Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mars Hotel, 192 4th at Howard Street, San Francisco, CA

This photo is dated November 14, 1963, at the corner of 4th and Howard - S. F. News-Call Bulletin photo by Eddie Murphy.

The San Francisco public library historical photo collection has one single photo of the Mars Hotel at 192 4th Street at the corner of 4th and Howard, where the Moscone Center is today. 3rd and 4th streets near Mission and Howard was a low income area in the 60's and 70's similar to 6th street today and was demolished to make way for the Moscone Center in the 80's.

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Kerouac wrote about the ‘Mars Hotel on 4th and Howard’ while in Big Sur.
"Coming 3000 miles from my home in Long Island in a pleasant roomette on the California Zephyr train watching America roll by..." To San Francisco where Jack stays "at my"secret" skid row hotel (the Mars on 4th and Howard).(1)

This photo was found inside a Mars Hotel album cover in 1980

This is how the property looks today, 2012.
David Bowie also uses a clip of himself in front of the Mars Hotel in the "Jean Genie" video...check it on Youtube...its only for a few seconds.(2)

The Grateful Dead Movie includes film of the hotel being demolished.

New Year's Eve Parade Float!

Jerry and his guitar hung out here in 1974, one block away from Columbia Records, a division of CBS Studios, while making the album, Mars Hotel (released 6/27/74).
1.)^Kerouac, Jack,"Big Sur", First published 1962 by Farrar Straus and Giroux
2.)^Iorio, John, Rock  and Roll Roadmaps,


  1. Great history here...! However- one correction- the David Bowie video you reference is not for 'Rebel Rebel' but "The Jean Genie" from 1972 directed and filmed by Mick Rock.

  2. Great snippet of history and an answer to why the dead named that album. Thanks.

  3. I watched his hotel get torn down from my office window at 657 Mission St.

    1. Hi, do you know of any photos identifying the details of the bar that Bowie sat at ?

  4. My great uncle, who had a lifelong struggle with mental health, lived here in the 1940's, according to his draft card in 1941. He sold newspapers. My dad used to periodically have to go to the police station and pick him up and take him back home. Cool that it turned into an iconic location, even so.

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  6. Said day when the mars was demolished

  7. Small Chinese laundry to the left of hotel entrance. Did pressing old fashion way spraying water from mouth onto laundry.

  8. Hi, I'm wondering if anyone has any photos of what the old bar looked like?

  9. Bowie's Jean Genie video features brief video of the hotel.