Monday, April 9, 2012

Jose's (possible name), 399 1st Street at Harrison, San Francisco, CA

On March 30, 1934, an application for a building permit alteration was submitted for a double face horizontal neon sign for this address. The owner was Ed Minster.[ 4]

On 4/15/37 an application for building permit alteration was submitted, stating that the use of the building was as a cafe.[5]

In 1937, Jerry's father opened the bar with a partner, possibly Allen Gordon as he is listed in the 1937 Polk's City Directory under "Liquors Retail", pg. 1653. There’s no listing in the 1938 Polk's City Directory.

Jose Garcia is listed as working at 399 1st Street in the 1940 (pg. 488, 1587), 1942 (pg. 523) and 1944 (pg. 579) Polk's City Directories.
In 1947, everything changed as Jerry's dad drowned in the Trinity River in Northern California while fishing (Jerry claimed he watched all this go down....). This meant that momma Ruth now ran "Garcia's" and had less and less time to keep an eye on Jerry and Tiff. That meant mischief was brewing in the young Jerry mind!

In the 1951 Polk's City Directory, pg. 486, Ruth Garcia is listed as a bartender and the widow of Jose.

The bar was sold to the state, which had chosen that block as the site of a freeway entrance.[3]
In 1954, Ruth and family had to leave Garcia's at 399 First Street as Union Oil decided to build their office headquarters on the site. The Union Oil tower at 399 First Street, designed by George Hunt, was completed on July 26, 1955.[2] The Union Oil Company Oil Building was a two-part Art Moderne office block with adjoining tower, designed by George Hunt. The vertical tower — in the shape of a pylon — provides an excellent counterpoint to the office block, characterized by horizontal window bands on a glazed white tile facade. It's architect, Lewis Hobart, took advantage of an elevated site to design a 138-foot triangular tower, whose white cladding was relieved by a vertical blue strip and orange triangle bearing the name of the company.

After the Garcia's moved across the street to 400 1st Street, they renamed the bar "The 400 Club."[1]

By 1970, Donna Jean Thatcher (Godchaux) was living in San Francisco and processing credit cards for Union Oil of California (Unocal) at the same address as Garcia’s Bar.

In 1995, the Union Oil Company logo was replaced with a logo for the Bank of America, and the blue strip was removed. The tower was not only an advertisement, but also the most prominent point of reference for Rincon Hill. A great digital clock displayed the time to travelers en route to the Bay Bridge or nearby freeways.
The Union Oil office buildings were ripped down in the mid-1990's so that the Rincon Hill Towers could be built.

Jerry spent a lot of time here in 

Jose's?, 399 1st and Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA
3.)^Troy, Sandy, Captain Trips, pg. 10.
4.)^application for a building permit alteration, 1934-03-30, City and County of san Francisco

5.)^application for a building permit alteration, 1934-04-015, City and County of san Francisco

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Yeah, the sea shanties did feature some on the Harry Smith anthology, but they must have been doubly resonant for young Jerry.

    Great post. Wild.