Monthly Archives: July, 2012

Over the line, Smokey!

mission-district-pond
thumbnail of old map

The City of San Francisco was named after the Catholic mission there, which was in turn named after St. Francis of Assisi. But the Mission there is almost universally referred to as the Mission Dolores. Apparently, it was named informally after a small lake (or a lagoon within the lake) upon whose shores it was built. Early Spanish explorers gave the lake the name Lago de las Dolores because they saw Indians weeping on its bank, or because it happened to be raining that day. The mission was built there because it seemed to be a good place to obtain fresh water and grow crops. The lake no longer exists; it has been largely filled in and almost forgotten.

The best way to understand the lake is to go to the southwest corner of 17th and Mission, and look up and down both streets. You will…

View original post 1,154 more words

Burrito Justice

Allan over at Mission Mission and Telstar Logistics are investigating hidden ponds and creeks of the Mission. Thankfully the all-powerful David Rumsey has given us a gift of kick-ass digitized historic maps, and it gets even better as he has taken full advantage of Google Earth. Combined with the old Coast Survey maps of San Francisco, it makes for an excellent creek detector.

Last month I asked David to add my favorite map of the Mission to his Google Earth collection, the 1859 US Coast Survey Map of San Francisco (which actually shows the state of the city in 1857). While there are several other maps available in Google Earth (specifically the 1869 Coast Survey and the 1915 map), they all show the street grid we know and love today, or like the 1853 Coast Survey, don’t go further south than the Mission Dolores itself.  The glorious 1859…

View original post 603 more words

Follow the Red Brick Road: San Francisco's Underground Water Supply | Untapped SF

San Francisco, Urbanism — June 29, 2012 2:18 pm

Follow the Red Brick Road: San Francisco’s Underground Water Supplyby alison miller

They might catch your eye as you hike up the hills near Dolores Park, walk through the Richmond fog, or stroll the quiet streets of Cole Valley: red brick circles are embedded in dozens of San Francisco’s roads throughout the city.

IMG_9556.jpg

These brick circles might look decorative, but there’s much more to them than what’s on the surface. Underneath each is a concrete tank that holds 75,000 gallons of water. 172 of these underground cisterns exist throughout the city, making up an important component of San Francisco’s Auxiliary Water Supply System (AWSS).

The AWSS was developed in response to 1906 earthquake, which caused a devastating combination of fires and damage to the major water lines that were needed to fight them. Left with few usable hydrants and a lack of sufficient backup water supply, firefighters were unable to stop the blazes for days.

record=b1018322~S0.jpg

Smoke billowed over San Francisco as the fires of 1906 spread throughout the city with few available firefighting resources. [Source: San Francisco History Center/San Francisco Public Library]

As city engineers developed plans for a better emergency water system, they noted that San Francisco’s 23 cisterns were among the few firefighting resources that had worked in the aftermath of the earthquake. They called for a much larger network of cisterns throughout the city. Over one hundred were constructed in the next few decades, including one cistern every 3 blocks in key downtown areas. Along with cisterns, the AWSS includes a major reservoir on Twin Peaks and pump systems that draw directly from San Francisco Bay. These backup resources were critical in fighting fires that broke out after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

dolores-cistern-002.jpg

Red bricks outline a cistern on Dolores Street at 24th.

Not all cisterns are outlined by the distinctive brick circles, but you can tell there’s one nearby if you spot a fire hydrant with a green top. Different colors and shapes are used to indicate a hydrant’s water source and pressure level.

IMG_9555.jpg

A green fire hydrant “bonnet” indicates that there’s a cistern nearby. This one is on Castro Street at 14th.

Each cistern is also covered with a manhole that reads CISTERN S.F.F.D., but they’re no longer maintained by the Fire Department. In 2010, the Public Utilities Commission assumed responsibility for the Auxiliary Water Supply System, which has survived several earthquakes but is showing its age with rust and leaks. By the end of this decade, the Public Utilities Commission hopes to have completed major renovations and seismic updates. For more information on these efforts, visit sfearthquakesafety.org.

IMG_9548.jpg

Cistern maintenance moved to the SF Public Utilities Commission in 2010, but S.F.F.D. labels remain on manhole covers. This cistern is at Douglass and Elizabeth.

photo-13.jpg

No red bricks here: this cistern cover hides in the grass at the edge of Dolores Park.

via Follow the Red Brick Road: San Francisco’s Underground Water Supply | Untapped SF.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

woodendreams:

(by Darvin Atkeson)

violencegirl:
Since January of this year, I’ve been following with interest the evolving story of a group of young women on the other side of the world. The punk feminist group Pussy Riot immediately captured my attention and my heart with their bold “flash concerts” in public spaces, their… 

Alice Bag: Why Pussy Riot Matters

Explore San Francisco: Explore The Folsom District. Free Event

Explore San Francisco: The Folsom District

Free Event This Saturday July 14th

 We’ll start in the heart of the old SOMA District, “South Of the Slot”.  See this blue collar neighborhood as it used to be before re-development.  Then we will travel to a former gay entertainment strip, the area is now commonly called, “Crack Alley”.  Before it is destroyed forever, see the Hugo Hotel and the world famous art installation known as, “Defenestration”.
Next up, we’ll cruise the 1970’s “Miracle Mile” of the Folsom District. This area was Mecca for the Gay Leather community and withstood re-development until the AIDS crisis of the 1980’s decimated much of the population, leaving the community weakened and vulnerable. The Folsom Street Fair was created out of this crisis, and is the largest leather/fetish event in the world and the third largest, single-day outdoor event in California. We will see the Fairgrounds but we are really here to celebrate the Folsom’s heyday. During that time this area boasted over 30 gay bars and bath houses, as well as lesbian bars, shops, hotels, retail, private sex clubs, eateries and motorcycle clubs. This was called the “Valley of the Kings“, and you will see why.
We will stop at Wicked Grounds ‘kink” coffee shop for refreshments and snacks. Shopping stops and tours are at Mr. S Leather and Good Vibrations. Many more stops and places of interest are included on this one of a kind tour. This tour ticket does not include the Armory. Please see The Folsom District & The Armory listing if you wish to attend both. For further information please call 415.793.1104 or email info@exploresf.biz

To reserve your space for this free event please sign up at: http://www.facebook.com/events/200800926712135/

Enhanced by Zemanta

Just the Gritty: SF Mission District Architecture | Untapped SF

 

The City’s First Neighborhood has
some of it’s best architecture

by Kate Shay

 

yellow building in the misstion district

You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate architecture. I’m going to be frank with you right now: I am not an architect. Nor am I some sort of architecture buff or historian. I simply love the buildings in my neighborhood — the bright colors and ornate facades just beg me to capture them, and fit perfectly with my style of high saturation and dreamy light blurs.

blue building in the mission district

It’s actually very rare for me to walk down a Mission district block and not stop at least twice to snap a photo (or five). It’s rather entertaining to watch my dog roll her eyes at me because I stop more than she does. How could I not? I’m surrounded by bright beacons of color with the sun bouncing off the plentiful windows.

One of the interesting things is that this neighborhood actually gets a pretty bad rap. It hasn’t had the nicest of histories, and most recently was well-known as a squatter’s district. Since it is shielded by hills and protected from the cold fog that plagues most of the rest of the city, the Mission is the city’s warmest district, attracting those without proper housing. Today families of Latino descent hold the majority — since the ’50s, the Latino population in the Mission has doubled every 10 years — providing much of the current flavor. Recently, however, Silicon Valley insta-millionaires decided it was chic to live in the Mission, and the largely Latino community is slowly being displaced.

victorian house

I hope that this article will inspire you a bit – perhaps open your eyes to a new neighborhood. I took the photos you see here over the last year or so, just imagine all the ones I’m not showing. Get out there, snap some photos, and share them with me on Instagram! @justthegritty and with Untapped Cities using #untappedcities hashtag.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Pacific Telephone Building From Condos To Yelp



Pac Bell Building

Scraps Plans For Condos

Yelp Is Moving to 140  Montgomery Street

 

Back in 2007, developers Wilson Meany Sullivan (of Ferry Building and One Powell fame) acquired the Timothy Pfleuger art deco skycraper at 140 New Montgomery Street. Known as the Pacific Telephone & Telegraph Building, the tower was one of the tallest skyscrapers on the West Coast at the time it was constructed in 1925. The developers had grand plans to renovate the building into luxury condos, and even got through the permitting and entitlements labyrinth in 2008. Unfortunately for them, the plans were hatched right before the recession, and the loss of funding cause the project to stall out for the past four years.

Fast forward to today and the office market has started to boom again, so the developers have redirected the project. With a $50 million-plus modernization project about to begin, the new rehabilitation will include a major seismic retrofit and upgrading the skyscraper’s 280,000 square feet of available office space to house potential tech start-ups, venture-capital firms and others. According to the project website, the space will included high-end amenities like a private

outdoor tenant garden, showers, bike parking and repair rooms, and first-class ground-floor dining. Are you listening, future fancy tenants?

Designed by local superstar architect Timothy Pflueger (art deco mastermind behind the Transbay TerminalNew Mission TheaterCCSF, and the Paramount Theater in Oakland), it has soaring terra-cotta piers, art deco details and 13-foot-tall eagle statues at the top – not to mention a pretty fierce marble lobby. There’s also a 26th floor auditorium (sure, why not?), complete with bas reliefs with a snake charmer, elephants and other animals. According to the plans, WMS seeks to maintain the architectural integrity of the building – vintage light fixtures in the lobby will be restored, original bronze medallions on the elevator doors replicated, and the old mail chute retained.

It won’t be all historic sentimentality though, as the plan also include measures to modernize and add safety features to the building. They will replace 1,300 of the building’s 1,700 steel-frame windows, install seismic bracing and modernize the elevators. The developer also plans to create two new retail or restaurant spaces off the restored main lobby. According to the Wall Street Journal, the building should beready for occupancy in the summer of 2013.


UPDATE**** YELP Moving in

Yelp has given San Francisco a five-star rating, committing itself to stay in its hometown through at least 2021.

The popular online review site, one of the first dot-coms to set up shop in the city after the Internet bubble burst, will announce Thursday that it has signed a roughly 100,000-square-foot lease at the Pacific Telephone Building, an Art Deco classic of the city’s skyline.

Pac Bell Building

Pac Bell Building (Photo credit: jgatts)

“We’ve grown up here in the city, and it’s fair to say that Yelp wouldn’t have been as successful had we not started in a city like San Francisco,” said Jeremy Stoppelman, chief executive of Yelp, in describing why the company decided to keep its headquarters here. “It’s a very dynamic cultural scene, lots of restaurants and nightlife, and all those things feed nicely into what Yelp is about.”

Contributing factors included the deepening design and engineering talent pool in the city, the convenient commute to that slice of South of Market and the unique character of 140 New Montgomery St., he said.

Designed by prominent architect Timothy Pflueger in the 1920s, the Pacific Telephone Building is considered one of the finest Art Deco skyscrapers in the city, routinely praised in local architecture guides.

Yelp will relocate from its current space at 706 Mission St. in the fall of 2013. The new space will accommodate around 800 employees, room to grow from the roughly 500 San Francisco workers Yelp has today.

 

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta

The Scandinavian Restaurant You Never Knew You Needed Has Finally Opened-Plaj

PLAJ RESTAURANT AND BAR

333 Fulton Street, between Franklin and Gough Streets
San Francisco, CA
Telephone 415. 863. 8400
Reservations: http://bit.ly/Plaj_Reservations
Website: http://plajrestaurant.com/ 
 

Plaj. Photo: Thrillist
Sundell

Introducing Pläj, San Francisco’s latest restaurant — and perhaps more interestingly, its first Scandinavian restaurant.

Chef-owner Roberth Sundell opened Pläj (pronounced similar to “play”) on Friday night at the Inn at the Opera. He says he’s quite pleased with how the opening weekend went.

“We are focusing on Scandinavian cuisine, but also we don’t do super traditional,” says the Stockholm-born Sundell.

“We are adding a lot of California flair to our food so it speaks to a broader experience. If we went too traditional, the only people will be the Scandinavian and they will probably only show up once a month,” he laughs.

Sundell came to America 18 years, and soon met his San Francisco wife. He’s cooked in Los Angeles, and more recently, at a private club in Tahoe. But when a friend approached him about the possibility of opening a Scandinavian place in the former Ovations space, he jumped at the opportunity.

“In eight weeks we painted the place, cleaned it up, added new furniture and new menu. And now we’re open.”

He describes the menu (in full below) as neither small plates nor large plates, but Goldilocks-appropriate medium sizes, with four-ounce servings of proteins. There’s the obligatory herring, meatballs and kumla, plus a Scandinavian twist on a charcuterie plate with salted lamb, cured pork belly and wild boar salami; here’s hoping for some reindeer eventually. Berries — lingonberry, cloudberries, gooseberries — are all over the menu, too.

There are 44 seats in the restaurant, with another six at the bar. Speaking of the bar, the entire beer list (also below) consists entirely of Scandinavian beers, as noted byEater a few weeks ago. The cocktail list has plenty of Northern European flair as well, with cameos from Bols Genever, elderflower syrup, rosehip syrup and of course, vodka (also, references to The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo).

Open for dinner nightly, from 5pm to 11pm. Here are the food and drink menus:

Plaj:
333 Fulton Street, between Franklin and Gough.
(415) 863-8400

Enhanced by Zemanta

Architecture Spotlight: Jackson Brewery | Untapped SF

Jackson Brewery

By Cindy Casey

There have been over 79 breweries in San Francisco’s history, most of them either lost to the 1906 earthquake or in the two years following the 1919 passage of the 21st amendment. These lost brew houses included the North Star Brewery at Filbert and Sansome, the Globe Brewing Company at Sansome and Greenwich and the Jackson Brewing Company. Yet despite the fact that the Jackson Brewing Company did not survive Prohibition, its building still stands.

1906 Damaged Jackson Brewing Company (Photo credit: San Francisco Public Library)

The Jackson Brewing Company was owned by the William A. Fredericks family from 1867 to 1920. The first brewery was on First Street between Howard and Folsom; they purchased the property at Folsom and 11th in 1905. Early construction was destroyed by the earthquake and subsequent fire. Consequently, the new brewery wasn’t completed until 1912.

The brewery is composed of a series of low-rise brick buildings sitting on a concrete foundation and simply ornamented with concrete and wood. This Romanesque Revival style brewery is one of the last remaining turn-of-the-century brewing complexes of its type.

Romanesque architecture was a style that emerged in Western Europe in the early 11th century. It has Roman and Byzantine elements and is characterized by massive articulated wall structures, round arches, and powerful vaults. This style lasted until the advent of Gothic architecture in the middle of the 12th century. Romanesque Revival was the reuse in the second half of the 19th century of the massive Romanesque forms.

Romanesque architecture in the United States was much simpler than that found in Europe. The Romanesque features of the Jackson Brewery include semicircular arches for the door and window openings and a belt course (a horizontal band across a building).

Due to its brick construction, the Jackson Brewery building did not fare well in the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. A thorough retrofitting was done to upgrade the building to San Francisco’s 1990 building codes. The building is now a mixed-use complex with seven live-work condominiums and a restaurant.

San Francisco is now home to only ten breweries. These include the famous Anchor Steam Brewery and lesser-known local favorites such as The Beach Chalet, Speakeasy and the ThirstyBear.

The Jackson Brewery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993 and is San Francisco Landmark #199.

Jackson Brewery
1489 Folsom Street, San Francisco [Map]

Follow Untapped Cities on Twitter and Facebook. Get in touch with the author @PQPP3.