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County Jail - Ocean and Phelan Avenues

Ocean Avenue Jail

For decades, San Francisco County incarcerated prisoners in the old Ingleside Jail near Ocean and Phelan on the "House of Refuge lot", where City College now stands. A youth correctional "school" and then a women's jail went up first, with the men's 400-bed facility coming later.

As you might expect for the times, the jails were not terribly comfortable. In 1908, reformers protested that paired-up prisoners shared cells just 6 feet long, 4-and-a-half feet wide, and 6'6" high. The city graft trials in the aftermath of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire found a number of prominent San Franciscan politicians, including the Mayor, spending time at the old Ingleside Jail.

It wasn't until 1934, when a new facility opened in San Bruno, that the Ingleside Jail closed. The land was granted to City College in 1936, and CCSF began operations on the site in 1940.

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Image: Courtesy of Greg Gaar.

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This project is made possible by a grant from the CALIFORNIA COUNCIL FOR THE HUMANITIES with generous support from the San Francisco Foundation, as part of the Council's statewide California Stories Initiative. The COUNCIL is an independent non-profit organization and a state affiliate of the NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES. For more information on the Council and the California Stories Initiative, visit www.californiastories.org.

Page launched 29 June 2003; Updated 31 October 2003.

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