I came across the above image the other day, which is of the intersection at Powell and Sutter in 1895. I realize that this is most definitely not the Loin, but it’s a great shot of how this general area used to look. I’ve never seen this shot before for some reason and it’s really sad given that everything there was leveled in 1906 with the Big One. And yes, your eyes don’t deceive you, there was a cable car on Sutter.
If you take a look at the affected devastation areas you see that the Tenderloin was pretty much completely obliterated by the earthquake and fire. Had that not happened, obviously a great many things would have been different in San Francisco, but probably the biggest one is that the Loin wouldn’t be the Loin as we know it. It would have been full of single dwelling homes that would have looked a great deal more like Alamo Square than the tall, multi-dwelling apartments that we have now. Don’t get me wrong, because of when the earthquake happened, we really got some great architecture rebuilt in the place where all was lost. It’s just that I like to muse about what maybe coulda been.