The story of the unbuilt magical social club that exists only on paper is typical of the 1920s: it involved oceanfront real estate, a private club seeking out the well-to-do and nouveau riche, beauty queens, suspect business machinations, a grand jury investigation, and an ultimate lack of funds for the oversized ambitions of everyone involved.
A debate is raging in art, history and education worlds over the fate of one of the largest installations of New Deal era-funded murals in San Francisco. Artist Dewey Crumpler, now an associate professor at the San Francisco Art Institute, has seen this controversy before. He was once part of the solution. In the turbulence… Continue reading Defending Victor Arnautoff’s WPA-era murals at George Washington High School
Three iconic domed movie theaters representative of the futuristic roadside, or Googie, architecture of the late 1950s and 1960s, are set to show their last films on March 31. Last week, the current tenants of the Century 21 Theatre, Guggenheim Entertainment and the Retro Dome theater group, sent out an email alert that programming will… Continue reading Domed theaters in San Jose set for last picture show
Many San Franciscans remember the elegant department store that once graced the corner of Stockton and Geary streets, I. Magnin & Co. Like the City of Paris, once across Stockton Street, Ransohoff's a few blocks away, and many other long-gone stores, these beautifully designed and lushly appointed stores evoke memories of a by-gone era when… Continue reading Former I. Magnin ladies room looking good again
After realizing late in the day on September 26 that it was architect Tim Pflueger's birthday, I decided to walk within a short radius of my office downtown and photograph a few Pflueger buildings. The big reward while walking around on a lovely balmy evening was to see the newly renovated Telephone Building, now officially… Continue reading Happy Birthday Tim Pflueger, San Francisco still loves you!
There has been a lot of speculation about potential tenants for the Telephone Building since construction began in March on a major renovation project, which I wrote about in the Wall Street Journal. The $50 million-plus restoration and seismic retrofit of Timothy Pflueger's iconic Jazz Age skyscraper, which has been vacant for about six years, is underway. Owners Wilson Meany… Continue reading Lots going on at the Telephone Building
If you grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, or are a fan of the design style and architecture of the mid-century, Heather David's excellent book, Mid-Century by the Bay is a thoroughly enjoyable stroll down memory lane. David, a San Jose-based freelance writer and cultural historian, is also a Bay Area native, and her 152-page… Continue reading “Mid-Century By the Bay” book is a must-have
It's not a sight you want to see. As I came out of the Muni underground at Castro Street earlier this week, police cars were blocking traffic at the corner of Market and Castro, and three fire trucks and their crews were busy in front of Timothy Pflueger's famous Castro Theatre. Two long ladders were… Continue reading Castro Theatre saved from fire by SFFD
San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge will celebrate its 75th year in service next month. Big festivities are planned all over the city, including a "spectacular event" organized by the bridge authority for May 27 at Crissy Field. A special website has all the details for the upcoming Golden Gate Festival. This year, there will be no… Continue reading Golden Gate Bridge exhibit shows surprising influences
Local theatre buffs and preservationists have high hopes for a new project to save the New Mission Theatre, which has been empty and languishing for over a decade. In mid-February, a Texas group called the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema , and Toby Morris of Kerman Morris Architects, made a presentation at the city's architectural review committee… Continue reading High hopes for New Mission Theatre plans