Period Piece: Palou Avenue

A wedding celebration presided over by the statue of Francisco Palou.

Guardian history writer Lucy Schiller is exploring the city street-by-street in the slow week inter-holiday weekends. Today, learn about Junipero Serra's right-hand man who now has a Bayview street named after him. Click here for yesterday's installment on Laguna and McAllister Streets.


Palou Avenue

Named for Fray Francisco Palou, Franciscan padre, explorer, biographer

Francisco Palou (1723-1789) was an agent of Spanish colonialism and the right-hand man of Junipero Serra, another San Francisco street namesake. At one point, Palou singlehandedly controlled the operations of all the Baja California missions. After a few years he moved northward with his teacher and mentor Serra. Palou was also responsible for baptizing the first Ohlone Indian, founding Mission Dolores, and establishing the Presidio. His recounting of the Franciscans’ travels throughout California is regarded as a crucial primary source. The street named for Palou runs from Hunter’s Point to the Western reaches of Bayview. 



And more interesting is that Palou was not the first name chosen after the 1906 for the street. They were going to name the street for Thomas Paine ( of the American revolution.) But the catholic church raise a fight because they called Paine an atheist. The local Priest fought and changed a lot of the Bayview street name which was then called South San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 01, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

I think you you mean the Statue of Francisco Palou not the priest in the photo next to the newlyweds. Photography wasn't around during Fray Francisco Palou's lifetime.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 30, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

We've clarified the caption above!

Posted by caitlin on Jan. 03, 2012 @ 9:58 am