Fishermen's & Seamen's Memorial Chapel
Alessandro Baccari patterned his life after the Italian Renaissance, and his resume reflected it. He spent time as a city planner, research economist, radio broadcaster, political speechwriter, lecturer at San Francisco State, poet, painter, photographer, historian and author of two books.
Alessandro Mario Baccari Jr. was born July 18, 1928, at Mount Zion Hospital. His first years were spent in Marin and then the Marina. His family didn’t move to North Beach until he was 6, but he landed right in the middle of the action — in a flat above Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store at the crossroads of Union Street and Columbus Avenue.
His father, Alessandro Sr., was an artist and playwright who ran a photography studio out of Fugazi Hall, and Baccari grew up in the parish schools and was an altar boy at Sts. Peter and Paul Church. He lit the candles for the first wedding of the great Joe DiMaggio.
Starting at age 10, Baccari served in an official capacity for the Madonna del Lume celebration which memorializes anglers lost at sea. The procession, which ends with the Blessing of the Fleet never had a sanctuary until Baccari and his wife started a drive in 1979 to build the Fishermen’s and Seamen’s Memorial Chapel.
Located behind the fish processing plants, the chapel can be hard to find. It needed a navigation guide so Baccari raised $160,000 for a tower outfitted with an 1880s warning bell donated by the Port of San Francisco, and an electronic carillon. As a historian, civic leader, and member of the San Francisco community, both the Fisherman's Wharf and North Beach communities mourned over his death as the Fishermen's and Seamen's Memorial Chapel bell rang tribute to Baccari's life during his memorial.