3/21/10

What became of the HOTEL STEWART ON GEARY STREET?


A postcard of an old hotel in San Francisco called the Stewart Hotel at 353 Geary Street, San Francisco. Usually when you go in search of old buildings they're gone. A developer had a better idea than those that came before. Apparently this time the building has been saved. I'm guessing from the cars in the street that this is either late 1930s to 1940s.

If you look closely you can see a Union Pacific sign hanging on the front. And I get a kick out of the dress shops on the right.

Hotel Stewart_Geary Street_SF_tatteredandlost

Hotel Stewart_Geary Street_SF_bk_tatteredandlost
Click on images to see them larger.


I can't find any history of the Stewart Hotel, but what stands in its place now is the same building, I believe, renovated, and now called the Handlery Union Square Hotel. The photo to the left is from Google showing the building in 2009.

To see a few photos of the interior of the old hotel go to Alamedainfo.com and scroll down to midway on the page.

Note that this is a Curt Teich card.

UPDATE: I received the following from a reader. Click on the link to see a vintage menu from the hotel.
Here is a breakfast menu from Hotel Stewart that is part of a menu collection recently donated to Johnson & Wales University Library, Providence, RI. Based on the scope of the collection, I would guess this is probably from the 1940s. 
Menu link  for Johnson & Wales University Library
________________________

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33 comments:

  1. I'd love to do a little time traveling and stay at the Stewart Hotel, buy myself a dress or two next door, and ride in one of those nice old cars.

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  2. Me too! Isn't that what makes ephemera so wonderful? The chance to step back in time through our imagination.

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  3. It certainly looks nicer then than now.

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  4. Wonderful, thank you for sharing! And those interiors make me really wish I'd been able to stay there!

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  5. I'm just happy to see they kept as much of the original as possible. It certainly wasn't a beautiful building, but so many structures in San Francisco got stripped down in the 50s to make them better off dead. Buildings that once had interesting Victorian structure suddenly were turned into bland stucco. Gradually people have been putting back what was stripped off. I wish I could find out some history of the building.

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  6. I'm doing research on a woman who traveled from Minneapolis to Szechuan in 1932. She stayed at the Stewart Hotel before setting sail. So I just happen to be searching around for Stewart Hotel info today. I found several old postcards at Ebay showing the exterior and lobby of the hotel. So there are more photos to be seen.

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    1. Pic of office & lobby of Stewart Hotel -- http://www.timeshutter.com/image/office-and-lobby-hotel-stewart-geary-near-powell-street-san-francisco-california

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    2. Dining Room pic:
      http://www.ipernity.com/doc/57114/6869721

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  7. Noel, feel free to add a links you've found to a comment. Love to see more of the Stewart.

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  8. Anonymous9/12/2011

    Thank you for posting this picture ! My grand father staid at this Hotel in december 1909 on his World Tour. He had just arrived from Japan on the steamer ship "Mongolia" and was about to rush through the States by train to New York. He was a belgian rich young man.
    Aude from Lille, France.

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  9. Aude,

    Glad to hear this post was memorable for you. Thrilled to hear about someone who stayed there. Did he keep a journal of his travels?

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  10. Anonymous12/05/2012

    I stayed at the Hotel Stewart in 1968 when I attended a conference at Bank of America. I remember an old and fairly staid room with no bathroom attached. Noticing several doors across the room from the bed I was filled with curiosity. So I opened one at a time and found a sink and mirror behind one, behind another door was a commode, and behind the third was bath. What a hoot! As I remember it was just down the street from Union Square.

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    1. This is just grand! It sounds like it would have made a good Marx Brother's movie. What's behind door # 1?

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  11. My grandmother, and Armenian immigrant who could neither read nor write English, was a chambermaid at the Stewart in the 30's and 40's. She was later "promoted" to elevator operator. In those days elevators were all operated by people.

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    1. That's wonderful to hear. It must have been a pretty dreadful job, but I have to say I miss the days when there was a person on the elevator. Thanks for the post.

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  12. Anonymous3/03/2013

    My parents took me to SF and we stayed at Hotel Stewart. Our room was on 3rd floor and looked out on the street. I remember running from the room to the elevator to push the button and being severely reprimanded for this outburst. You could see the elevator cables through the glass doors while waiting for the elevator.

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    1. Glad you found the post. Bit by bit people are putting the old place back together with memories.

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  13. Anonymous3/12/2014

    Here is a breakfast menu from Hotel Stewart that is part of a menu collection recently donated to Johnson & Wales University Library, Providence, RI. Based on the scope of the collection, I would guess this is probably from the 1940s. http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/hotel_menus/62/.

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    1. Thank you very much! I'll add the link to the post.

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  14. Anonymous5/16/2015

    my parents have stayed in this hotel in 1977, my mother will look for some pictures, their dutch so am i. I will go on holliday in july to san fransisco with my family

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    1. Remember to bring a coat. Though it will be summer in California, San Francisco has its own definition of the season. It could be very cold in the city, but across the Golden Gate Bridge it could be very hot. So pack accordingly.

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  15. My great grandfather Morris Jones was the supervisor in charge when the Stewart hotel was built. My cousins and I visited it in Dec 2014 and the exterior was slightly run down but sort of modernised inside. My other great was in charge of the boiler at the old St. Francis on Union Square and the families intermarried Snowdonia (North Wales) and South Wales ancestry. My grandfather Thomas Jones continued as a builder in San Francisco to about 1960 and his best projects were the Carmelite monasteries in Santa Clara and Monterey. My cousin was also a builder in the area.

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    1. Thank you Kyle. It's always great to add some personal history to these posts. I appreciate it.

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  16. I just found out my parents stayed in the hotel on their way to China in January, 1946. Not knowing this, both our daughters have stayed in the hotel multiple times in the past half dozen years.

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    1. That's quite fun! Glad you found the post.

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  17. Anonymous1/16/2017

    My family stayed at the Hotel Stewart many times between 1964 and 1994. We lived down the coast. A couple of times a year, my father would go to San Francisco to see the baseball games and he would always stay at the Hotel Stewart. My brothers would go with Dad on one of the trips. My mother and I would go to San Francisco and stay at the Hotel Stewart, but less often. It was comfortable and familiar. It was close to all the shops and the cable car stops. I remember there was a pool, but don't know if there was a restaurant as we usually ate at less expensive places.

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    1. It's always fun to hear how fond people are of this place. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

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  18. Anonymous8/06/2017

    I have a post card dated February 2, 1918 from my Dad to my Mom. It is a picture of the Lobby there. My Dad was off to China and Russia selling The Educator Shoe from Rice and Hutchins and International Shoe Company. He left from Boston, MA.
    A. Rath

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    1. Glad you found the post. If you'd like to share the front of the card I'd enjoy adding it to the post.

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  19. Between 1961 and 1963, Herb Caen wrote up a few items about an Emperor Norton Bar or, perhaps, Emperor Norton Room at the Stewart. He said the spot had a dedicated street entrance on Geary — and, in one item, Caen mentions seeing Jack Dempsey and Lefty O'Doul sharing a drink there.

    Any intel or images of this spot?

    Cheers!

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    1. Good old Herb. I do miss him. I have not seen any images of this, but I'll keep my eyes open.

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    2. Cheers! The earliest of the 1961 items from Caen teases the opening of the bar — but I've not yet been able to determine for how many years it was open.

      I lead a San Francisco-based nonprofit, The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, that works on a variety of fronts — research, education, advocacy — to advance the legacy of Emperor Norton.

      We always are interested to learn about the multitude of ways that the Emperor has been kept alive in art and culture.

      J

      http://www.EmperorsBridge.org

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