Sunday, August 31, 2008


I thought I had seen pretty much everything in the Sunset, and it would just be a matter of re-discovering, or looking at things in a different way from now on. But I really have no memory of these houses on 29th Ave.

I wonder when I see two houses painted the same color. Are they owned by the same family? Do neighbors just want to coordinate? Did they get a discount by hiring painters for two jobs at once?

But there is more than that going on here. Look at the statues. My Greek and Roman mythology is a little rusty, but I think that's Venus and Zeus.

The house on the left has some other additions. A cherub:

And these guys:

The house on the right isn't quite as fancy, but they've added gold paint here and there.

But it has statues of Artemis (or is that Diana?) and Apollo.

I love it when people go that extra step to make their homes stand out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Awesome Sunset Video

I'm only ten minutes into it, but can guarantee if are interested in the Sunset you will enjoy this Eye on The Bay episode about the Sunset, featuring Woody LaBounty of the Western Neighborhoods Project.

There are old photos and video, legends, and history. We'll forgive Brian Hackney for using the term "cookie cutter homes". Of particular interest to this blog are Rosseau and Carville homes, including an interior tour of a house made of two streetcars and a carriage.

And of particular interest to this blogger is Polly Ann Ice Cream. I am acquainted with one of the past owners.

It is a little over twenty minutes long. I'll be watching to see when it replays on Channel 5 so I can see it on a bigger screen. It appears to be from last September, but I just heard about it for the first time here.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I started out writing this post to say I was going to take a break from this blog. I get disenchanted with San Francisco from time to time. When my car gets broken into, when I get stuck in a MUNI fiasco, when I encounter one too many stop sign runners, when I almost get run over on my bike, etc. It's bound to happen to even the most-hardcore city dweller from time to time. But then I looked through my Sunset photos and changed my mind.

My father was somehow related to Ralph Waldo Emerson, which means I am, too, I suppose. I hadn't seen this quote before, it is apt.

The plaque is on this house, with the pelicans in the window.

I really like the lines.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I've been shooting a bit in black and white (as opposed to editing the photos later). It makes you look at things differently. For instance I've noticed a lot more homes with these 1940's lines.

The defining lines on the top caught my eye, but the round windows, glass blocks, and curved stairs all add up to a really streamlined look.

There are several different shaped top-lines, as I call them, around the neighborhood.

Another favorite of mine:

Friday, August 22, 2008


I was back at the corner of the house in my first post on this blog. I've been meaning to put up new shots to put it into better context. It was built in 1940, according to City records.

I still haven't come across another exactly like it.

Since the last time I was on this block a couple houses have been painted. Here's a very bright one. Quite cheerful on a foggy day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Note to self: do not use this photo when talking about the fact that all Sunset homes are not alike.

It's not much better in color.

Contrast that block to this one:
First a bunch of dreary 1970's flats.

This 1904 gem opposite.
And finally this turn of the century (20th Century) beauty near the end of the block.

Don't see a lot of roofs like this in the Sunset.

And that's not the half of it. Check it out next time you go to the beach, this is the 1400 block of 47th between Irving and Judah.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let the Sun In

This house on Kirkham has always interested me because it isn't a typical Sunset house.

They are really trying to get some sun in there:

This used to be a typical Sunset home:

Unless I had looked at the atrium I wouldn't have noticed that not only is there a 3rd floor addition, but a little fourth floor as well.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

13th Avenue?

I noticed this on the corner near Andronico's yesterday:

As we know, there is no 13th Avenue. It was changed from 13th to Funston in 1923, according to this article about a former Sunset resident, at the Western Neighborhoods project. There is a lot of other neat stuff in the interview, including Doelger homes. Hmm, this page has an excerpt from the 1919 "Call", which says describes someone as living on Funston Ave. I will try to do further research about that. In any case, the impression is wrong. Funston is not a street, but and avenue.

This subject reminded me of a book I have "San Francisco Street Secrets", which I haven't pulled out in a long time. Although it doesn't mention the name change, I learned that General Frederick Funston was The Army's Pacific Division Commander during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. And Judah St. was named after Theodore D. Judah, the mastermind of the Central Pacific Railroad.

Friday, August 15, 2008

What Lies Behind

I was admiring the decorations on this building on Judah...

...and noticed that this one around the corner on 31st has the same ones.

Vaguely Masonic, in my opinion.

But look there at the right in the back.

There's a whole other single family house with the same decorations.

According to City records they were built in 1948.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

County Fair Building aka Hall of Flowers

Okay, I sound like a geezer but...when I was a kid this was the Hall of Flowers and the Arboretum was called just that, or Strybing Arboretum if you wanted to get technical. Now it is the "San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum". Whatever the name, one of my favorite places. Did you know they have a botanical library?

I did a search of photos in the S.F. Library's collection here. Apparently the building was constructed between 1959 and 1961.

It seems to me the tree that used to be right in front really obscured the structure. It's only in the past few years I've noticed the building, although I have been in it many times over the years for sales and events.

I can't remember when this blue plastic fence thing went in.

The building has grown (ha ha) on me over the years.

Monday, August 11, 2008

More Stair Tile

This stoop has an interesting use of tiles. I didn't get a great shot but there are three different kinds - the black and blue and yellow under the door:

Is this an abstract shape? I always see a person on a horse. It would be neat to see four together, forming the center flower.

And then there are some of these basic tiles seen on stairways throughout the Sunset:

This stairway has some styles I hadn't seen before. Perhaps they are newer?

And finally, sad, painted-over stair tiles:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Office Building

This office building is another one of those places I vaguely remember going into as a kid. I would love to know if anyone has any information about what it was originally.

(Update: This Henry Doelger's Headquarters. A "Doelger Homes" sign can be seen behind the gate on the left.)

It's on Judah between 8th and 9th Avenues.

The City records indicate the left half was built in 1914, and the right in 1940. With all that glass block, I don't think 1914 is right. But the addresses for the parcels don't seem to match the records either. Maybe there's another building behind it.

So many 1940's details from the clock to the numbers over the door.

Even the gate looks Art Deco to me.

Here's a peek inside:

I don't know if this sign is meant as a reference to the movie of the same name, or if the contact phone number just fell down.