It’s official: Hollywood is no longer California’s only home to a giant iconic hillside welcome sign.
Coasting northbound on Highway 101 in San Francisco, you can now spot seven jumbo letters that spell out “Bayview” and serve as the neighborhood’s gateway.
What’s unique about this installation is that it was built by Bayview’s own community members.
“Most of the people who live in the Bayview District work one, two, three jobs and have families,” said Marsha Maloof, president of the Bayview Hill Neighborhood Association (BHNA). “So we wanted to make sure their hard work was reflected in this project.”
Each letter in the Bayview Gateway mural—located at the intersection of 3rd Street and Meade Avenue—features colorful mosaics built from donated artifacts and recycled ceramics sourced from Bayview households.
Public Glass, a non-profit glassblowing studio, helped break up the donated pottery, dishes and tiles and enlisted the assistance of seniors at the Dr. George W. Davis Senior Center and public school students to place the mosaics on the letters.
“It’s kind of like a time capsule,” said Public Glass founder Nate Watson. “We’re mining the material from the neighborhood and then putting it at the entrance to Bayview.”
Maloof told Here/Say that the Bayview Gateway’s path to completion began in 2016 as a joint endeavor involving municipal agencies and private partners such as Caltrans, which gave the property to the city and HOK, the architecture firm that assisted in visualizing the project.
Other municipal departments, including San Francisco Public Works, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and the San Francisco Planning Department also contributed significantly to the Bayview Gateway’s success.
Additionally, the Bayview Gateway came with a hefty price tag of more than $600,000.
Grants and contributions enabled the BHNA to hold an unveiling of the letters on Aug. 14, but according to Maloof, there are still final touches that must be added to complete the project, which she expects will cost about $10,000 more.
“We want to make sure that we finish the project in a sustainable way,” said Maloof.
Additional landscaping around the letters is in the works, including the planting of laurel trees, native plants and herbs. Some fencing will also be installed around the site’s border, which Maloof says will hopefully encourage safer speeds of cars coming off the freeway.
Finally, Maloof wants to raise money for signage around the mural “that actually walks people through the process of how this came to be,” she said.
“We want to have this part of the city be as robust and as wonderful as the rest of the city,” Maloof added. “We want to make sure that this legacy isn’t lost from the African Americans who were here, as well as the Native American Miwok that first settled here, and make sure that the people who live here have the best quality of life.”
Video by Jesse Rogala and Mike Kuba.