Trolley Modeling in N Scale

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San Francisco Bars ~ Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I came across an odd estate sale; some ladies were selling a large assortment of old items out of two shipping containers in an industrial parking lot. I picked out a bag of reproduction (I assume) Roman coins, a planer, and a how-to book about drawing; I asked if they had any old postcards, since I collect vintage postcards with a theme you will have no trouble guessing.

They didn't, but they said they had some old pictures I might find anything. Apparently this sale was the estate of a late relative who had managed bars in San Franciso, and there were a few pictures he had taken of them.

Four of the five pictures can be arranged in a sequence to show most of a city block (click on them for larger version):

I was curious where exactly these buildings were, and if they might be still standing. First I tried "old school" research methods: I found a local SF genealogy website with a collection of scanned city directories. I found one of the hotels listed in a 50's city directory, but only one. Of course hotels go out of business, often leaving their signs up, carrying on as rentals.

Noticing the fairly unique sounding name of the establishment in the last picture above, "Jay Hurley's Sportorium", I tried an internet search and found a listing of negatives from the SF assessor's archives, listed by address.

Third Street, 44  Hotel King, Jay Hurley’s Sportorium, Barrel House
Third Street, 48 Barrel House
Third Street, 56 Kentucky Rummy
Third Street, 66 Westchester Hotel, Golden Gate News, Kentucky Rummy
Third Street, 82 Kurant’s Western Outfitters, Knox Hotel

Score one for modern/lazy research methods.

Unfortunately all these buildings are gone; the site is now occupied by an architecturally uninspired Westin Hotel.

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The Office Depot + garage across the street is worse.

In the pictures, note the streetcar tracks. Those are for Market St Ry's 15/16/29 lines. The 15 evolved into a Muni bus line, which was recently replaced on most of its route by the T Third, though not on this part of 3rd Street.

The fifth picture has a small building, with only a small sign not legible even in my physical copy, and remains a mystery.

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