Some question the necessity of La Lengua demanding autonomy from Bernal Heights. This article from the 1884 Daily Alta California should prove the need of our independence (if only because of the keg):
Perhaps young Alfred Lewis was on his way to buy some Bernal-brewed moonshine. Let the 1888 experience of Bernal Heights Ranger Jeremiah Buckley prove a sober warning for such a trap:
All La Lenguan residents should consider this fair warning when traversing Precitaville, as Consular services may not be available.
As to the location of J.T. Graham’s saloon, we suspect a Bernalian disinformation campaign that spreads even to the 1888 city directory level since 27th and Alabama did not intersect in the 1880s.
Here’s an 1880s era map showing 25th, 26th, Serpentine, Precita…
Nor did 27th cross over to Bernal back in 1869.
Or 1859 for that matter:
And the 1886 Sanborn maps don’t make any reference to 27th on the other side of San Jose/Valencia/Mission either:
Could this address deception could be a ploy on the part of Bernalian Hegemony to hide the discovery of gold atop the hill? Or perhaps something more benign, like people just not wanting to call it Precita Avenue? (What we now call Precita Park was called “Bernal Park” when it was carved out of “Precita Place” in 1894.)
As such, we can assume J.T. Graham’s saloon was probably near the location of today’s Precita Park Cafe. Alabama seems to have stopped at Precita Place — unfortunately the 1886 Sanborn maps do not extend east of Alabama or Columbia (which no longer exists…)
Despite the garrulous nature of Bernal residents, it seems that Thomas Graham ran his grocery at the corner of Precita and Alabama for quite some time.
If you happen to be in the neighborhood in 1890 and need a piano, John Graham’s your man:
John was trying to rent out a house in 1891:
Note that “cars” were running down Folsom as early as 1878…
Jumping back, a four-room house rented for $12 a month in 1892:
It looks like he owned a fair amount of property in the area, though in this 1898 ad, it is interesting he chose to live on the other end of Alabama St (278 is near 16th…)
(Note the ad for a wonderful investment opportunity in La Lengua at Cortland and Mission.)
In 1905 he was renting out a 5 room cottage for $20 ($510 today, adjusting for inflation). By this time references to 27th were dropped for Precita Ave.
In 1906, their dog Noodles got lost.
The reward was about $125 adjusted for inflation (or one-quarter the rent of the 5-room cottage…) Poor Noodles.
That same year, John was looking for help with his stable.
We still see references to Graham’s Grocery in 1910:
The first specific address, 431 Precita, shows up in the city directory in 1900. We can see the building in the 1899/1905 Sanborn Maps — Precita is on the left, Alabama is on the right.
His son. John E. Graham, starts showing up in the 1900 city directory as a clerk. But by 1915, his father John T. is no longer listed. The long-standing John T Graham company changes hands, and by 1917 it looks like John E. Graham has a different job.
By 1920 there’s a John E Graham at a different address, and in 1921 he’s selling cigars (maybe changing jobs with the coming of Prohibition?) And maybe there’s something happening with the John T Graham Brothers, though I am not sure how that connects to F & W Graham taking things over in 1916…
It turns out Bernalwood inadvertently covered a bit of the history of 431 Precita a few years back.
But today, 431 Precita is Bernal Bark, something Noodles the dog would have appreciated.
Saturday, May 3, 1pm-4pm: Bikes to Books Ride! (co-hosted by the SFBC)
Combining San Francisco history, art, literature, cycling, and urban exploration, this 7.1 mile tour wends its way from Jack London Street to Jack Kerouac, South Park to North Beach. Admittedly not for the faint of heart nor gear, this interactive bike ride is nonetheless a diverting and unique way to celebrate both the literary and the adventurous spirit of San Francisco.
- Meet at 12:45 p.m. at Jack London Street in South Park
- Ride will commence at 1 p.m. sharp
- Ride will end at approximately 4 p.m. in North Beach (outside City Lights Books)
- Bring bikes with gears, snacks, and enthusiasm
- Bike ride is free!
You can pick up a map for $5 at the start of the tour, or buy one at any of these fine literary establishments:
- Adobe Books (24th @ Folsom)
- Alleycat (24th @ Harrison)
- Modern Times (24th @ Alabama)
- Dog Eared Books (Valencia @ 20th)
- Needles and Pens (16th @ Guerrero)
- Borderlands (Valencia @ 20th)
- Viracocha (Valencia @ 20th)
- Green Arcade (Market @ Gough)
- Green Apple (Inner Richmond, 6th Ave @ Clement)
- Paul’s Hat Works (Outer Richmond, Geary @ 25th Ave)
- Other Avenues (Outer Sunset, Judah @ 44th Ave)
- City Lights (North Beach, Columbus @ Broadway)
I’m not going to embed the link, for as TK notes:
Oh estate agents, this kind of nonsense is exactly why I made the damn name up in the first place:
This is exactly the kind of thing that drives me to drink, preferably something from the Eagle Brewery which was on that very spot in 1886.
When BART was built along Mission St, it was one of the first times a tunnel boring machine was used in America. (The construction history of BART is covered in utterly fascinating detail in this report preserved by Richard Mlyarick.) However, the stations were constructed by digging a giant hole, and then covering it back up. Here’s a photo looking north from 24th in the very 1970s via the esteemed FoundSF.
You can see the Bay View Bank / US Bank building on the right, and the Leed’s / Skechers sign in the background. El Farolito (which at the time was La Conga restaurant, right next to the Smile Awhile tavern) would have been just to the right. Compare and contrast to today:
Here’s a shot I just took out of a Muni window with a slightly different angle to make it easier to see past the trees:
A quick detour in which we play “what’s that sign“: Jay’s Liquor & Groceries is now painted a lovely shade of blue.
Zoom and enhance!
I can only imagine how that went down.
“Thanks Jay, enjoy your retirement!” [door closes]
“Excellent! Jay is finally gone! Go paint the sign!”
“OK!” [gets blue and white paint]
While it doesn’t cover the Mission, this 1968 BART construction video is a classic. Oh the music!
And lest we forget, the epic Streets of San Francisco chase scene through the blue and green-tiled 16th St BART station and tunnels still under construction…
I am sure that during BART station construction people and businesses around 24th & 16th were upset, though I suspect the inconvenience of construction were outweighed by demographic changes and the suburban flight that were already well underway. For example, while Karl’s Shoes didn’t make it past 1972, but John’s Do-Nut & Coffee lasted until at least 1982.
But some people were very unhappy with the thought of how BART would change the neighborhood, as we can read in this classic Basta Ya! article archived by FoundSF decrying the changes that BART would bring to La Raza:
“The San Francisco Planning Department foresees 13,000 to 14,000 new residences in the next 20 years. Look around. Where will they find space to build 14,000 homes? The only place is on top of the home you are living in now.”
(If only they had built 14,000 units…)
“What else do the urban designers forecast? They see Mexican palm trees every 26 feet. An “historic” walkway up 16th to Mission Dolores lined with Taco stands and stores that sell genuine made (on Valencia St.) blankets and souvenirs.
Is Senor Taco the type of urban renewal we want? BART will bring tourists from downtown to 16th and Mission in three minutes. Our homes will become hotel rooms and restaurants and serape stores, and Topless Taco Clubs that do not serve Mexicans.”
To be honest I think a topless taco club might be an OSHA nightmare given the heat of the grill. (Also: do not google “topless taco” by image. Really. Just don’t.)
This early-gentrification piece ignores the fact that the neighborhood was Irish-Italian-Scandinavian before the siren song of the suburbs. But another classic is this 2000 SFBG piece written in the midst of the last dot com boom. Before we get into taquerias, here are some sobering numbers on house prices and rent in the Mission:
“According to a Mission Economic Development Association report, the neighborhood’s median home price jumped from $235,000 in 1997 to $381,000 in 1999, while average monthly rent on a two-bedroom rose from $1,330 to $1,678, and a square foot of office space shot up from $76 to $103 – all much larger jumps than in San Francisco as a whole.”
This claim about anglos getting chased out of taquerias in the early 80s was debunked by those there at the time:
By the way, in 1980, El Farolito was inhabited by a place called El Burrito…
Back to Basta Ya!
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
“Imagine a line up 24th St. from Potrero to Mission. Continue the line down Mission to 16th St., then up 16th to Mission Dolores Church. This line runs through the Mission community, tying it together. The two BART stations will break up this unity. With or without planning by the city the impact of BART will be to cluster activity around the stations on 24th and Mission and 16th and Mission. The new clusters will cut the community in two.”
This is an interesting point — I am not entirely sure where the “center of gravity” of the Mission was before BART, though given they originally planned a 22nd St station (and before that and Army St station, dammit (never mind 30th St…))
(both via Eric Fischer’s transit plan scans)
This of course gets into the future of transit. The recent acquisition of Safeway by Albertson’s got people on my Twitter feed talking about how to better use the massive parking lots. This usually came down to copying the Whole Foods model, with groceries below and apartments above. When BART was thinking about the 30th St infill/pocket station, the La Lengua Safeway parking lot was key in the construction plans.
The obvious conclusion is to convert EVERY Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s in the city to a subway station and connect them with tunnel boring machines. This would quickly create a pleasing and most practical transportation network for San Francisco.
So don your hard hats, put on the reflective vests, and get thee to a tunnel boring machine!
But of course, we all know what the symbol for the new subway would be.
So you are on 29th Street walking from Goood Frickin’ Chicken to Rock Bar when you hear a strange sound. You’d swear it’s one of the historic streetcars along Church Street and the Embarcadero, but… that can’t be right.
The streetcar is hurtling down 29th St, but no one is on board.
The ghostly 9 rips past the Front Porch and the 3300 Club.
It’s going way to fast to make the turn onto Mission Street. It jumps the tracks and plows into Pizzahacker!
Other than the time warp, this is basically what happened in 1907 during a streetcar strike that was so violent, it was sometimes referred to as a war. The consolidation of private transit companies over the years led to poor service and the union went on strike for better hours and pay. (The strikes and crappy service eventually led to the creation of Muni a few years later.)
In short, a strike-breaking conductor and motorman were shot up the hill at Noe Street. While a second crew tended to the wounded, the gunmen sent their streetcar racing down 29th unmanned. It crashed into a candy store (where Pizzahacker stands today):
The injured men were taken in their own car by the crew that followed them to St. Luke’s hospital, the unmanned car being left at the top of the Twenty-ninth street hill. A person supposed to have been one of the three strike sympathizers who shot at the crew, started the car down the hill. “[The streetcar] sped over the six blocks between Noe and Mission streets, left the rails at the Mission street curve and crashed into the Mission Toggery and Warren’s candy store…”
More from the July 21, 1907 San Francisco Call:
[The conductor] heard a shot and immediately felt the pang of a bullet wound in his uplifted elbow… The man on the sidewalk near the front of the [streetcar] fired two shots and [the motorman] sank to the platform with a bullet in his thigh…
The car with the injured reached Mission street… but on the other track, car 1664 [was] gathering speed rapidly as its 26 tons of smoothly turning wheels came flying down the grade. Quickly the turn was made from Twenty-ninth street into Mission. Warning shouts were given and the crowd which was strolling in Mission street gave way to the green electric vehicle which came racing down the tracks.
With a bound the wheels of the runaway struck the flanges of the rails at the turn. The car swerved on the pavement. The trolley flew off. The car struck the curb and half turned, but could not he stopped and sidled over the sidewalk and crashed into the glass fronts of the stores.
The people In the store had heard the shouts in the streets and were turning to the door when they saw the car coming upon them with the almost animated ferocity of a dragon. They fled toward the rear of the store, but the car was too quick. Through the brittle glass and the thin wood frame the mad car smashed its way.
Here’s the 1900 Sanborn Maps site of the crash (and where Pizzahacker is today).
Here’s a GIF of the change from 1886 to 1950. The candy shop became a bank, probably in the 1930s.
And here’s the color Sanborn map from 1905. Looks like the kindergarten may have shut down by that time.
I’m not entirely sure if the lines were numbered in 1909 — those maps above are from the 1920s and 1940s. This one is from 1905, and seems to show destination names instead of numbers.
In case you were wondering what a “toggery” was, it apparently sold “men’s furnishings, women’s wear and dry goods“:
Anyway, the crash led to no end of lawsuits.
@Pizzahacker is already looking to get in on it.
Greetings Comrades! Russia is flexing its muscles following the absorption of Crimea.
A Russian legislator and friend of Putin actually sent letters to Poland suggesting they split the remainder of Ukraine in two. “It’s never too late to correct historical errors.”
Russian politician proposes to divide Ukraine in two and give half to Poland. translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?de… #notaprilfools d.pr/i/KLc1—
Burrito Justice (@burritojustice) April 01, 2014
Until Seward and his purchase, Russia had a substantial presence in Alaska, so it’s not surprising that some there are calling for it back.
Hey look, California!
(Hmm, California seems to have gotten bigger…)
Historians and Beer-Americans will know the Russians had a colony up at Fort Ross from 1812-1842 until they gave it up and sold it to Mr. Sutter.
Of course we are ready for any Russian incursions:
Putin, you will never take America's SIPAMF (Strategic IPA Manufacturing Facilities) in Russian River. Never.—
Burrito Justice (@burritojustice) March 17, 2014
But this has not stopped the dreams of a greater Russia by bloggers and TV personalities! Our agents in Poland have kept us up to date:
I mean come on guys you can’t argue with beregus.ru’s reasoning:
“Russians today live in Alaska and in California,” he continues. And these are “not emigrants of a new wave but the descendants of their glorious ancestors” who came and developed this coast. These people are trying to preserve their Orthodox faith and their Russian culture.”
Oh in that case sure, come on over.
“Discussions about the reunion of Alaska, and California with Russia is quite reasonable and fair. Alaska and the Pacific coast of North America – Russia Beach . Is not it time for us to stand firmly on its shore?”
Let us not forget they already have the maps:
The invasion would obviously look something like this but with less snow…
…and more sand:
Our Russian blogging friends continue:
“[Sitka] became the most powerful port in the Pacific. Even San Francisco admitted it was inferior to the capital of Russian America.”
WHAT YOU DID NOT JUST SAY THAT ENERGIZE THE BURRITO RAILGUN AND THE RING OF STEEL
I mean this is the second time Russians have dissed SF in the past few years.
“Vladivostok is probably better than San Francisco,” [Medvedev] said on Monday. “Nevertheless there are similarities that come to mind, because there is also an ocean, suspension bridges and the similar terrain.” In one last dig, he added: “Our people are definitely better.”
I just hope they don’t remember about the Russians buried on the hill.
But if anyone with an accent asks, they were probably Finns, not Russians.
“American troops in Vladivostok parading before the building occupied by the staff of the Czecho-Slovaks. Japanese marines are standing to attention as they march by.”
And don’t get too smug, Canada and Japan and Poland and Czechs, you were involved too…
But just as much as fire, San Francisco is a city defined by assholes.
While the recent influx of Software-Americans has upset many, assholes have been moving into SF for the last 238 years. Spanish missionaries. American traders. Gold miners. Water lot speculators. Railroad barons. Bankers. Sailors. Prohibitionists. Anti-prohibitionists. Soldiers. Hippies. Assholes are not a new phenomenon here.
But despite this constant influx of
asshatery asshattery, San Francisco has absorbed those assholes who chose to remain after their bubble burst, and the city has stayed interesting. I have faith that this pattern will repeat with the current influx, if we stay true to this advice:
…there is hope for the jerks, and framing it as a “tech” versus “anti-tech” dichotomy just sets up an “us” versus “them” dynamic that is not what’s going to turn them around. Instead, it’s a false dichotomy that turns *all* of us into jerks – and the Molotov’s situation is the perfect example. Light-heartedly calling out the jerks in their moments of jerkiness, so that they can recognize and improve their behavior, is very different from vilifying an entire industry that is made up of (mostly) good people. There have always been jerks in SF – well, at least since the Gold Rush — and there always will be. And it has always been the responsibility of good people to lead by example and not, by trying to teach the jerks a lesson, turn into jerks themselves.
I’d rather have a city that is interesting enough to attract assholes than one stagnating and in decline.
…I hereby present the new flag for San Francisco: