Upper Grant Avenue like the one pictured above.

While the neighborhood is generally associated with its prominent Italian community, the fact is North Beach has been a gateway for all immigrants. Chileans were one of the first to settle here followed by other immigrants from South America, Europe, and notoriously the Australian penal colonies. A survey conducted in 1880 recorded 17 different nationalities living on just one block of North Beach.

However over the years, and as new neighborhoods developed, most of the non-Italian immigrants dispersed; the Germans and French to Noe Valley and the Western Addition, and the Russians and Irish to Potrero Hill and the Mission. By 1910 the Italian-dominated North Beach was known as the Latin Quarter and later, Little Italy.
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