The Dark Art of the Painted Lady

vic6

The Dark Art of the
Painted Lady

 

Throughout the city, florid gingerbread houses
are taking a monochrome turn.

 

Cole Valley and Noe Valley

(1 of 8)

Lower Haight and Castro

(2 of 8)

Mission and Noe Valley

(3 of 8)

Noe Valley and Marina

(4 of 8)

Mission and Russian Hill

(5 of 8)

Mission and Bernal Heights

(6 of 8)

Lower Haight and Cole Valley

(7 of 8)

Mission

(8 of 8)

Mission and Bernal Heights

 

 

Douglas Burnham of the design firm Envelope A+D is locally considered the godfather of dark Victorians. These days, you’ll spot them sporadically around the Bay—in Noe Valley, Jingletown, lower Pacific Heights—imposing obsidian beauties popping against their macaron-hued neighbors. But Burnham was the among the first to overthrow the prevailing Painted Lady, having painted the exterior of client Claire Bigbie’s traditional Clipper Street home a uniform blackish blue over five years ago. The original intent wasn’t to make the facade stand out (the Victorian’s whimsical trim “looked like roasted marshmallows on a stick,” Burnham remembers), but to disguise the molding with an inky finish, highlighting the texture instead.

vic4

Mission and Russian Hill

The idea came from the dark houses of Amsterdam, which Burnham had recently visited. “It’s not some freaky, haunted house kind of thing there,” Burnham says. “It’s classic and proper, like a tuxedo.” Since then, the dark lady of Clipper Street has spawned dozens of jet-black imitators, not only Victorians, but also storefronts, museums, restaurants, and condos. Within the local design community, there’s ongoing debate as to which monochrome hue will emerge as the new black—forest green, dark teal, and midnight blue are top bets. “I always envied Claire’s black gingerbread house, but now that it’s turning more mainstream, I’m thinking we’ll paint ours monochrome fuchsia,” says interior designer Alison Damonte. “Don’t tell my neighbors.” After all, the Gothic look “is like any great song,” says Burnham. “You hear it too much, you get sick of it.”

vic4Noe Valley and Marina


 

Emphasizing texture 

Why go to the dark side?

Lowering costs 
“It used to be that people were using 7 to 12 paint colors to make their houses look like wedding cakes,” says professional painter Jill French, cofounder of Heather and French painting. At $65 to $105 a gallon for high-end exterior paint, that gets pricey. “Now, we’re seeing more home owners sticking with one or two colors.”

Standing out 
“In a row of pastels, a dark house pops,” says architect Owen Kennerly of Kennerly Architecture & Planning. The trend coincides with a wave of younger Victorian buyers, says interior designer Melissa Guerrero. “They want to do something a little shocking.”

Camouflaging fussy trim 
“My house is kind of a shack Victorian,” jokes Damonte of her periwinkle—“not by choice!”—Bernal Heights home. “If we paint it black, everything we don’t like will go away.” Going monochrome allows unloved details to blend in.

Letting the light work for you 
On north-facing homes, “warm and pastel colors can look feckless” without sunlight to animate them, says Kennerly. A darker color—particularly one with some blue in it—will look rich even without direct light.

Minimizing spring cleaning 
In the city, grime builds up on the edges of Victorian trim. “When the rain comes, it oozes down the house in sheets of gray and catches in the caulking joints,” says Kennerly. That film is more obvious against pastel paint.

Mission and Noe Valley

Emphasizing texture 
“Going monochrome lets the three-dimensional quality of the Victorian ornamentation speak for itself,” says architect Casper Mork-Ulnes of Mork Ulnes architects. The trim comes together as a cohesive tapestry rather than candy-colored fragments.

Playing down size 
Bigger homes can seem less monolithic by going dark, says Guerrero. (Conversely, bright paint colors can make small homes appear larger.) Window glass looks dark from the outside, so a dark paint color unifies the volume of a house by downplaying contrast with the window openings.

Projecting style 
“Monochrome black paint has a certain elegance and sophistication, like an Armani suit,” says Kennerly. Many owners also see it as an expression of their own modernist sensibilities. “It’s kind of like pets—people want their house to reflect who they are,” says Burnham. “And in San Francisco, a lot of people wear all black.”

vic1

vic5


vic3

vic2-1

Lower Haight and Castro

House Swap: Five steps to transition from safe to striking.

1. Do your homework 
Burnham bought a can of black paint and a can of the darkest blue available, then mixed five versions in a spectrum. He and Bigbie had a custom formula made from the winning sample. Mork-Ulnes photoshopped a picture of his house with a series of gray-blue hues to choose the right one.

2. Invest in prep 
Proper priming and sanding are key. “Dark paint colors show a lot of flaws and make the wood more susceptible to blistering,” says French. Use elastomeric caulk and epoxy filler, especially on south-facing exposures, to protect the wood from expanding and contracting when it heats up.

vic7

Cole Valley and Noe Valley

3. Consider the pigment
Pick a paint with a high pigment ratio, which indicates a greater volume of solids. Benjamin Moore’s aura exterior paints are a designer-recommended choice for quality and longevity. The more sheen, the better—it gives the home better UV protection than a matte color. Stay away from hues on the yellow end of the spectrum, which are prone to fading.

Mission

4. Seal the color 
Top the paint with at least two finish coats to protect the color and the underlying wood.

5. Delay the fade 
A lighter color lasts 30 percent longer than a darker color—even more in sunny neighborhoods. (“We should start a colony of tiny black matchbox houses in the foggy Outer Richmond,” jokes Burnham.) Benjamin Moore recommends retouching paint on a southern exposure every three to five years—Bigbie repainted the south side of her clipper street residence after four. Annual power-washing can stretch the time between repaintings.


Lower Haight and Cole Valley

How much would it cost to repaint one of Alamo Square’s famed Painted Ladies dark? 
$15,000 to $25,000, says Philip Storey of RedHill Painting, which specializes in restoring historic Victorians. “That quote will depend on the condition of the home and its orientation to the sun,” he says. Some budget-minded clients opt to paint only the front facade, rather than the entire house. On a Painted Lady, that would run around $8,000 to $12,000.

 

 

The Dark Art of the Painted Lady.

 

 

 

1906 San Francisco is Smoldering

Originally posted on Burrito Justice:

via British Pathé:

I created a few panoramas out of the pans in the film.

One of the three fire engines destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire.

1906 SF pathe fire engine

@shamponian and the NYPL Labs pointed out this photo — is it the same one?

1906 sf fire engine crushed

180 degree slow pan which I stitched into a panorama. Residential area, street on a slope, with a cross street that looks more commercial. Where is this? Fillmore? Divisadero? The 1905 Sanborns will help. Haven’t found anything that’s a good fit yet though.

1906 SF quake Pathe intersection

Bingo! Matt comes through with Golden Gate and Steiner!

The homes you see at the start of the pan:

2012 golden gate and steiner homes

Note the three collapsed eaves of the streetcar barn d0wn Steiner.

1906 Golden Gate and Steiner

Google Maporama:

2012 golden gate and steiner

Another pan. Definitely a business district.

1906 SF quake Pathe intersection zoom

A 360 degree pan. South of Market?

1906 SF pathe pan downtown

View original

*|MC:SUBJECT|*

table.mcnFollowContent {width:100% !important;}

table.mcnShareContent {width:100% !important;}

 

 

 

This Sunday, come Explore San Francisco and create some wonderful Mother’s Day memories to last a long time.

Take Mom out for a food tour and a cruise on the Bay for only $64!
Choose any of these food tours:

  • North Beach at Night
  • Mission Vegetarian
  • Little Saigon
  • Mission District South (24th Street)
  • The Real Chinatown

Paired with a Bay Cruise on San Francisco Bay!


To make reservations or for more information, please call:415.504.3636 x 102 or email: reservations@exploresf.bizLimited number of spots available
Golden Gate Bay CruiseOperated by:

Red and White Fleet

Give her the fun day she deserves
While making memories to last a lifetime

Share
Tweet
Forward
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter
Twitter
Website
Website
Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Prague flower shop

Prague flower shop (Photo credit: jafsegal)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Asking 1 Million Dollars for a 1906 Earthquake Shack in Bernal Heights

Asking 1 Million Dollars for a 1906 Earthquake Shack in Bernal Heights.

Asking 1 Million Dollars for a 1906 Earthquake Shack in Bernal Heights

Buyers looking to own a piece of San Francisco history need look no further: 331 Prentiss Street, a former earthquake shack in Bernal Heights, has recently come to market at $1.15 million. The two-bedroom, two-bath house has undergone some major renovations, including a new foundation, new kitchen and new bathrooms, and is more than twice its original 550 square feet. But it still contains three of four “shack” walls, including its historic facade (though a window and wraparound porch have been added).

The home’s current owners say the structure originally built on the land burned down in the fires caused by the city’s famed 1906 earthquake. The displaced residents had to move into one of the “refugee shacks” built to provide housing in the aftermath of the quake. When the parkland refugee camps began closing in late 1907, the Prentiss property owners hauled two shacks (one of the larger 14′ x 18′ models and one of the smaller 10′ x 14′ cottages) back to their property and combined them together to create one home. As The Chronicle recently reported, almost all of the approximately 5,000 shacks built for quake refugees are now gone, but the largest concentration that remains can be found in Bernal Heights. (A few have also been found in the Sunset, Ocean View, Daly City and even Santa Cruz.)

The current owners of the Prentiss property kept the shape of the combined shacks and added traditional trim work to the new addition to maintain the look and feel of the historic home. A sense of history was also on the owners’ minds when creating their beadboard-backsplashed kitchen and traditional bathrooms with features like a clawfoot tub and subway tile. But the home has definitely been modernized with an open floor plan, overhauled plumbing and electrical systems, and double-paned windows. The backyard also underwent a transformation of its own, with the addition of a patio, eat-in solarium and private hot tub area.

Also transformed: the price. After the quake, refugees typically paid $2 a month toward the $50 cost for their shacks. But more than 100 years—and a  major renovation and expansion—later, the $891 per square foot asking price at 331 Prentiss is actually a bargainfor the neighborhood.

From SF GATE,

Emily Landes is a writer and editor who is obsessed with all things real estate. She also has a DIY problem that she blogs about at pritical.com

 

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Asking 1 Million Dollars for a 1906 Earthquake Shack in Bernal Heights

Buyers looking to own a piece of San Francisco history need look no further: 331 Prentiss Street, a former earthquake shack in Bernal Heights, has recently come to market at $1.15 million. The two-bedroom, two-bath house has undergone some major renovations, including a new foundation, new kitchen and new bathrooms, and is more than twice its original 550 square feet. But it still contains three of four “shack” walls, including its historic facade (though a window and wraparound porch have been added).

The home’s current owners say the structure originally built on the land burned down in the fires caused by the city’s famed 1906 earthquake. The displaced residents had to move into one of the “refugee shacks” built to provide housing in the aftermath of the quake. When the parkland refugee camps began closing in late 1907, the Prentiss property owners hauled two shacks (one of the larger 14′ x 18′ models and one of the smaller 10′ x 14′ cottages) back to their property and combined them together to create one home. As The Chronicle recently reported, almost all of the approximately 5,000 shacks built for quake refugees are now gone, but the largest concentration that remains can be found in Bernal Heights. (A few have also been found in the Sunset, Ocean View, Daly City and even Santa Cruz.)

The current owners of the Prentiss property kept the shape of the combined shacks and added traditional trim work to the new addition to maintain the look and feel of the historic home. A sense of history was also on the owners’ minds when creating their beadboard-backsplashed kitchen and traditional bathrooms with features like a clawfoot tub and subway tile. But the home has definitely been modernized with an open floor plan, overhauled plumbing and electrical systems, and double-paned windows. The backyard also underwent a transformation of its own, with the addition of a patio, eat-in solarium and private hot tub area.

Also transformed: the price. After the quake, refugees typically paid $2 a month toward the $50 cost for their shacks. But more than 100 years—and a  major renovation and expansion—later, the $891 per square foot asking price at 331 Prentiss is actually a bargainfor the neighborhood.

From SF GATE, 

Emily Landes is a writer and editor who is obsessed with all things real estate. She also has a DIY problem that she blogs about at pritical.com

 
 

 

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Ellis Acts

Board of Supervisors Makes Ellis Evictions More Costly for Landlords

The bill, written by Supervisor Campos, will increase relocation payouts to existing residents by around a factor of ten. 

 

 

Whether or not the use of the Ellis Act, which allows landlords to evict tenants when taking buildings off the rental market, is a prime driver of the housing affordability crisis is a difficult question to answer. But what’s more clear, according to tenant advocates and members of the Board of Supervisors, is the high toll that such evictions take on affected individuals—of which there were at least 216 last year

.Image

As part of ongoing efforts to roll back the worst of it, the Board last night passed a bill that would sharply increase the payment that landlords who invoke the Ellis Act are required to make to tenants. Prior to Supervisor Campos’s bill’s passage, landlords had been required to pay $5,261 per tenant.

Under the new law, relocation costs will increase to the difference between the tenant’s current rent and what the tenant would have to pay for a similar apartment  for two years. According to calculations by the City Controller’s Office, that amount could range from $44,000 for a longtime Mission resident to $47,000 for a Sunset renter.

The bill passed on a 9 to 2 vote, with Supervisors Mark Farrell and Katy Tang voting no. The Board also passed a bill by Supervisor Wiener that would allow the creation of in-law units, some of which would be rent controlled, in the Castro.

The move comes as a Sacramento committee passed State Senator Mark Leno’s bill, which would close what he calls a loophole in the state law that allows real estate speculators to invoke the act. 

It’s a political win for Campos, who is running for a seat in the State Assembly against Board President David Chiu. But will the Campos law cut down on the number of Ellis evictions? It seems hard to imagine that raising the disincentives for landlords won’t have an affect—or that it will hit small owners with less working capital—harder than large operations. 

 

exploresf:

Add your thoughts here… (optional)

Originally posted on Burrito Justice:

Our friends at the SF Planning Department have released a most awesome map of historic resources and historic districts in the southern Mission, including individual lots. Historic districts are marked with borders. (Thanks, Curbed SF.)

Nice clickable interface with lots to drill into.

Unfortunately, all the information is in a clickable map that you have to drill into.

So as a service to society I present you a “Know Your Trees” type article, with labeled, lettered list of the historic districts, sorted and colored by date, with pictures from their PDFs (which are awesome, so do check them out)

The links go to multipage SFP PDFs with much more information. Let’s begin:

A. Alabama Street Pioneers – 1865-1884

A rare grouping of pioneer-era cottages and houses located on a block that appears to have been settled according to an informal “frontier” (pre-suburban) development pattern: a…

View original 914 more words

Calendar

Calendar

San Francisco 1816

A. M. Robertson -> San Francsico One Hundred Years Ago …
San Francisco One Hundred Years Ago
Book Cover
Early on September 20, 1816 (old style, October 2), we came within sight of the coast of New California. The land we first saw was what is known as Point Reyes, to the north of San Francisco. As the wind was favourable we soon passed the Farallones, which are dangerous rocks, and at four in the afternoon we entered San Francisco harbour. The fort, which is within the entrance and on the south shore, is thoroughly equipped for defense. The presidio of San Francisco is about one marine mile from the fort and on the same side; it is square in form and has two gates which are constantly guarded by a considerable company of men. The buildings have windows on the side towards the interior court only. The presidio is occupied by ninety Spanish soldiers, a commandant, a lieutenant, a commissary, and a sergeant. Most of these are married. The men and women are tall and well built. Very few of the soldiers have married Indians. They are all good horsemen and two of them can easily cope with fifty natives.Two leagues to the southeast of the presidio and on the southern shore of the harbour is the Mission of San Francisco, which makes a fair-sized village. The mission church is large and is connected with the house of the missionaries, which is plain and reasonably clean and well kept. The mission always has a guard of three or four soldiers from the presidio. The village is inhabited by fifteen hundred Indians; there they are given protection, clothing, and an abundance of food. In return, they cultivate the land for the community. Corn, wheat, beans, peas, and potatoes – in a word, all kinds of produce – are to be found in the general warehouse. By authority of the superior, a general cooking of food takes place, at a given hour each day, in the large square in the middle of the village; each family comes there for its ration which is apportioned with regard to the number of its members. They are also given a certain quantity of raw provisions. Two or three families occupy the same house. In their free time, the Indians work in gardens that are given them; they raise therein onions, garlic, cantaloupes, watermelons, pumpkins, and fruit trees. The products belong to them and they can dispose of them as they see fit.

In winter, hands of Indians come from the mountains to be admitted to the mission, but the greater part of them leave in the spring. They do not like the life at the mission. They find it irksome to work continually and to have everything supplied to them in abundance. In their mountains, they live a free and independent, albeit a miserable, existence. Rats, insects, and snakes, – all these serve them for food; roots also, although there are few that are edible, so that at every step they are almost certain to find something to appease their hunger. They are too unskillful and lazy to hunt. They have no fixed dwellings; a rock or a bush affords sufficient protection for them from every vicissitude of the weather. After several months spent in the missions, they usually begin to grow fretful and thin, and they constantly gaze with sadness at the mountains which they can see in the distance. Once or twice a year the missionaries permit those Indians upon whose return they believe they can rely to visit their own country, but it often happens that few of these return; some, on the other hand, bring with them new recruits to the mission.

The Indian children are more disposed to adopt the mission life. They learn to make a coarse cloth from sheep’s wool for the community. I saw twenty looms that were constantly in operation. Other young Indians are instructed in various trades by the missionaries. There is a house at the mission in which some two hundred and fifty women – the widows and daughters of dead Indians – reside. They do spinning. This house also shelters the wives of Indians who are out in the country by order of the fathers. They are placed there at the request of the Indians, who are exceedingly jealous, and are taken out again when their husbands return. The fathers comply with such requests in order to protect the women from mischief, and they watch over this establishment with the greatest vigilance.

The mission has two mills operated by mules. The flour produced by them is only sufficient for the consumption of the Spanish soldiers who are obliged to buy it from the fathers.

The presidio frequently has need of labourers for such work as carrying wood, building, and other jobs; the superior, thereupon, sends Indians who are paid for their trouble; but the money goes to the mission which is obliged to defray all the expenses of the settlement.

On Sundays and holidays they celebrate divine service. All the Indians of both sexes, without regard to age, are obliged to go to church and worship. Children brought up by the superior, fifty of whom are stationed around him, assist him during the service which they also accompany with the sound of musical instruments. These are chiefly drums, trumpets, tabors, and other instruments of the same class. It is by means of their noise that they endeavour to stir the imagination of the Indians and to make men of these savages. It is, indeed, the only means of producing an effect upon them. When the drums begin to beat they fall to the ground as if they were half dead. None dares to move; all remain stretched upon the ground without making the slightest movement until the end of the service, and, even then, it is necessary to tell them several times that the mass is finished. Armed soldiers are stationed at each corner of the church. After the mass, the superior delivers a sermon in Latin to his flock.

On Sunday, when the service is ended, the Indians gather in the cemetery, which is in front of the mission house, and dance. Half of the men adorn themselves with feathers and with girdles ornamented with feathers and with bits of shell that pass for money among them, or they paint their bodies with regular lines of black, red, and white. Some have half their bodies (from the head downward) daubed with black, the other half red, and the whole crossed with white lines. Others sift the down from birds on their hair. The men commonly dance six or eight together, all making the same movements and all armed with spears. Their music consists of clapping the hands, singing, and the sound made by striking split sticks together which has a charm for their ears; this is finally followed by a horrible yell that greatly resembles the sound of a cough accompanied by a whistling noise. The women dance among themselves, but without making violent movements.

California Air
Californian Air
Tremblingly and Mysterious

The Indians are greatly addicted to games of chance; they stake their ornaments, their tools, their money, and, frequently, even the clothing that the missionaries have given them. Their games consist of throwing little pieces of wood which have to fall in an even or in an odd number, or others that are rounded on one side and as they fall on the flat or on the round side the player loses or wins.

Upon the demise of his father or mother, or of some kinsman, the Indian daubs his face with black in token of mourning.

The missionaries have characterized the people as lazy, stupid, jealous – gluttons, cowards. I have never seen one laugh. I have never seen one look one in the face. They look as though they were interested in nothing.

It is reckoned that there are more than fifteen Indian tribes represented in the mission. The Kulpuni, Kosmiti, Bolbones, Kalalons, Umpini, Lamanes, Pitemens, and Apatamnes speak one language and live along the Sacramento River. The Guimen, Utchiuns, Olompalis, Tamals, and Sonomas likewise speak one language. These tribes are the most largely represented at the Mission of San Francisco. The Saklans, Suisuns, Utulatines, and the Numpolis speak different languages. Another tribe, the Tcholovoni, differ considerably in feature, in general physiognomy, and in a more or less attractive exterior from all the others. These live in the mountains. They have formed an alliance with the Spaniards against all the Indian tribes. They make beautiful weapons, such as bows and arrows. The tips of the latter are furnished with pieces of flint fashioned with great skill.

Severe fevers occur constantly among the Indians. These maladies commonly carry off a very great number. Several missions in Lower California have gone out of existence in the past twenty years by reason of the extinction of the Indians.

The Indians at the missions to the south of San Francisco – particularly that of Santa Barbara – make charming vessels and vase-shaped baskets, capable of holding water, from withes of various running plants. They know how to give them graceful forms, and also how to introduce pleasing designs into the fabric. They ornament them with bits of shell and with feathers.

The Indians build their canoes when they are about to undertake an expedition on the water; they are made of reeds. When they get into them they become half filled with water so that the occupant, when seated, is in water up to the calves of his legs. They propel them by means of long paddles having pointed blades at both ends.

The Missions of San Francisco, Santa Clara, San José, and Santa Cruz depend upon the presidio of San Francisco which is required to succour and assist all the fathers and to furnish them with soldiers when necessary – particularly to accompany them upon excursions into the country. One such expedition, consisting of two fathers and twelve soldiers, returned a short time before our arrival. It had been their intention to ascend the Sacramento River, which empties into the bay to the northeast of the mission. But the Spaniards met parties of armed men at every turn; nowhere were they well received. They were compelled therefore to return after fifteen days without having made any progress towards the end in view.

The rocks near the bay of San Francisco are commonly covered with sea-lions. Bears are very plentiful on land. When the Spaniards wish to amuse themselves, they catch them alive and make them fight with bulls.

Sea-otters abound in the harbour and in the neighbouring waters. Their fur is too valuable for them to be overlooked by the Spaniards. An otter skin of good size and of the best quality is worth in China. The best grade of skins must be large, of a rich colour, and should contain plenty of hairs with whitish ends that give a silvery sheen to the surface of the fur.

Russians from Sitka (Norfolk Sound), the headquarters of the Russian-American colony, are established at Bodega Bay, thirty miles north of San Francisco. Their chief in this new settlement is M. Kuskof, an expert fur-trader. They are thirty in number and they have fifteen Kadiaks with them. They have built a small fort which is equipped with a dozen cannon. The harbour will admit only vessels that draw eight or nine feet of water. This was formerly a point for the selling of smuggled goods to the Spaniards. M. Kuskof actually has in his settlement horses, cows, sheep, and everything else that can be raised in this beautiful and splendid country. It was with great difficulty that we obtained a pair of each species from the Spaniards because the government had strictly forbidden that any be disposed of.

M. Kuskof, assisted by the small number of men with him, catches almost two thousand otters every year without trouble. When not so engaged the men are employed at building and in improving the settlement. The otter skins are usually sold to American fur-traders. When these fail of a full cargo, they go to Sitka where they obtain skins in exchange for sugar, rum, cloth, and Chinese cotton stuff. The Russian company, not having a sufficient number of ships, sends its own skins to China (or only as far as Okhotsk) as freight on American ships.

Two hundred and fifty American ships, from Boston, New York, and elsewhere, come to the coast every year. Half of them engage in smuggling with enormous profit. No point for landing goods along the entire Spanish-American coast bathed by the Pacific Ocean, from Chili to California, is neglected. It often happens that Spanish warships give chase to American vessels, but these, being equipped with much sail, having large crews, and having, moreover, arms with which to defend themselves, are rarely caught.

The commodities most acceptable to the Indians of the coast of Northwest America are guns, powder, bullets, and lead for their manufacture, knives, coarse woolen blankets, and mother-of-pearl from the Pacific which they use to make ornaments for the head and neck.

Ships are often attacked with the very arms that they themselves sold, and even on the same day that they were delivered. Most of them, however, carrying from eight to fourteen guns, are able to defend themselves. Such occurrences are frequently turned to profit, for, should they carry off one of the chiefs, they are certain to get a great deal of merchandise as ransom, and gain greater facilities for trading.

May Heaven defend a ship from being wrecked on this coast! It is said that the barbarous habit of eating their prisoners survives among several of the tribes that inhabit it. When they build a house, or when they carry out some matter of importance, they put to death a number of slaves as is done when a war is ended. Upon a man’s death, they bury with him his wife and the slaves to whom he was most attached.

Natives of California (1816)
Natives of California (1816)
A Residence (1913)
A Residence (1913)
Natives of California (1816)
Natives of California (1816)
A Shop (1913)
A Shop (1913)
Head-Dresses Worn by the Natives of California in Their Dances (1816)
Head-Dresses Worn by the Natives of California in Their Dances (1816)
A Shop (Courtyard and Show-windows) (1913)
A Shop (Courtyard and Show-windows) (1913)
A Dance of California Indians at the Mission (Dolores) of San Francisco (1816)
A Dance of California Indians at the Mission (Dolores) of San Francisco (1816)
Mission Dolores (1913)
Mission Dolores (1913)
A Game of the Natives of California (1816)
A Game of the Natives of California (1816)
A Club Interior (1913)
A Club Interior (1913)
Point Reyes, the Golden Gate, and the Farallones (1813)
Point Reyes, the Golden Gate, and the Farallones (1813)
A Residence (1913)
A Residence (1913)
Weapons and Utensils from California (1816)
Weapons and Utensils from California (1816)
Masonic Building (1913)
Masonic Building (1913)
Indians of the Tcholovoni Tribe Hunting on the Shores of the Bay of San Francisco (1816)
Indians of the Tcholovoni Tribe Hunting on the Shores of the Bay of San Francisco (1816)
A Hotel Bar (1913)
A Hotel Bar (1913)
A Theatre (1913)
A Theatre (1913)
Union Square (1913)
Union Square (1913)
An Hotel (1913)
An Hotel (1913)
Previous Page
Home
Up One Level

San Francisco Ferry Building

San Francisco Ferry Building

July 13, 2012 by A Golden Gate State of Mind

 
 
 
 
 

 

 
Rate This

 

Today is the 114th anniversary of the opening of the Ferry Building in San Francisco. On 13th July 1898 the first ferryboat and its passengers pulled into what was then called “The Union Depot and Ferry House”. At the height of its glory in the 1930s, more than 50 million passengers passed through it each year.

Despite two major earthquakes and the construction of both the San Francisco – Oakland Bay and Golden Gate Bridges, not forgetting a hideous double-decker freeway along the Embarcadero, the latter thankfully demolished after the second of those earthquakes, the building with its 235 foot high clock tower inspired by the moorish belltower in Seville, has not only survived but become one of the most popular attractions in the City.

Once the City’s principal transportation hub and beautifully restored between 2003 and 2007, it is now home not only to two storeys of premium office space, but also a permanent gallery of stalls selling locally produced fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses, wines, meats, flowers, chocolate and pastries, as well as one of a kind gift items, many related to the kitchen and garden.

An outstanding farmer’s market takes over the plaza on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and especially Saturdays, when celebrated chefs from around the City demonstrate their skills to locals and tourists alike. Several appealing restaurants and cafés complete the scene.

Located along the Embarcadero at the foot of Market Street, it is now one of only a handful of landmarks that I make a point of visiting on every trip to the City, however short. Ten days in April didn’t yield a single cable car ride or journey over the Golden Gate Bridge, but it did include two trips to the Ferry Building, one on the way back from a spending spree at the ballpark (in fact, it is a perfect resting spot if you are making the bracing but arduous hike on a blustery day from AT & T Park to Fisherman’s Wharf, or vice versa).

Its role as a ferry port may have diminished (it now caters only for a handful of local services), and cruise ships may soon be getting their own spanking new terminal, but the building remains at the heart of the City’s transportation system with MUNI (Metro) and BART lines criss-crossing here, and the cranky, lovable F Streetcars rattling by.

Whilst there might be other excellent, if admittedly less expensive, farmer’s markets and wholefood stores around town, the Ferry Building might just be the best. Where else can you pick up those last minute snapper fillets, fresh vegetables, rustic loaves, Californian wines and cheeses, and even pig’s cheeks, to take back to your apartment in Noe Valley or the Sunset? And the visit alone, especially if you tarry awhile and experience everything it has to offer, is worth the journey alone.

Slip into the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants , share a carafe or two of Napa or Sonoma wine, or indulge in one of the special tasting “flights” where you can sample half a dozen wines at once (I would caution, however, that if you are of a nervous disposition, it comes with a lot of (different shaped) glasses, and whilst it looks pretty, the potential for disaster is considerable). What better to accompany it than a tasty cheese board? And you may stumble upon one of the regular lectures on wine or even meet the individual who made the wine you are drinking, as has happened to me!

If the Giants happen to be playing on the live televisions, so much the better, just order another carafe. And don’t forget to pick up a couple of bottles before you leave.

With the closure of the large Border’s and Barnes and Noble bookstores at Union Square and Fisherman’s Wharf respectively in recent years, it is heartening also to find the excellent Book Passagein the building. It may be small but it stocks a impressive selection of books on San Francisco and the Bay Area in particular. Pick up a book and a cup of Peet’s (coffee) from the adjoining cafe, grab a seat outside and “waste” an hour enjoying the bay views.

San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen called it “a famous city’s most famous landmark”, adding that the “waterfront without the Ferry Tower would be like a birthday cake without a candle”.

It is hard to disagree.

So stop by the Black Jet Baking Company to collect a suitable cake, buy a candle (one will do, no need to buy 114) and raise a birthday glass to the imperious Ferry Building.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.