There’s a certain breed of “self respecting” San Franciscan who believes — and constantly vocalizes — that it’s absolutely unacceptable to refer to the city by the bay as Frisco. 

Most famously, British immigrant Joshua Norton once declared himself the emperor of San Francisco, and tried to ban the use of the word in 1872. Roughly a century later, Herb Caen denounced Frisco during his heralded time as a San Francisco Chronicle columnist, and, in 1953, published a book titled “Don’t Call It Frisco.” And in perhaps the oddest of anti-Frisco incidents, two fugitives were arrested in Berkeley in 1995 when they told police officers they were from Frisco. The officers said they were suspicious since “no one from here ever says that.”

A collective notion still remains that Frisco is an unsuitable identifier. In 2018, a poll found that 63.5% of San Franciscans outright reject the use of the word. Last month, a new round of Frisco discourse kicked off after a photo of a “San Fran” Giants jerseys went viral, launching a broader social media debate about other controversial Bay Area terminology. San Francisco Chronicle columnist Peter Hartlaub — who tweeted the photo in question — wrote a dope historical essay about the evolution of “Frisco” in response to the furor. (SFGATE and the San Francisco Chronicle are both owned by Hearst but operate independently of one another.)


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