San Francisco’s famous Hayes Valley today – a hot spot of gorgeous architecture, one-of-a-kind boutiques, rare book shops, funnest ( and coolest toys) and , of course, amazing food and Blue Bottle coffee has not always been the “must visit” spot on every tourist’s check-off list.
Where the terms “ladies of the street” and “gentlemen of the street” once identified those who conducted an illegal exchange of various earthly sins for money, today are referrable to the street’s myriad window shoppers and restaurant-goers. Where the tenements once stood, now there are trendy fashion boutiques, SoHo-style funky art galleries, high-end interior-decorating shops, top-notch restaurants and hip nightspots.
After the 1849 California Gold Rush, Italian immigrants from around Genoa developed produce farms on the sandy soil of the Hayes Valley neighborhood.Michael Hayes, who, in 1856, was on the committee which named the streets of this development, may have been instrumental in naming Hayes Street after his brother, Thomas, a large landholder in the neighborhood who was then serving as country clerk.
Hayes Valley was built out with many grand Victorian residences, as well as the smaller residences built to house the craftspeople at work on the mansions. Primary streets with big houses were named after influential local citizens (Hayes and Gough) and families (McAllister), while streets with the smaller houses carry botanical names such as Ivy, Linden, and Hickory.
Hayes Valley came to prominence when film director Erich von Stroheim chose the corner of Hayes and Laguna for the filming of his 1924 epic “Greed.” His affections were for a 19th-century Victorian that had been built in the early 1880s by Col. Michael Hayes as an amusement pavilion, though word has it Hayes constructed the building to lure an extension of the streetcar line to Hayes Valley. The building survived the 1906 earthquake and fire and at the time of filming was occupied only on the ground floor, by a French laundry and the Hayes Valley Pharmacy, which remained in business until the 1960s. Stroheim created signs for a dentist’s office and a photographer’s workplace for the movie, which fooled some locals into believing they were real.The film included numerous shots from the top floor of the building looking down on Hayes Valley. He also used 595-597 Hayes, a building that acted as a storeroom in the 1920s, as the site of the saloon in the film.
Hayes Valley’s past may have changed, but the unmoving sense of community is what holds today’s neighborhood together. When the information on demolition and re-construction of 580 Hayes St was confirmed, the local artists came together to present one of the best local artists exhibits we were to witness, which was met with big success. The part II is now on. Here is a peek to what scene I had to show.
^^ these were some of my absolute favorite pieces. don’t ask why – i just loved it all. no other explanation. ^^
^^ we walked those streets. it is so interesting to see how others view what we all see with the same eyes ^^
^^ we spent some time reading about this particular exhibit. “red tomato cans” ^^
^^ work of Mark Baugh – Sasaki. I could spend hours here ^^
^^ no words. but very powerful. ^^
^^ Evyianne just went ahead and slept through the entire time. maybe somewhere deep I was slightly disappointed that his first conscious visit to an exhibit opening would be in snooze mode, but on the bright side we had a couple hours of unlimited enjoyment and uninterrupted time to answer every question other kids asked ^^