The Sunset District encompasses the west-central section of the city, south of Golden Gate Park, and it’s the largest neighborhood in San Francisco. West of 19th Avenue is considered Outer Sunset and east is Inner Sunset. Some residents will also argue that the area between 19th Avenue and Sunset Boulevard is actually Central Sunset. The entire area is primarily residential with plenty of single-family homes housing long-time Sunset families and newcomers to the city. College students and surfers also make Sunset their home for its proximity to the beach and UCSF. In the summer months, this area is generally fogged over, but nothing can beat watching the actual sunset from Turtle Hill.
The Park and Ocean Railroad line along today’s Lincoln Way began bringing weekend revelers to Ocean Beach in 1883. What the passengers saw to the south was a rolling cold desert of sand. On some maps, the area was described as the "Great Sand Waste." This part of the Outside Lands was added to the city of San Francisco in 1866. An 1868 map created the grid pattern of streets we know today, but while speculators bought lots, until the twentieth century it was almost all undeveloped dunes.
Between the 1860s and the 1890s, the Inner Sunset had nothing but a few dairies, ranches, roadhouses, dynamite factories that kept exploding, and an early elementary school. On the west side of today's Golden Gate Heights hills, Carl Larsen had a chicken ranch, and members of the Green family planted eucalyptus trees in today’s Stern Grove. That was about it.
Although real estate investors such as Aurelius Buckingham and Sol Getz later tried to claim credit, the Sunset received its name in 1889, when the firm of Easton, Eldridge and Co. marketed land it was selling on the east side of Mount Sutro as "Sunset Heights."
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