Diamond Hotel

Ellis-&-Mason

“Ellis and Mason” (2007)

(331/1) 201–225 Ellis Street; Diamond Hotel (1982). First occupants: “cigar store, boot black stand, saloon, and two stores.” Stores and rooming house with twenty-five rooms and eleven baths; 3B stories; brick structure; decorative brickwork with marble inlay, galvanized iron belt course and cornice; two-part vertical composition; lobby: stair landing with board and batten wainscoting; alterations: vestibule remodeled. Original owners: Fitel-Phillips Company. Architect: Smith O’Brien. 1910.

Here photographed at one of my favorite times of day, the Diamond Hotel was built on the site of the Haymarket Dance Hall run by Jerome Bassity, the “uncrowned king of the Tenderloin” and one of the more unsavory characters in Tenderloin history. Bassity would lure girls to a place that he co-owned in Sacramento, where they were broken into prostitution and then returned to San Francisco to be “turned out” in a parlor house run by his girlfriend Stella Hayes. When the building pictured here first opened in 1910, Bassity ran a gambling den in the basement that he slyly named the Thirty-third Assembly District Club. The San Francisco Chronicle was fond of pointing out that whenever the San Francisco Police Department raided neighborhood gambling establishments, they always managed to overlook Bassity’s “club.”

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