So I was researching some San Francisco history when I saw this bit from the Chronicle’s archives on Oct. 4, 1910:
Last night marked the closing of the dancing in the Tenderloin, and up to 1 o’clock, the habitues of the various places made the best of their opportunities in tripping the light fantastic in the smoke-laden atmosphere of their favorite places of amusement. The order has gone forth that with the beginning of the administration of Chief Seymour the “bunny hug” and the “hug-me-tight” would live in memory only. Another rule going into effect today is that no female habitues of the Tenderloin will be allowed to puff their usual cigarettes in public.
For reference, the bunny hug is a dance that’s said to have originated in the dance halls of San Francisco. Allegedly, it was an interpretation of bunnies humping. Fun! There was even a bunny hug cocktail which would be enough to make anyone want to get it on: “whiskey, gin, and pastis, stirring over ice (or shaking) and straining into a cocktail glass.”
I love the last bit in the Chron article about women not being allowed to smoke in the Loin. One wonders what exactly the Loin was like just 4 years after the 1906 quake. I looked through a 1906 San Francisco phonebook and didn’t see any addresses in the Tenderloin. Probably because it looked like this:
Comparing the addresses in the pre-quake, 1903 phone book to the current plan, it looks like a lot of consolidation went on after the quake. There are about 5 buildings on my side of the street, but back in 1903 there were about twice that. But even though pre-quake Tenderloin is hard to imagine, seems the area still had flavor, though a slightly posher one. On my current block in 1903 you could find a rooming house, the Princeton Hotel, Waldeck Sanatorium, and private homes. My neighbors would have included John Boyce, grocer; W.M. Copeland; W.R. Hanna; Mrs. E. Krupp; Dr. William P. Sprague. And up the hill, at California? A certain Mr. W.H. Crocker. Sound familiar? Yeah, he’s that Crocker, for which the glory of the Crocker Galleria is named. And damn, he was swank. Check out his amazing crib, below. Fabulous, but if he lived anywhere in a 10 block radius of me, I probably wouldn’t be able to afford the rent. Maybe I could stay at the Sanatorium.