Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cadillac Hotel, 380 Eddy Street, San Francisco, CA

In a history by Herbert Asbury, the coining of “tenderloin” is ascribed to the New York Police Department’s Captain Alexander Williams, who in 1879 was reportedly transferred to the 29th Precinct that had jurisdiction over an area called Satan’s Circus. When asked by a friend why he seemed so pleased about his transfer, Williams alluded to extortion payments made to police by the area’s shady and illicit businesses, saying,
"I’ve had nothing but chuck steak for a long time, and now I’m going to get a little of the tenderloin."
While the story of its origin is anecdotal, the euphemism was well-chosen and from New York the term’s usage spread across the country to San Francisco; both Chicago and Los Angeles, for example, had their own Tenderloins.(4)

The historic Cadillac Hotel was the first non-profit “Single-Residence Occupancy” (SRO) hotel West of the Mississippi.  It provides supportive housing for approximately 160 tenants and is an official San Francisco landmark.  Built the year after the 1906 earthquake, the Cadillac was home to wealthy visitors in the first part of the 20th century.  The hotel even had its own furrier.
It was briefly owned in the 1960's by GAP founder Don Fisher who removed some of its historic detail.
 In 1977, the Cadillac was bought by the non-profit Reality House West, led by Leroy and Kathy Looper.  Together, The Loopers remained actively involved in the day-to-day operations of the hotel until Mr. Looper's death in September, 2011.  Kathy Looper remains executive director of the hotel's Board of Directors.  For over three decades the Cadillac has provided affordable housing and support services for thousands of low-income single adults who would otherwise have no place to go.
The original Grand Ballroom was leased for many years by Newman’s Gym, a legendary training facility for boxers.  Muhammed Ali and Mayor Willie Brown are said to have worked out there. When its owner, Don Stewart passed away in 1995, the Loopers leased the space to a federal Head Start program (administered by SFSU) which promotes school readiness and provides health and social services for children up to three years old.  This is in keeping with the Looper's efforts over many years, to maintain the residential character of the Tenderloin.  There is not enough space here to describe the Looper’s life of giving.
Leroy Looper, a gentle giant and innovator, was known as “The Father of the Tenderloin”.  He and his wife, Kathy, have dedicated their lives to letting people who are down on their luck — know that someone cares about them. Since 1907, the Cadillac Hotel has been known as "The House of Welcome".
The Patricia Walkup Memorial Piano is at home in the lobby of the Cadillac Hotel — and is one of the great pianos in the City. A fully-restored 1884 Steinway Model D Concert Grand Piano, it was donated to the hotel in memory of Patricia Walkup, a San Francisco activist and former volunteer at the Cadillac.  The lustre of the Indian Rosewood case is a work of art.  The old-growth spruce soundboard is the piano's original.  The instrument is meticulously maintained on a regular basis.
    The Cadillac Hotel is an unlikely place for this magificent instrument.  But then that is the whole idea.  Music has the power to transform and uplift people — no matter what their station in life.(3)

Historic San Francisco Landmark # 176.(3)
Hotel with 170 rooms and ninety-one baths in two-, three-, and four-room suites.
Architects: Meyer and O’Brien. 1907. dining room converted to boxing gym in 1924.
Owner: Andrew A. Louderback, poultry, game, and distilling (1907), Reality House West (1977) A spacious lobby with a red marble fireplace, a mezzanine-level gallery, and grand stairways to a former dining room together indicate that the Cadillac was designed to attract tourists as well as permanent residents.(4)

Jerry rehearsed here in
Summer 1961.
"Jerry lived with John "The Cool" Winter in this hotel on O'Farrell Street (wrong street), which was just down from I.Magnin's", Barbara Meir says. "So I'd walk those five blocks from Magnin's down to the hotel to see him. It's hard to say what they were doing . I think they had a little benzedrine  and they were kind of racing around the city. I remember being with them and we'd rave around. We'd go to parties or drive over to KPFA in Berkeley. Little impromptu gigs and parties would turn up."(1)

"He stayed for a while with John "the Cool" Winter at the Cadillac Hotel, in the seedy Tenderloin District, living largely on potatoes and carrots they stole from the produce market on the Embarcadero."(5)

"Later, in the summer of 1962, in Palo Alto, John "the Cool" Winter would introduce Phil Lesh to Jerry Garcia." (2)

1.)^Jackson, Blair, Garcia, An American Life, pg 41
2.)^McNally, Dennis, A Long Strange Trip, pg. 38, 39.
5.)^McNally, Dennis, A Long Strange Trip, pg. 34, http://books.google.com/books?id=sWCRWJnTTF8C&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=norm+%22pogo%22+fontaine&source=bl&ots=lLFJsUVMPm&sig=FqvZvbs75rnMhO99EEiRHc-dvio&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wlNaUIWBBaS6yAGbloGAAQ&ved=0CCQQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=norm%20%22pogo%22%20fontaine&f=false

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