Tag Archives: blade sign

Hotel Hurley

Hurley-

“Hurley” (2004)

(337/6) 201-219 Leavenworth Street; Kenyon Hotel (1916), Hotel DeWalt, Hotel Hurley (1982). 6B stories; steel frame and reinforced brick structure; five-story galvanized iron bay windows, balconies and cornice; three-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: tile floor, paneled walls, cornice molding; storefronts: transoms mostly intact including prism glass on Turk Street; marquee, neon blade sign at corner: “Hotel Hurley”. Alterations: security gate and grilles, storefronts remodeled below transoms. Original owner: W.F. Roeder, wine and liquor markets. Engineer: Albert W. Burgren. 1914.

Both singular and spooky, the dark-violet neon tubing of the Hurley’s blade sign is somewhat difficult to read from down the street, but it complements the sepulchral colors of the building very nicely.

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Unit Block Turk Street

Turk-&-Taylor-

“Turk and Taylor” (2007 Survey)

(340/12) 108-120 Taylor Street; St. Ann Hotel, Hotel Lennox, Bard Hotel, Notel Winfield, Hotel Warfield (1923). 1907.

(340/11) 76-80 Turk Street; Gaiety Theater, San Francisco Dollhouse. Stores and loft converted to theater. 2B stories; reinforced concrete with stucco facade and cast ornament; pilasters and pointed arches in second level; two-part commercial block composition; Gothic ornamentation; horizontal blade sign. Alterations: storefronts remodeled, decorative griffins and parapet removed. Original owner: H.B. Allen. Architect: Earl B. Bertz. 1922.

(340/10) 66-74 Turk Street; Hotel Taylor, Hotel Thames, Dahlia Hotel. 1907. Rooming house with seventy rooms and eighteen baths. 4B stories; brick structure; buff brick with darker brick trim, galvanized iron cornice; two-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: decorative arched entry with terrazzo floor; lobby: stair landing with wood paneling and cornice molding; blade sign. Alterations: one aluminum window, storefronts remodeled. Original owner: Margaret McCormick. Architect: Norman R. Coulter. 1907.

(340/9); Hotel Schwartz 1911, Hotel Tynan, Aranda Hotel. Rooming house with 123 rooms and thirty-eight baths, dining room. 6B stories; reinforced concrete structure; brick facade with imitation stone and cast cement on second level, galvanized iron trim including angled bay windows culminating in bracketed segmental arches and cornice, blue glazed tile base; two-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; lobby: ceiling beam and moldings intact. Alterations: aluminum windows, half ground floor remodeled. Original owner: Jacob Schwartz, owner of North German Hotel. Architects: George Streshly and Company. 1911.

(340/8) 50 Turk Street; Hotel Brayton, Winston Arms. Mid-priced hotel with forty-two two-room and bath suites. 7B stories; brick structure; galvanized iron cornice; three-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; lobby: not accessible. Alterations: aluminum windows, building vacant and boarded up, string course stripped. Original owners: Zellerbach & Levison (individuals associated with Zellerbach Paper Company). Architect: Absalom J. Barnett. 1913.

(340/7) 34-48 Turk Street; Hotel Dale (1910), Dalt Hotel (1984-2007). 1910.

(340/4) 2-16 Turk Street; Glenn Hotel, State Hotel, Oxford Hotel, Hotel Metropolis. 1911.

On the corner of Taylor and Turk is the 21 Club, a bar of local repute and one of the very few old Tenderloin establishments still in business. The Doll House was formerly the Gayety (later the Gaiety) Theater.

Turk-&-Market_1944
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Turk near Market, 1944.

Gayety-Theater_1964-
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library (Photo: Alan J. Canterbury)

Gayety Theater, 1964.

Turk-Street_1982-
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library (Photo: Larry Moon)

Turk Street east of Taylor, 1982. The sex industry that was once prevalent in the lower Tenderloin has in recent years largely disappeared. None of the businesses seen in these ’80s-era photos now remain.

Turk-&-Taylor_1982-
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library (Photo: Larry Moon)

Turk Street west of Taylor, 1982.

Dahlia

“Dahlia” (2003)

(340/10) 66-74 Turk Street; Hotel Taylor, Hotel Thames, Dahlia Hotel. 1907.

Much of the Tenderloin’s history is embodied by its blade signs. Inasmuch as they are links to the City’s time line, their removal diminishes our understanding and appreciation of the past. Though time-worn and neglected, the Dahlia’s sign was a nexus to days gone by—now gone forever.

Dahlia Hotel_1937
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Dahlia Hotel, 1937. Newscopy: “When hotel men tried to get the Dahlia Hotel at 74 Turk Street closed, they said it was a vice resort with ten girls. Mayor Rossi’s secretary said: ‘You run your hotels and we’ll run the rest.’”

Turk-Street_1944
Source: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library

Unit Block Turk Street, 1944.

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Elk and Eddy Hotels

Elk-Hotel-

“Elk Hotel” (2011)

(740/13) 670-678 Eddy Street; Hotel Revere (1911), Burbank Hotel, Elk Hotel (1923). Stores and rooming house with ninety-eight rooms and thirty-six baths, one store occupied as glazing works by 1923. 4B stories; brick structure; arcaded top story, keystones, galvanized iron cornice; three-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: paneled walls and ceiling, entry through arch order; lobby: paneled wainscoting; signs: neon blade sign “Elk Hotel”. Alterations: security gate, storefronts. Original owner: Harris Shemanski. Architect: Ross and Burgren. 1907.

Eddy-Hotel-

“Eddy Hotel” (2011)

(740/10) 640-646 Eddy Street; Adeline Hotel Apartments, Olympic Apartments, Eddy Hotel. Rooming house with eighty rooms and twelve baths. 3B stories; brick structure; decorative brickwork quoins, flat arches, and keystones, galvanized iron cornice; two-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: terrazzo steps and tile landings, marble wainscoting, oval ceiling molding, leaded glass transom; lobby: pilaster order; storefront: display windows with transoms. Alterations: security gate and grilles, aluminum windows. Original owner: Adeline Hasshagen, widow. Architect: Arthur T. Ehrenpfort. 1907.

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Building Ads and Wall Paintings

Warfield Hotel

“Hotel Warfield” (2003)

(340/12) 108-120 Taylor Street; St. Ann Hotel, Hotel Lennox, Bard Hotel, Notel Winfield, Hotel Warfield (1923). Stores and rooming house with seventy-three rooms and thirty-seven baths. 4B stories; brick structure; belt courses, cornice, flat arches with lintels; three-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; vestibule: Ionic order frames entry; storefronts: arched transoms intact; alterations: storefronts, security gate, vestibule. Well-known old Tenderloin bar 21 Club here at 98 Turk Street. Original owners: Aaron and Henry M. Englander, drayage and warehouse. Architects: Ross and Burgren. 1907.

Old signs and painted advertisements had a simple and engaging way of communicating. The parking sign invites one in, its lovely curved arrow pointing the way, and the Par-T-Pak ad for mixers is direct and to the point. Regrettably, the parking sign no longer exists.

Update, 22 Nov 11: “Running Roughshod Over History”

Rooms

“Rooms” (2003)

(339/5) 124-126 Turk Street; Hotel Portola, Marathon Hotel, Lowell Hotel, Argue Hotel, Camelot Hotel. Rooming house with fifty-seven rooms and thirty-two baths; 6B stories; faded painted sign on upper west wall for “. . . Hotel Portola . . . Rooms . . .”. Alterations: windows replaced with aluminum and all ornament and finishes except decorative iron fire escape on facade altered since 1983. Architect: Albert Farr. 1907.

Another piece of vanished urban landscape is this century-old sign advertising rooms at the Hotel Portola (now the Camelot), which could be seen across a parking lot on Taylor Street between the Taylor Street Center and the Franciscan Towers. Two years after I took this picture, the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation built the eight-story Curran House on the site of the parking lot. Though no longer visible from the street, the rear wall of the Camelot and the side of the Drake Hotel now form the back of a courtyard for the Curran.

Curran-Courtyard

“Curran Courtyard” (2007)

Under-Lowering-Skies

“Under Lowering Skies” (2003)

(339/9) 162-166 Turk Street; El Rosa Hotel, Helen Hotel (1985). Rooming house with 30 rooms and 3 baths; 3B stories: brick structure; lobby: stair landing with blue and gold tile floor and simple moldings; painted signs on west side wall include “El Rosa Hotel . . . Transient Rooms”. Alterations: facade stripped. Original owner: O.F. von Rhein. Architect: C.A. Meussdorffer. 1906.

Advertisement

“Advertisement” (2003)

162-166 Turk Street; Helen Hotel.

Old painted advertisements are a part of the central city landscape that I especially love, both for their visual impact and their historical significance.

Shawmut-

“Shawmut” (2003)

(318/7) 502-530 O’Farrell Street; Hotel Shawmut, Marymount Hotel (1913), Coast Hotel (2007). 1912.

If you look up from Jones Street at the back of what is now the Coast Hotel, you’ll find this lovely fading relic of a time gone by. Shawmut is the original Native American name for the neck of land on which the city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded. Anglicized, the word has also come to mean spring. The Shawmut was so named because many of its rooms have private baths, something of a luxury at the time the hotel was built.

Zubelda

“Zubelda” (2007)

(693/6) 900-914 Geary Street; Hotel Toronto, Wesley Hotel, Leahi Hotel, California Hotel. Stores and rooming house with forty-one rooms and eight baths; 3B stories; brick structure; stucco facade, window moldings, galvanized iron cornice; 2-part vertical composition; Renaissance/Baroque ornamentation; storefront: prism glass transom over storefront on Larkin; signs: blade sign with neon removed on Larkin Street. Alterations: security gate, remodeled storefronts and vestibule, aluminum sash. Original owner and architect unknown. 1909.

While working on the 2007 survey, I photographed another painted advertisement, one that has weathered the ravages of time quite well when you consider that it’s a hundred years old. There are many more building ads in the Tenderloin than the ones shown here, and many are covered by photographs in my other posts (refer to “building ad” tag).

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