Mid-Market 2014, Part Five

IN PROGRESS. MORE TO FOLLOW SOON.

Contained within the Mid-Market area is the Market Street Theatre and Loft District, a National Register district listed in 1986. First identified in 1977 by Michael Corbett in Splendid Survivors, the district spans 982 to 1112 Market Street on the northwest side, including One Jones Street and 1-35 Taylor Street, and 973 to 1105 Market Street on the southeast side. Comprising the district are eight loft buildings, four office buildings, six theaters and one theater site, two hotels, a bank, a fraternal lodge, nine small commercial buildings, and two fine intersections. Twenty of the buildings are contributors, the rest are intrusions. Constructed for the most part between 1900 and 1926, the buildings manifest a singular visual harmony, known as The Commercial Style, with two- or three-part vertical composition, Renaissance-Baroque or other historicist ornamentation, and prominent cornices. The architecture looks like the rest of San Francisco’s post-fire downtown because the same architects and property owners were responsible.

The district’s true beginning took place in 1889, when Albert Pissis published his designs for the Hibernia Bank, the City’s earliest surviving Beaux-Arts building, in California Architect and Building News. Highly admired in the 1890s, widely copied after the Fire, the Hibernia Bank was the progenitor of San Francisco’s Beaux-Arts classicism. Perhaps more than any other structure, the Hibernia Bank was enormously influential in San Francisco’s rebuilding. Four of the district’s contributing buildings, the Hibernia Bank (1889-1892) and the Wilson (1900), Hale Brothers (1900) and Grant (1902) buildings, are in varying degree survivors of the 1906 earthquake and fire. These four facades share the design qualities of the district and all of post-fire downtown, showing that foresight and preparation for San Francisco’s post-fire City Beautiful-inspired architecture were developed in the six to sixteen years beforehand. Of the district’s twenty contributing buildings, twelve were constructed between 1906 and 1913. Between 1920 and 1926, four more buildings were added, three of them theaters: the Golden Gate (1922), Loew’s Warfield (1922), and the Egyptian (1924).

Theater & Lofts

“Theater and Lofts” (2014)

Pictured here are Weinstein’s Department Store (blue facade), Sterling Furniture Company, the remains of the Forrest Building (Kaplan’s), the Ede Building, Globe Building, and the Egyptian Theatre. The present-day two-story building of relatively modern appearance, known only as Kaplan’s Surplus in recent years, is all that remains of the 1908 Forrest Building, a fine seven-story loft building heavily damaged in a six-alarm arson fire that also damaged the Sterling Building next door on 4 January 1979. While the Sterling Building was repaired, Kaplan’s, the owner-occupant of the Forrest Building both before and after the fire, sadly decided to demolish and not restore, leaving only a pathetic two-story remnant. Now that Kaplan’s has closed up shop forever, the building will be razed and replaced by market rate, high-rise condominiums.

Forrest Bldg_Humbert

“Forrest Building Restored” (2014, Mike Humbert)

My friend Mike Humbert, who is as obsessed with Market Street’s history as I, with great patience created this image showing the Forrest Building, unabbreviated, on present day Market Street. Heartbreaking, is it not? Michael Corbett likened the original facade to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Luxfer Project.

Imperial Theatre

“Imperial Theatre” (2014)

Due to extensive alterations over the years, the Imperial Theater numbers among the district’s intrusions and therefore lacks the protections afforded to buildings with historic status. Predictably, the building’s owners have decided to raze and not restore because high-rise condominiums will be far more profitable. Or so they hope. Sooner or later, the tech bubble will burst and with it the housing bubble. In the meantime, San Francisco is erasing its history at an unprecedented rate.

Federal Hotel

“Federal Hotel” (2014)

Grant Building

“Grant Building” (2014)

Prager's

“Prager’s Department Store” (2014)

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End of the Line (?)

My work as photographer and documentarian may well be coming to an end. At the end of this month, one hundred twenty dollars is due for Adobe Cloud. As I am unable to pay it, I will no longer be able to edit and process the many photos I have already taken. If you think my work is worth continuing, perhaps you would like to help. Any donations to my PayPal account (tobemarx@gmail.com) would be gratefully accepted.

UPDATE: Deepest thanks to all my followers who pitched in to help me. I now have enough to pay my Adobe bill and recover my cameras. I love you all!

Leaving Castro Station

“Leaving Castro Station” (2014)

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Ruined or Not

Despite my efforts to rise above emotion and speak evenly and objectively, I am learning that my last post was in fact toxic; the truth, but crippling to my own best interests. Crippling or not, I am just too worn down to rectify it. Life refuses to slacken, so in case you are wondering why I seem to be giving up, I have been hammered by a variety of serious health problems for a couple of years. The daily stress of living in poverty has also taken a heavy toll. I am drained, used up, not giving up.

Tivoli Ruins01_1906
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Ruins of the Tivoli Opera House, 1906

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City of the Future Present

Saint Ann's Valley

“Saint Ann’s Valley” (2012)

The future we have created is far more horrid than any nightmare scenario we dreamed in the last century. In recent years, life in San Francisco has become radicalized in the most unpleasant ways. For all the City’s braggadocio, it no longer supports or even cares about the people who for many years made it such a special place. San Francisco has embraced corporatism and rejected culture, becoming in the process a city of the living dead.

I can no longer sell prints to save my soul. All my gear is collateral for a loan, thus changes to the central city have gone undocumented for months. One by one, my sponsors have discontinued their monthly subscriptions without explanation. Chief among them was Zendesk, the company that bought and restored at great cost the Eastern Outfitting Company building on Market Street. The amount of their subscription was pocket change to anyone who works there. For me, it meant sustenance for a week. Forced to choose between necessities, I generally elect to pay monthly bills for software, utilities and medication instead of buying food, all the while sinking ever deeper into a financial hole.

Market and Golden Gate

“Market and Golden Gate” (2014) “Let There Be” marks the Eastern Outfitting Company building, new home of Zendesk.

Struggling for miserable survival in the midst of plenty is not a life. It is constant torment and a harrowing, drawn-out demise. Intermittent lip service to the plight of artists is background noise, an irritant, nothing more. Else-wise, the silence has been deafening. Played out, worn down by age and failing health, limited resources depleted, it seems as though all my work has been for nothing. Those who may have wondered about my posts becoming so sporadic now know the reason.

Razing Saint Francis

“Razing Saint Francis” (2013)

If it so happens that you are enjoying the spectacle of my crack-up, please be sure to let me know. Even morbid appreciation is gratifying. Conversely, I will thank you to keep empty, bleeding-heart reassurances to yourselves. Hollow words serve only to annoy.

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