Clooney’s Busts a Move
Following up on our look at buildings moving across Army Street and the history of Clooney’s: On the left, the funkily angled Clooney’s, 2012. And on the right, 1938.
“Wait a second,” you say. “The intersection is different.” Indeed! For it is a different intersection entirely — San Jose & 30th, not 25th & Valencia. Yes, it’s true — as we have all suspected, Clooney’s is capable of travelling through both SPACE AND TIME.
Here’s the building comparison in GIF1938 neutrino format.
I am not exaggerating in saying that I found a good candidate for Clooney’s in less than thirty seconds: an odd-shaped building on the southwest corner of San Jose Avenue and 30th Street. It had two slanted bays facing north onto 30th Street, and three slanted bays fronting the diagonal line of San Jose Avenue. The location of the light well also seemed just right. Feeling lucky, I decided to take a quick look at the SFPL historic photo collection to see if it might have an old photo of the intersection. Miraculously, it does. And there on the right hand side of the photo is what I feel certain is today the building housing Clooney’s at 1401 Valencia Street.
Obviously, the first story of the building as it appears today is quite different. But it is not hard to extrapolate that when they moved the building onto a new foundation, they left a generous setback at the street so that they could construct a one-story extension for the pub.
And why was it moved? Once again, street widening was the culprit. Comparisons of the 1938 aerial map and current views make it clear that many, many buildings were removed along the west side of San Jose Avenue. In fact, the current building standing on the southwest corner of San Jose and 30th was, in 1938, the third building west from the intersection!
Almost certainly, the street widening was done in conjunction with the construction of I-280, which opened in the late 1950s. The fact that Urbane Libertine mentions that the electric meter at Clooney’s was installed in 1951 would appear to indicate that was the year the building was moved.
The intersection of San Jose and 30th is almost completely unrecognizable compared to today. I wrote about this intersection over at Mission Mission last year and unbeknownst to me, I even marked the proto-Clooney’s apartment buildings at 800 San Jose Ave in my BurritoVision overlay!
“Blue were the apartments across 30th on the right. All those are long gone.”
San Jose Ave was widened quite a bit to the west in preparation for 280 — here’s a BurritoVision GIF of San Jose Ave & 30th in 1938 versus today, with the proto-Clooney’s in red (click for 800 pixel wide GIF):
So be on the lookout for strangely shaped buildings throughout San Francisco — it may not be due to drunken architects like you thought.
“House Movers” is hard to search for online, but I did find one photo of from the SFPL:
However, I have a hard time imagining an entire apartment building on the back of a truck.
You can see “Hanson Bros House Moving” on the side of the truck. They were in the SF city directories in the 1930s through the 1950s (along with Pearson & Johnson and the Sullivans).
Here’s an ad for the Hanson’s from 1938:
Anyone have any idea how much it cost to move a house (or an apartment building for that matter)? Anyway, here’s to whoever decided it was worth moving 800 San Jose Ave to 1401 Valencia, if only because it gave us this Clooney’s story in the Noe Valley Voice.