Dave of the blog Squalor and Despair (already one of our favorite Tenderblog readers, we must say) reminded us of another famous book set mostly in the Tenderloin: McTeague: A Story of San Francisco by Frank Norris (of Frank Norris alley fame, which runs between Larkin and Polk, Pine and Bush).

The book, which was written in 1899, describes the life of a turn-of-the-century dentist in Polk street, named McTeague (his first name is never revealed). What we didn’t know, though, is that the book was the basis for Erich von Stroheim’s classic film, Greed (the thing one learns by having a blog).

As it turns out, the whole book is available at Google Books, which means that we really don’t have any excuse for not having read it. For those uncultured people like us, here’s the opening paragraph to give you a little taste of it and hopefully to inspire you to read it:

It was Sunday, and according to his custom on that day, McTeague took his dinner at two in the afternoon at the car conductor’s coffee joint on Polk street. He had a gray, thick soup; heavy, underdone meat, very hot, on a cold plate; two kinds of vegetables; and a sort of suet pudding, full of strong butter and sugar. On his way back to his office, one block above, he stopped at Joe Frenna’s saloon and bought a pitcher of steam beer. It was his habit to leave the pitcher there on his way to dinner.

Photo by Tenderblog

Obviously, the McTeague’s Saloon on 1237 Polk street (which, by the way, has a happy hour every day until 7pm) is named after the book and you can guess why it has a tooth hanging from the facade…