Castro Street forms the backbone of San Francisco’s Castro District, the focal point of the city’s LGBT community. San Francisco had begun to develop a substantial gay population starting in World War II. The city was home to the major west coast port of the U.S. Navy. Thus, when service members were found to be gay, which was not allowed in the military at the time, they would be discharged from the service and left in San Francisco. Many such stranded sailors chose to remain in the city rather than return to their previous homes. Over time, they would congregate in the Haight–Ashbury district, drawn in by the neighborhood’s counterculture, free love, and communal living.
As Haight-Ashbury began drawing in residents from all over the country, however, the gay residents relocated to the nearby Castro District instead. Once a generic middle-class neighborhood, the construction of the suburbs had resulted in flight from the city that left much of the district vacant and rents cheap. The Castro’s reputation as a center of the LGBT movement was solidified by the rise of Harvey Milk. The self-styled “Mayor of Castro Street”, he was the first openly gay man elected to public office in the United States when he won a spot on the city’s Board of Supervisors in 1977.
Our Castro Street sign is a precise replica of those posted along this famous street. It follows the 1965 specification for San Francisco street signs that was in use at the time the Castro District first rose to prominence. This iconic style features all-caps lettering, using the standard road sign fonts, in black on a white background. Above the street name is the block number 400. This block number is the intersection with Market Street, the north end of the district’s core.
Our Castro Street sign is printed on heavy 14-gauge steel. It’s durable enough to take a beating for years, indoors or outdoors. It’s available in three sizes: the 36-by-12 size you’ll find posted along Castro Street, or one of our two convenient scaled-down versions, 30 by 10 or 21 by 7. We can also make this sign either single- or double-sided. A complementary legend is printed on each side; just like on the originals, the arrows point in the same direction. Pre-drilled holes for easy mounting are also included.
We can make any combination of street sign and block number from San Francisco you might want! We can also make the newer 2009 style (with upper-and-lowercase text) as well as the older 1946 style with the block letters. And we can make street signs from other cities too! To place your order, all you have to do is contact Jake to get started!