Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Aladdin Radio

Aladdin Radio is on Irving and 17th Ave. I always liked the tile:

The Oregon historic vehicle plate caught my eye because my grandma's neighbor in Oregon collected old cars.

Thanks to reader Robert, I now can see that the gate is the shape of a Model T.

The shop is closed. But Grace Cunnane interviewed the owner, John Wentzel. Read her great blog entry here. He opened the business in 1946.

You can peek in the windows:

I wonder what the story is behind these footprints?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Name That Apartment

Just when I thought I would never find another named apartment building in the Sunset, I came across three today. I also had some waiting to make a big enough post. Now I'm afraid it is too long.

Can you name this apartment building?:

It may be 1970's style, but the entry is pretty at night:

Answer: the A Francis Apts. on the 1400 block of 20th Ave:

Here's another lovely:

The Swinging (I like to imagine) Swinford Apt. on the 1300 block of 10th Ave:

Just a block away is this beauty:

If this looks familiar, that's because a reader shared his photos on Flickr. It took a year and a half but I finally stumbled upon it on my own. Pretty funny since I pass 10th & Judah several times a week:

Can you handle the suspense? It's Sunset Village:

Next up:

These apartments are actually run by the 7th Avenue Church two doors down:

Park Sunset:

I was thrilled to find that one of my favorites is a named building (hey, at least I'm easy to thrill):

The 200 Irving Apartments:

Finally, I leave you with the obvious:

The difficult to photograph Sunset Towers Apartments aka Avalon Sunset Towers :

Here are the other posts with named apartments:

June 22, 2008
June 30, 2008
September 20th 2008
October 11, 2008

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Chirstmas

Dreaming of pastel houses and trees.

Monday, December 21, 2009

G B Jackson & Son

A couple weeks ago the sun was hitting this building at 1309-1317 20th Avenue just right and I could make out the old name. My friend had blogged about searching out the past life of another building so I decided to see what I could find.

The first challenge was getting back there at the right time on a sunny day in December to capture the letters. It says G B Jackson & Son. I looked in old San Francisco City Directories on-line to see what kind of business it was. The latest free one is from 1938, and it wasn't listed.

The parcel map is confusing, too. That address doesn't exist. This building seems to be considered part of the taller building on the corner.

(click on this for a big version where you can read the name)

Then I asked the trustee readers at the Western Neighborhoods Project message boards, and a fellow Norwegian clued me in. It was a hardware, furniture and appliance store in the 1940's. I'm still a little unclear about the building, there were different entrances, and this one was used later, when the business was just a hardware store. I have yet to find an old photo of it.

The well-loved Bowcock's market was next door on Irving Street. There are great photos of the grand opening at the San Francisco Public Library's Picture This collection. You can read about Robert Bowcock, who helped run the family business for many years and wrote a book about Butchertown, in this San Francisco Beacon article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Parkside Playboy

I've been travelling in the Outer Parkside lately. Unfortunately my camera is broken and I only have the clunker along sporadically. There are quite a few things I want to shoot.

Check out the gate to this bunny hutch:

It is right across the street from this:

Awesome garage door paint job.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Octagon House

Okay, it's not in the Sunset, but I thought that you would like to know that we have an octagon house here in the Outsidelands, up at Land's End in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Officially known as the Point Lobos Marine Exchange Lookout Station, the building is owned by the National Parks. It was built as part of system started in the Gold Rush that reported on ships entering the Golden Gate.

If you've ever hiked out there, you may have looked up above the trees and seen the pole. The family of the last lookout was allowed to live in the home after it was decommissioned. Last time I took a walk up to Fort Miley I noticed that the road to the building was no longer blocked off, so I went up to take a look.

I took some photos and when I got home checked the Western Neighborhoods Project for info about the building's fate. Be sure to read John Martini's great article about the building and the Marine Exchange. Did you know how Telegraph Hill got its name?

Saturday, August 1, 2009


It has been grey on my street for at least ten days now. There has not been the usual blowing off of fog in the afternoon. A couple days ago I walked two blocks toward the ocean and it was sunny. Seriously, I can look out and see sun to the east, which is normal, but also to the west, north and south, everywhere but here it seems.

So I've pulled out some sunny photos from my walk east of 19th Ave. It's been so long that I've forgotten the exact locations, drat. This mural and the garden that follows are somewhere around 11th and Noriega.

Lovely garden:

Check out the mouse on the mailbox:

And the artist's signature:

Down the street is Jack's Rose Garden.

I wonder what variety these lovelies are:

Saturday, July 18, 2009


I went for a bike ride, intending to take a bunch of photos, but all I got was this place on Kirkham at about Funston.

Look familiar? I posted about a similar one on 19th Ave. last year.

And remember this building at Irving and 9th? It was actually Henry Doelger's office building. Duh. Thanks David. And, also duh, I didn't know this Doelger window was there either, in the little building behind the driveway, even though I inadvertently took a picture of it.

My on purpose (advertant?) photo isn't great. Go look at David's in Flickr.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Zoo

The San Francisco Zoo is celebrating its 80th year. If you visit the website, you can see historic photos and videos and download the latest annual report which has a lot of great photos in it.

There will be a historical tour on August 1st. You can meet the author of the new book about the zoo. I bought my copy of "Images of America: San Francisco Zoo" by Katherine Girlich in the gift shop. It will be carried at bookstores, too. I enjoyed all the photos, some of them jarred long buried memories, like the trash cans with the enormous animal heads.

New at the Zoo, as part of their conservation and historical focus, is one of the 1906 Earthquake shacks. You can read all about them and the preservation efforts of the Western Neighborhoods Project here.

There have been so many changes at the zoo. There are a lot of things I miss. One day I will have been using the "new" entrance longer than I ever used the old one, but it will never be the same.

I took this shot of the Mother's building last Fall.

Like many people I have mixed feelings about zoos. Some argue that kids can see wildlife on television, so we no longer need to keep animals in captivity for them to experience. Some of the photos of animals make me sad, as do my memories of the old small cat cages.

I do know that the changes I lament about the zoo are made in large part to improve the animals' surroundings. There is still a lot to be done. I'll miss the old buildings, they are so tied to my childhood memories.

An inexpensive ($3.50) book published by the zoo in 2004 is for sale in the gift shop. It is only 32 pages long, but well worth the cost. It has color photos, and are not all the same as the Arcadia Publishing book.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

More Weather Vanes

Ship in the fog on Kirkham. Check out the rigging.


Just passing through?

And a final vessel heading west.