When you hear the word “Fillmore,” do you think of President Millard Fillmore, Ella Fitzgerald or Janis Joplin? Fillmore Street in San Francisco was named after the 13th president of the USA, who served from 1850-1853. In the 1960s, Janis Joplin performed at the Fillmore Auditorium that was at the corner of Geary Boulevard and Fillmore Street.
And in the 1940s and 1950s, the Fillmore neighborhood was known as “Harlem of the West,” a national center for jazz performed by the greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong and Charlie Parker. Ms. Fitzgerald came to the City regularly. Here she is performing at the Fairmont Hotel in 1968.
Fillmore Street used to be filled with nightclubs. In the 1990s, the area was designated as the “Historic Fillmore Jazz Preservation District.” And now, for the first time since 1980 when Davies Symphony Hall had a grand opening, San Francisco will celebrate the creation of a new performance venue called the SFJazz Center.
Built at the corner of Franklin and Fell Streets, this is the first “stand-alone” building in the USA dedicated to jazz. The SFJazz organization has been producing performances for 30 years in a variety of venues. “The three-story Center comprises 35,000 square feet in a transparent, LEED Certified structure featuring the state-of-the-art Robert N. Miner auditorium adjustable from 350 to 700 seats, the 80-seat multi-purpose ensemble room, rehearsal spaces, digital learning lab, café at sidewalk level, ground floor lobby, retail shop, box office, and SFJAZZ administrative offices,” according to Randall Kline, the founder and Executive Artistic Director of SFJAZZ . He added, “After 30 years of presenting music in a variety of rented venues throughout the Bay, it is with great joy we announce our first season in our new home, the SFJAZZ Center.” The grand opening is on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 21, 2013.