Friday, February 1, 2013

Winterland, Post and Steiner, San Francisco, CA

Sports, in particular boxing, were always subjects of keen interest to Edward J. Lynch, and he erected the old Dreamland Auditorium in San Francisco, and continued to operate it until the new Dreamland was constructed, and he became president of Dreamland Auditorium, Incorporated, the operating company.

1912 at the old Dreamland
After some legal difficulties in New York with Oscar Hammerstein that blocked her from performing, Tetrazzini held a press conference and declared, "I will sing in San Francisco if I have to sing there in the streets, for I know the streets of San Francisco are free." This line became famous. She won her legal case, and her agent announced she would sing in the streets of San Francisco. On a crystal clear Christmas Eve in 1910, at the corner of Market and Kearney near Lotta's Fountain, Tetrazzini climbed a stage platform in a sparkling white gown, surrounded by a throng of an estimated two to three-hundred thousand San Franciscans, and serenaded the city she loved.[2] She was 39 years old at the time.  Tetrazzini sang "The Last Rose of Summer," and her voice, reverberating off the walls of the office buildings, carried for blocks. "If you closed your eyes," wrote Samuel Dickson, who was there, "you would have thought yourself alone in the world with that beautiful voice.
"I was two blocks away," he wrote years later, "and every note was crystal clear, every word distinct."(8)
Tetrazzini possessed an extraordinary vocal technique that enabled her to surmount any vocal challenge with almost insolent ease. She had complete mastery of runs, trills, staccati and vocal ornaments of all kinds. She also had a brilliant upper register, extending to F above high C. Unlike many other coloratura sopranos, such as Amelita Galli-Curci, Tetrazzini's high notes were not thin and delicate, but full, powerful and ringing. On the debit side of the ledger, her vocal registers were not as well-integrated as those belonging to her direct soprano rival, Nellie Melba

This is from 1915 so it must be the Old Dreamland, a rundown barn.

To Mr. Lynch much credit is due for the erection of the new Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco's great center of entertainment. His ability as an organizer, as an electrical contractor and builder were qualities which well fitted him for the task of superintending the construction. The list of officers first chosen for the new edifice indicates the men whose efforts and interest brought about this civic feature. These officers are: Edward J. Lynch, president; Isadore Zellerbach, vice president; Andrew F. Mahoney, David Zellerbach, and Philip Ehrlich, directors. Ward & Blohme, architects, designed the building; James L. McLaughlin, of the building firm of James L. McLaughlin Company, was superintendent of construction; and the general contractors were Barrett & Hi1p. The building was constructed with the idea of providing, first of all, for the comfort of the patrons. Spaciousness of aisles, stairs, ramps, rest rooms, corridors and parking concourse are distinguishing features; increased number of ticket windows, of entrances and exits, and other mechanical aides are also notable. One of the most unique improvements is the boxing ring and the main floor, each of which is manipulative by means of hydraulic machinery. The floor may be inclined or leveled by a single switch, and the ring, in the center of the main floor, is in the nature of an elevator. For boxing it is raised four feet above the floor level for the better view of the audience, and between bouts it is lowered to the basement, where the dressing rooms of the boxers are situated, and takes on the participants in the next bout, after which it is again raised into view of the spectators. The ring may also be secured at floor level for other types of entertainment, then being an integral part of the main floor space.(2)
Opening on June 29, 1928, it was originally known as the "New Dreamland Auditorium."(6)
It was built in 1928 for the then astronomical cost of $1 million.
Dreamland was at the same location where Winterland was later built.

I think if you click on the image it enlarges, page 1

Page 2
Jack Johnson was the world heavyweight boxing champion from 1908 to 1915, the first black to hold that title.
When he was champion, he did a lot of training in San Francisco, and in Alameda on the beach. They had championship fights in San Francisco in those days, in clubs. But in 1914, boxing was banned in California. In the 1920's, it was limited to four rounds. Any fight here was sort of an exhibition.
They had fights every week at the Oakland Auditorium. And in San Francisco, they held them at the corner of Post and Steiner. I watched "Young Jack" Thompson fight there. He was a black man who became the welterweight champion in 1930.(1)
From 1931 to 1936 Lew Savin, a boxer, fought 25 times at Dreamland. Joe Rondon, a light heavyweight, fought there 22 times.
Boxing at Dreamland
Dreamland-roller skating

On February 26, 1931, Paul Robeson gave a concert of Negro spirituals, accompanied by Lawrence Brown, at Dreamland Auditorium, San Francisco. Paul Robeson used his deep baritone voice to promote black spirituals, to share the cultures of other countries and to benefit the social movements of his time.  He sang for peace and justice in 25 languages throughout the United States, Europe, the Soviet Union and the Third World. He rose to prominence in a time when segregation was legal in America and black people were being lynched by white mobs, especially in the South.

On March 8, 1931, Ignacy Paderewski performed Variations and Fugue on a theme by Haendel.
San Jose Mercury News, November 8, 1932

On May 28, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened and Dreamland had the Industrial and Manufacturers Exposition, showing off new California products.

Wrestling matches were held at Dreamland from January 4, 1938 to September 27, 1938.(4).
Jerry Flamm's book "Hometown San Francisco" describes Dreamland in great detail.

Sometime after 1938, the name was changed to Winterland. In its early years it served as an ice skating rink that could be converted to an entertainment venue. Early acts/shows at Winterland included Shipstad and Johnson's Ice Follies. It also was host to opera, boxing, and tennis.
1941, the balcony is closed off by the scenery.

Winterland (an ice-skating arena and home of the Ice Follies) stood out like a very large, very sore thumb in its rundown San Francisco neighborhood: a great, hulking thing of no particular architectural distinction.
Located at the corner of Post Street and Steiner Street, it was converted to exclusive use as a music venue in 1971 by legendary rock promoter Bill Graham.

Musicians also had their problems with the building. Bob Weir called it an "acoustical snakepit," and his co-conspirators in the Grateful Dead were forever trying to talk Graham into custom-building them a dream venue to the band's exacting specifications. That wish unfulfilled, the Dead exacted their own sonic revenge on Winterland, helping prematurely with the building's demolition during its later years: sometimes, when things got really loud - and especially when Phil Lesh loosed the low-frequency thunder of his mighty bass - chunks of plaster would break free from the ceiling and rain down to the floor (or the heads of patrons) below.
On November 30, 1976, The Band played their last concert, known as The Last Waltz.

After the Grateful Dead closed the building in 1978 with a wild New Year's Eve party, Winterland was put to rest.

Jerry performed here on
3/3/67 Grateful Dead
3/17/67 Grateful Dead
3/18/67 Grateful Dead
5/30/67 Grateful Dead
10/22/67 Grateful Dead
10/31/67 Grateful Dead
11/12/67 Grateful Dead
4/3/68 Grateful Dead
12/31/68 Grateful Dead
5/2/69 Grateful Dead
5/3/69 Grateful Dead
5/23/69 Grateful Dead
"Bill Graham brought out Mongo Santa Maria to open for the Dead and the Airplane- who all played way past 2 am- so Bill called it a private party and had the doors locked-(he never pulled the plug) this is before Santana- the Conga's and Horn Section Mongo had lit up the room- Betty Cantor and the SBD staff were all on the floor dancing which is why there is no real soundboard tape of this show...the Airplane took the stage for a late set at 3am- the Dead finishing their 3rd encore at 2:30."(9)

5/28/69 Grateful Dead
10/24/69 Grateful Dead
10/25/69 Grateful Dead
10/26/69 Grateful Dead
4/15/70 Grateful Dead
10/4/70 Grateful Dead
10/5/70 Grateful Dead
12/23/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
12/31/70 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
3/24/71 Grateful Dead
5/28/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage
5/29/71 New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Grateful Dead
5/30/71 Grateful Dead
12/31/71 Grateful Dead
1/2/72 Grateful Dead
3/5/72 Grateful Dead
10/9/72 Grateful Dead
11/3/72 Rowan Brothers, New Riders Of The Purple Sage
12/10/72 Grateful Dead
12/11/72 Grateful Dead
12/12/72 Grateful Dead
12/31/72 Grateful Dead
10/2/73 Merl Saunders
11/9/73 Grateful Dead
11/10/73 Grateful Dead
11/11/73 Grateful Dead
1/11/74 Merl Saunders
1/12/74 Merl Saunders
2/22/74 Grateful Dead
2/23/74 Grateful Dead
2/24/74 Grateful Dead
10/16/74 Grateful Dead
10/17/74 Grateful Dead
10/18/74 Grateful Dead
10/19/74 Grateful Dead
10/20/74 Grateful Dead
6/17/75 Grateful Dead
12/19/75 Jerry Garcia Band
12/20/75 Jerry Garcia Band
3/18/77 Grateful Dead
3/19/77 Grateful Dead
3/20/77 Grateful Dead
6/7/77 Grateful Dead
6/8/77 Grateful Dead
6/9/77 Grateful Dead
12/27/77 Grateful Dead
12/29/77 Grateful Dead
12/30/77 Grateful Dead
12/31/77 Grateful Dead
10/17/78 Grateful Dead
10/18/77 Grateful Dead
10/20/78 Grateful Dead
10/21/78 Grateful Dead
10/22/78 Grateful Dead
12/31 78 Grateful Dead

1.)^Fleming, Thomas C., 1999-07-21, Black boxing champions
2.)^Flamm, Jerry, Hometown San Francisco: Sunny Jim, Phat Willie, & Dave
3.)^Byington, Lewis Frances, S.J. Clark Publishing, 1931Biography of Edward J. Lynch,
4.)^Hornbaker, Tim, 2007-11-10,
5.)^The Opening Fiesta,
7.)^Saperstein, Susan, Grauman's Theaters,
8.)^Nolte, Carl, Luisa Tetrazzini's gift ends S.F. era on high note, 2010-12-24,
9.)^Jackstraw7313, comments, 2008-07-08,


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Great stuff!
    However the first photo is of the National Theatre. Although on the same block as Winterland its cross street was Sutter. I lived directly across the street from Winterland's front entrance from 1984 to 1990, and watched it being "broken down".

    March 15, 2013 at 3:10 PM

  3. Thanks Blue, I deleted it. Did you happen to take any photos?

  4. My roommate took a few.
    I shot some poor quality Polaroids.
    I'll see what I can dig up for you.
    I also have a number of boxing and wrestling programs.
    Including one from 1928!

  5. Edward J Lynch is my great-grandfather, and I am a 6th generation San Franciscan still living in the city. Thank you for posting this.

  6. Hi Matthew,
    Thank you for posting. Please email me at

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