Drake Hotel


“Hotel Drake” (2011)

(339/16), 233-237 Eddy Street; Eddy Hotel (1911-1923), Hotel Glynn, Hotel Drake (1984). Rooming house with sixty rooms and twenty-six baths. 3B stories; brick structure with stucco facade; pilaster order, enframed windows with keystones; two-part commercial composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule with tile floor, cornice molding; lobby: desk lobby with cornice molding. Alterations: storefronts partly remodeled, currently boarded-up; marquee remodeled, security gate. Original owner: Henry Kahn, dry goods. Architect: Arthur H. Lamb. 1906.

Frank Capra, the great American director of populist movies such as Meet John Doe (1941) and It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), lived at the Drake (then named the Eddy) Hotel in 1921, the year he directed his first film, Fultah Fisher’s Boarding House. In his 1971 autobiography, Capra claims he bluffed his way into directing this short feature out of poverty-stricken desperation.

Source: San Francisco History Center, S.F. Public Library

Eddy Street west of Taylor, 1944. The three-story building center left is the Drake Hotel, then named the Hotel Glynn; nearest on the right are the Windsor, Olympic, and Ritz hotels. Adjacent to the Windsor is the Downtown Bowling Alley that was demolished in the mid-80s and supplanted by Boeddeker Park.

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