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Outside Lands Podcast Episode 502: 834 Irving

Nicole & Arnold visit 834 Irving Street to look back at the fascinating people and their businesses there from its early days as a grocery store to today's Blackthorn Tavern.
by Nicole Meldahl - May 6, 2023

Outside Lands Podcast Episode 502: 834 Irving Outside Lands Podcast Episode 502: 834 Irving

(above) Standard Heating, circa 1933

The crew of Standard Heating & Sheet Metal at 834 Irving Street: Mr. Hochede, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Cook, Mr. McGill. (Mr. Cohen in the back room.)
WNP collection

Podcast Transcription

WNP502 - 834 Irving

Nicole: [00:00:00] It’s Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of Western Neighborhoods Project. Your weekly dose of friendly neighborhood history.

And hello again, Outside Landers. I'm your host, Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: And I'm your co-host Arnold Woods.

Nicole: And boy Arnold, it feels like I haven't seen you in well, just about a week.

Arnold: Exactly.

Nicole: Although this isn't the only place you run into each other.

Arnold: But we're so busy right now that, you know, other than the podcast recording, we haven't been in the same place at the same time for a while.

Nicole: Everything's crazy. I'm working like 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM with offsite meetings and shaking people down for, well, all kinds of things. But, you know, occasionally I get to do history as well. [00:01:00] And that's why we're here again today. Now, I hope that you all enjoyed the epic saga of the California Academy of Sciences that we unfolded over the past two weeks with help from Rebekah Kim. Who, by the way, what an absolute delight Rebekah was. Thank you again, Rebekah, if you're listening, I don't know if you actually listened to the podcast you're not on, but thank you again. You were amazing.

Arnold: And today we are switching gears from telling the story of a massive museum in Golden Gate Park to giving you the history of one small business, really building at the edge of the park of the Sunset District, Sunset District. That's right, as promised, we're finally talking about Blackthorn Tavern, which is one of Nicole's favorite bars in the city.

Nicole: It is, and we’ll get into that later. But, as we set out to chronicle this business history, we found, [00:02:00] well, as is kind of generally the case that the lives of the people who like passed through this building were sometimes more compelling than the goods they sold there, like heating equipment. So, without further ado, I must say, let us introduce you to the people of 834 Irving Street.

Arnold: And for those who don't know, Blackthorn Tavern is located on Irving Street near 10th Avenue in the inner Sunset. The building itself dates back to 1907 and the commercial space starts out its life as a grocery store, which was owned by a man named William A. Rodgers and his wife Nelly. The pair had been married since 1898, and this starts out as a pretty standard story for the West side.

Nicole: Yeah. You know, William had operated a grocery store in San Francisco since around 1900. The couple took out a loan with the Bank of Italy to purchase the property from a man named Julius Wise in 1912. [00:03:00] And they ran all these declarations in local papers to establish title. Which was normal at the time because, Arnold, was the Outside Lands properties a real clear cut ownership lineage at the time?

Arnold: No, it was a mess after the Outside Lands Act of 1866 and, there was claims and lawsuits going on for years after they incorporated that land into the city of San Francisco.

Nicole: So many squishy homesteading riots. So many. Arnold went deep on that in 2016 to talk about all that. In fact, I think we might have a podcast about it, as is per the usual now

Arnold: Podcasts for everything.

Nicole: I know we're turning into our own like iterative Wiki podcast situation where we're just like, see other link. See other link. So, you know, also the norm at the time, the Rodgers lived in the neighborhood near their local business, right? They were living at 1307 10th Avenue, right around the [00:04:00] corner. And they're selling, you know, totally normal and delicious sounding grocery things. We see advertisements for Acme Beer sold at their grocery. Sunlit jellies, jams and preserves, which I'll eat all day long, and other types of grocery goods.

Arnold: But in 1916, things began to change at 834 Irving. That year, Nelly, the wife, filed for a co-partnership with August W. Peterson, who lived on 9th Avenue and the business changed his name to N. Rodgers and Company. Then, Nelly sues William for divorce on the grounds of desertion in 1918. And the business is briefly renamed Rodgers and Peterson, but it returns to N. Rodgers and Company the following year.

Nicole: Yeah, and in August of 1919, the entire business was put up for auction. So, that's $1,200 for their back stock of groceries. You've got [00:05:00] all the fixtures in the business, a Ford truck, a meat slicer, scales, et cetera. All of it went and Nelly moves to Ingleside, living at 238 Miramar Avenue. Now, it wasn't uncommon for small grocery stores to like open and close in a short amount of time with all their assets going to auction. Which is, you know, still true. Like my boyfriend is on online auctions all the time when like businesses close, cause he buys tools and all kinds of other nonsense. But like, this is all in person, cause the internet hadn't been invented yet. In case you weren't aware of that. But so, like nothing we've researched so far is like, you know, throwing any flags. But when we started looking into Nelly's story, it was actually pretty unique.

Arnold: Yeah, both William and Nelly hailed from old San Francisco families. William Augustus Rodgers was the son of Frank and Mary Byrne Rodgers. His father's roots were in Vermont, and his mother was [00:06:00] Irish by birth. Frank came to California in 1855 and settled in Marin, where he became a farmer and was active in local politics. When William's mother died in 1920, she was remembered as a, quote, “pioneer resident of San Francisco and Marin.” End quote. With her obituary saying, quote, “in the early days, Mrs. Rodgers and her late husband sold water from a wagon in San Francisco.” End quote. This is in ye olden times before the days of public utilities.

Nicole: Which is still wild to me, that that was in 19, or in like the turn of the 20th century. They were like, come get your water from a cart. Anyways. So, for me, what I think, in general, the real story here is Nelly. She was born on May 13th, 1877 as Catherine Nelly Tanforan. Yes, as in Tanforan racetrack or mall, depending on your age and inclination to research old timey things in San Bruno. [00:07:00] And, as with much of our Mexican-era California history, there's a lot of conflicting information online in old newspapers and even historical accounts, and like landmarking paperwork. Because, because, cause names are misspelled often and it's just like, it's very hard to keep track of. But we did our best to piece it together. That said, please tell us if we got something wrong. So, Catherine, otherwise known as Nelly, was the daughter of Toribio, or it was written as Torivio with a “v,” Tanforan, who was a native of Chile. Although some also said Peru. And he was also a grantee of part of an 1836 Mexican land grant to Francisco Guerrero in the Mission Dolores area, area of which he took possession in 1846. So, just to remind everybody, situate people in the history, that's three years before the Bear Flag Rebellion and four years before California became a [00:08:00] state.

Arnold: So anyway, Toribio marries Maria de los Angeles Valencia, the granddaughter of Jose Antonio Sanchez, who had the possession of a Mexican land grant called Rancho Buri Buri, that essentially becomes Sam Bruno later. According to a 1974 landmarking document, quote, “the marriage of Toribio Tanforan and Maria Valencia represented a merger of two land owning families. The Valencias, for whom present day Valencia Street is named, traced their ancestry to Jose Manuel Valencia, who came to California as a soldier in the expedition of De Anza. His son, Candelario Valencia, who was Maria's father, obtained a grant of land from the Mexican government in 1834, on which he established Rancho Acalanes in what is now Lafayette in Contra Costa County.” End quote.

Nicole: Yeah, so these are big names in California and there are two [00:09:00] tangible places still in San Francisco where you can pay your respects to the Tanforan family. That is not the mall. That is not gonna be a mall anymore, by the way. First, there's Mission Dolores Cemetery, where Toribio and Maria were buried after their deaths just months apart in 1884. And the second is at the Tanforan Cottages at 214 and 220 Dolores Street near 15th Street. Which is, which are considered by many to be the oldest extant residential structures in the Mission District. They date back to the 1850s.

Arnold: Now, of course, outside San Francisco, you can still pay your respect to the Tanforan family history at The Shops of Tanforan, which was located on the site of the former Tanforan racetrack. When the Western Turf Association, one of whose major investors was William Crocker, the son of railroad baron Charles Crocker, when they began building the racetrack in 1899, they decided to honor the history of Rancho Buri [00:10:00] Buri, which once owned the entire area, by naming it after Toribio Tanforan. Thus, the Tanforan name lives on there even today.

Nicole: Yeah. Although again, that mall is not gonna be a mall anymore. So, we'll see. We'll see if that name holds on. So, Nelly was super young when her parents died. She was just seven years old. She married William at the age of 21 and divorced him at the age of 41. After she moved out of the Sunset District, William transferred the property that they owned together in the neighborhood to his brother Frank in 1920. And eventually she moved into the Tanforan cottages with her surviving siblings, where they all lived from the 1930s until her death in 1953. And, before she died, she, her sister Julia, and brother William were all invited to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Tanforan Racetrack in 1949. Which had to have been a wild experience for them. [00:11:00]

Arnold: So, this is already a very wild history, right?

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Believe me, we did not think we'd be tracking down Mexican land grant history when we began researching a bar in the Sunset. So, let's hope the rest of the podcast is just as interesting and keeps you listening.

Nicole: So amazing. Sometimes we start reaching, researching businesses and they're really boring, and you're like, well, this is not true here. So, after the Rodgers closed up shop, John Barry and his wife Mary, take over the location. And, they too, run it as a grocery store, and they live nearby in the neighborhood at 1478 Funston Avenue. Now they managed to hold onto the business for a good eight years, from 1920 until May 1928, when a bankruptcy sale auctioned off all of the business’ holdings. And then, we kind of find nothing in the space in city directories until November [00:12:00] 1932.

Arnold: Which means it either sat vacant or somebody was there who wasn't listed in the city directories.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: So, this is, in 1932, is when we see an advertisement in local papers for, quote, “work guaranteed at the Standard Heating and Sheet Metal Works at 834 Irving.” This business was run by members of a French family name Hochede. Marceau, also referred to as Marshall. Marceau Hochede was a native of Illinois, the son of Gustav and May, and the first member of the family to be born in the United States. The family was in San Francisco by 1920, according to census records that tracked Gus's employment from a coal mine in the Midwest to a shipyard out here, and eventually jobs in hotels or residential houses.

Nicole: Yeah, just to make things super confusing, we had Marceau, who newspapers often called Marshall, and then we also had his brother [00:13:00] Marcel. Super fun tracking this history down. Anyways, Marceau open the Metal Work, also maybe we've confused them sometimes because a lot of times we just call them M. Hochede. So, and I'm sure I pronounce that terrible, but anyways. We've got Marcel. He opened the Metal Works with a partner named William McGill and his brother Marcel, who lived at 1541 6th Avenue with his wife Julia, in 1934. But this is a really tumultuous decade for the family. I'm gonna try not to say that French last name as, as much as possible here. So, there was a lot of stuff we found, a lot of crazy things that, you know, like scandalous things. We're not gonna list them all here. But just know that Gus gets divorced, moves back in with his son Marceau, is cited for vagrancy and disturbing the peace while protesting a price hike at a [00:14:00] dry cleaners in the Mission District in 1935. And that's a pretty good example of the range of hijinks that the family gets up to. And the business was gone by 1935 and the location is empty as far as we can tell in the record through 1936. But, we do have a great photo of Marceau, McGill, and two men named Cook and McConnell inside the building. It is on our website outsidelands.org. It is incorrectly dated as the 1950s. So, whoopsiedoops on that. I also don't know how to fix that cause anyways, but Arnold's pointing himself, Arnold will fix it.

Arnold: I can.

Nicole: Okay.

Arnold: Okay. And it's sounds to me like Marceau and his brother Marcel are too old to be named after the great French mine, Marcel Marceau. [00:15:00]

Nicole: Please someone, please, if I know, I know folks at Blackthorn are, are listening to this, please name some, some cocktail there, Marceau and, and Marcel.

Arnold: Anyways, in 1937, 834 Irving becomes home to Billings Dime Store. Which sold varieties and novelties, household hardware, and gifts, according to a 1938 advertisement. It was operated by J. Earl and Bess D. Billings, neither of whom were from San Francisco originally. In fact, they'd only gotten to California recently when they opened the store.

Nicole: Yeah, James Earl Billings was a dentist. He was originally from Nebraska, but graduated with a doctorate of dental surgery from the University of Denver in 1905. He met Bess De Long, native of Grand Junction, Colorado, and the eldest daughter of Senator Horace T. De Long, and the couple courted for a full three years. [00:16:00] They were married in June of 1912 in Chicago. And while expected, the location of the wedding actually took many by surprise. So, she had just graduated from Goucher's College in Baltimore the week before, and Earl had left town ostensibly on travel for business.

Arnold: I have to say, I have a lot of family from Grand Junction, Colorado dating back a long time there. So, I wonder if James was their dentist at any point in time.

Nicole: I hope, I hope so. I hope you're related to somebody in this story, Arnold.

Arnold: I don't think I'm related to it, but I have a connection maybe. Anyways, newspaper accounts followed the couple closely with Billings, referred to as, quote, “one of the most prominent dentists in Western Colorado.” End quote. Now, we research a lot of people, read a lot of articles, but some folks come through as unique. And Billings definitely falls into [00:17:00] that category. You can just tell these two are awesome. Bess comes to Chicago to get hitched with her college roommate, Helen. Not that they're getting married together.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: They came together to Chicago so that Helen, so that Bess could get hitched. And Helen, the friend, also a accompanies the newlyweds back to Colorado for a visit. Which, all of this is refreshingly modern back in 1912.

Nicole: Yeah. Like you just got a feel for people. I don't know how to describe it. There's like historian spidey-sense where you're like, oh, I can, I can feel, I can, I can feel this person being a cool person back in, back in old timey times. And Bess was smart. She's earning high honors in high school and standing out at Goucher, which was a Methodist college for women, I'm probably pronouncing, mispronouncing. And it still exists in Maryland, although not in Baltimore anymore. Local papers reported, and I quote “letters from her instructors and officials at the school during her four-year course are such that not only her [00:18:00] parents, but also all residents of Grand Junction may well feel proud of her remarkable record.” End quote. And Arnold, I hope people are sending home telegrams like that about you.

Arnold: Well, I've never lived in Grand Junction, so, I dunno. Much of my mother's family has.

Nicole: Here ye, hear ye. Someone who's sort of connected with Grand Junction named Arnold Woods is doing great things in San Francisco. End telegram.

Arnold: Are telegrams still a thing?

Nicole: Oh God, they probably are not. Good lord. Don't email us if you don't know what a telegram is. It will crush my soul. Anyway, she's also referenced as an accomplished “elocutionist,” and they talk about how like she was a must see performer when she was in high school. Like people came out if Bess was, was talking and performing. And there was apparently, and I quote [00:19:00] again, “no girl in Grand Junction with more friends than Bess De Long.” Love her so much.

Arnold: So, the couple has children and J. Earl Billings ran an incredibly successful dentist practice in, in Mesa, Colorado, until sometime around 1936. Not sure why they decided to come to San Francisco. Some things just get lost to history. Maybe they're following family though, because Bess's mother Kate had divorced her kind of schmucky father in 1918 and then moved to California in 1933. And Bess also had a niece living in San Francisco by 1935. Regardless, they moved to the West side, living first at 950 Lake Street in the Richmond District, and then later at 1646 6th Avenue in the Sunset.

Nicole: Yeah, they're here by 1937 when the Dime Store is opened, right? So, they run the Dime Store, lovely people. In [00:20:00] September, 1943, Dr. J Earl Billings died very unexpectedly of a heart attack. But even the article covering his death, we see a unique personality come through. He and Bess had attended the theater and went out to dinner afterwards. I don't know why. I don't know what that accent is. Sorry. Anyways, this is serious. They come home and he passed away in his sleep around 1:30 AM and honestly, we should all be so lucky to end our days on such a lovely day, you know? And Bess carried on living with her son James in running the Dime Store on her own until 1955 when it too was closed and went up for auction.

Arnold: So, you've been listening to the podcast this long and you're probably wondering, you know, we did talk about this being a podcast about a bar back at the beginning, and we haven't mentioned a bar yet. So, [00:21:00] good news! We have arrived at the bar part of this story, because in 1957, at 834 Irving, a cocktail lounge called Ole’s is opened, which is owned by Emil Olsen.

Nicole: So, not like “Ole,” like in the Spanish term. Like Emil is like, super white and Scandinavian. Emil Lawrence Olsen was the son of W. Bernard and Anna Aske Olsen, born in San Francisco on August 28th, 1928. He was first generation American, his father being Swedish, and his mother Norwegian. And almost immediately after Emil was born, his father died. But the family did carry on and he lived at 1407 5th Avenue in the Sunset District with his mother and brother William B., Jr.

Arnold: So, Emil, who went by his middle name, Larry, served in the military and also worked as a longshoreman. But in the [00:22:00] 1950s, he was a bar and restaurant owner in the Sunset and Richmond Districts. Before landing at 834 Irving, he and a partner named James P. Davidson took over the tavern and restaurant at 512 Arguello Boulevard just off Geary in 1952. The next year, Larry's mother Anna dies. Then, in 1954, his partner Jimmy Davidson got him caught up in a lot of nonsense.

Nicole: Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. Oh boy. Buckle up listeners, cause this one's gonna be a doozy. In the summer of 1954, Jimmy was having an affair with Mrs. Betty Podesta, the estranged wife of Jack Podesta, a partner in the storied Podesta-Baldocchi flower firm. Which I think was the flower firm in that Hitchcock, that's the flower store in the Hitchcock movie, right? Where like, anyways, that was a terrible movie reference. I'm terrible at this. [00:23:00] Anyways, great.

Arnold: Her husband…

Nicole: Yeah. Great movie that I can't remember the title of.

Arnold: Well, is it Vertigo? That's in San Francisco.

Nicole: Yes, I think it is. I think it is Vertigo. Anywhosit. So, Betty's husband, thinking maybe his wife is fooling around on him, hired a private eye named Michael Murphy to gather evidence. Murphy rents an apartment next door, kept an eye on her and I'll give you 10 guesses what he witnessed.

Arnold: If you get past one, you're doing this all wrong. In September 1954, Murphy escalated things and was discovered by Jimmy and Betty rummaging through the Podesta apartment at 570 5th Avenue, very late at night. Jimmy punches him, fearing that he was a rapist and gave him a good shiner. Everyone ended up airing their dirty laundry in court as Murphy went on trial [00:24:00] for loitering and prowling after dark. Remember, Murphy's the private eye here.

Nicole: I have to say we are glossing over this pretty quickly. There is a lot of, like the articles of this are amazing. God, God bless. These newspaper articles are so glorious in case you're ever wondering, like reading stories like these or every day or like every week, I don't know how often these court cases would be. You'd be like, oh, oh, and then so-and-so said this. Oh, scandalous! But this one in particular was nuts. And, and again, we're not getting into it, but like, email me if you want my notes. Like I, it, it struck me that like, this is what people did before reality TV or like trashy daytime TV was, was real. RIP, Jerry Springer, who just passed away. Anyway, anyway, so good. Jimmy denied having an affair with Betty. And one article read as follows, and may I, may I do a dramatic reading. This [00:25:00] article says, “he may have taken Mrs. Podesta home a number of times late at night. In fact he did, admitted Davidson. He may have brought up a mattress for her from the basement to her apartment. In fact he did. But he never slept on it, said the witness hotly in response to stinging questions by attorney Paul Dana for Murphy. And he may have gone to Reno on a skiing party with the pretty Mrs. Podesta, 27, and visited several gambling casino hotels, but he was never intimate with her, he said repeatedly. And the party was amply chaperoned.” End quote.

Arnold: These are those stories that Nicole really loves. And, at this point in her research, she was rooting for Jimmy at, at that point.

Nicole: I, I tried, so, I was like, you know what? I bet they've been wrongly accused. Like I can't [00:26:00] even begin to tell you how many men, I was not sleeping with, helped me move mattresses and escorted me home late after leaving a bar. Cause, you know, like that's what you do in your twenties, right? And when you're 27 years old. And in court, Jack said he thought she was having an affair because she, and I quote, “stayed out at night and spent much of her time in bars,” and was also like spotted in cars with men. So, I was like, I was indignant for her. I was like, no, she's 27, it’s what she should be doing. So, it was a real bummer, but also extremely exciting to learn that they were indeed having an affair. I was like, oh well, okay.

Arnold: So poor Larry Olsen got into a lot of legal trouble for lying on the witness stand and also denying the affair in support of his partner. He was charged with perjury. Oops. Murphy was not convicted, the [00:27:00] investigator. And the next year Betty and Jack Podesta settled their case out of court. The change of a, the charge of adultery dropped against Betty. But, in return, she took a little cash, a car, and the apartment on 5th Avenue, instead of receiving alimony.

Nicole: I don’t know. I think she came out of it pretty well. Also, she got to fool around with a hot bartender. Like, I don't know, Betty seems like she's winning. Which is probably exposing a lot of my character at the moment. But anyways, what a mess, right? So, it seems like Larry left Jimmy and opened Ole’s on Irving Street with his brother William. And honestly, after that whole situation, I, too, would only wanna do business with someone was related to. It's only Ole’s for a few years, though we can't find it in either the 1961 or ‘62 city directories. And in 1962, the bar was actually up for [00:28:00] sale for a whopping $12,500. And then, in 1963, it reopens as The Scene, which is a great name for a bar in the ‘50, in the ‘60s.

Arnold: But it's only The Scene for a few years. We don't know who managed it. And it was, after that it was, for one year, called Fin’s Alley, which was run by a man named Ed Major. Then, in 1967, it reopens as a new cocktail lounge and restaurant called The Golden Grommet. It opened in June of ‘67, just in time for the Summer of Love. That's something, here's something really cool if you have a giant Cliff House collection nerd on, which we assume you all do if you're listening to us. In 1969, it's taken and over by Jack Dorsey and Jim Hontalas, whose name you may probably recognize as the longtime proprietor of Louis' [00:29:00] Restaurant, just up Point Lobos from the Cliff House.

Nicole: Yeah, and it totally gets better. In 1972, for just one year, it was managed by Dan Hountalas. And the timeline on this makes complete sense. So, his restaurant, the Cliff Cafe was a casualty of the Sutro Baths fire in 1966. So, it was between the Cliff House and the Sutro bath. He married Mary Hountalas in 1972, and the next year they borrowed money from family to open their first concession in the Cliff House in 1973. So, this is super cool. I mean like, this is Richmond District restaurant royalty and like, I think it's, this is, I just think it's so cool that they were involved in the Golden Grommet.

Arnold: Yeah, I mean it's, and it's both places. It's Louis' and the Cliff House. The people who ran it for a long, long, long time, both had a part at 834 Irving Street.

Nicole: Until they were like, oops, we've got something better to do now.

Arnold: It [00:30:00] was better.

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: In 1975, the Golden Grommet was run by a man named Rudolph Studnik. And we were wondering, but have not confirmed, if he is the same as Rudy Studnik, the former president of the California Soccer Association in the 1970s. We were in a bit of a rush and we couldn't confirm that. But we do know that in 1978 it was taken over by, and I'm gonna get this name wrong, Hajighan Maghadem, who brings on a partner in 1981 with another name, I'm gonna mess up, Abolfazi Mizany, who then brings on another partner, Seyed Ghoreyski or Ghoreyahi? Not sure about that either. I’m messing up all those names, I'm sure.

Nicole: I'm gonna give it a shot. Hajighan Maghadem, and then, Abolfazi Misany, and then, Seyed Ghoreski. I grew, fun fact, I grew up, [00:31:00] I grew up near a large Armenian community in Glendale. And we went, I went to school with a lot of Armenian kids. So, like, I do, these are the one, these are the names I do best with, which is completely ironic and weird. But anyways, can't pronounce anything else to save my life, but here we are. Okay. So, so yeah, I got a little too obsessed with that divorce case and spent a whole lot of my research time on that. And then when we got to the end of the bar, I was like, ugh, quickly, I gotta get. So, we weren't able to pull a ton of information on the 1970s and 1980s era and also like these complicated, you know, cultural names are often misspelled wildly wrong. So, they really do get lost in the records sometimes. But anyways, through the 1970s and the ‘80s, this seems like a comfortable neighborhood spot, which it still is today, where you could get some food and listen to local jazz, which we see listed a lot. And then, in the 1990s, it was a [00:32:00] hotspot for Irish music.

Arnold: Yeah, we're, I dunno that we pinpointed exactly when it became the Blackthorn Tavern, but there's definitely advertisements for music at the Blackthorn Tavern beginning in November 1991 in The Chronicle. And they, a variety of bands seem to play there frequently. I saw Lulu and the Atomics frequently advertised there.

Nicole: Nice.

Arnold: One local Irish band called Cluann's Hounds had their first ever gig at the Blackthorn in 1999. And they even released a single, which was called The Blackthorn Tavern. They did that in 2006 and they donated all the song’s royalties to the National Veterans Foundation. And yes, you can listen to this song yourself by purchasing the 2008 album, One for the Road. And it's an instrumental song, very Irish sounding.

Nicole: It's also on YouTube. Arnold found it on YouTube. So, email us and he'll send you a link. Or you can [00:33:00] Google it yourself. But anyways, so they were mostly booking local bands in the 1990s and they started adding comedy shows in the early 2000s, when it was owned by Kate McEvoy. I, since 2010, San Francisco natives, Chris LaMotte and David Zimmerman, have owned the bar. And they are awesome. They even commissioned a first pass at the bar's history from our co-founder, Woody LaBounty, a few years back. I think it was like 2012. And it was super cute. They like posted the printed history in this little, like, shadow box out front of the bar. So, every time I would walk in to get a beer, I would look at that and be like, ah, look at us. There we are. There it is. There's the history. But we wanted to do a deeper dive. And Huffy on Instagram kept asking me like, oh, is the podcast gonna be happening yet? And I was like, no, no, not yet. I'm so sorry. There's, I keep running into other things. But anyways, it happened. The bar's awesome. The guys are awesome. Everyone should go there and buy beer and tip their [00:34:00] bartenders well.

Arnold: So, there you have it. More than you ever needed or wanted to know about 834 Irving Street. And that leads us to say, of course, Say What Now? And Nicole, this is all you.

Nicole: So, for this edition of Say What Now, I'm gonna talk about my wayward youth. Because we are now doing history episodes about the early 2000s, which makes me completely die inside. But I spent a good portion of like, the mid-2000s, that are all the rage now, with the young folks and the fashion and the music and all the things. And we would, I was going to S.F. State at the time and I was deeply, deeply in love with a lovable grumpy writer, whose name I will not mention here. And he and his buddies all hung out Thursday nights at the Blackthorn Tavern. So, I started going in with that crew [00:35:00] and we, they had a DJ that would come in. You can imagine that. And they would play all hot hits of like 2005 or 2006. And the one song we always would dance to, was the song Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado, which for whatever reason is having a comeback right now. And I mean, a, any DJ that, you know, radio DJ that is listening right now, stop. Stop playing this song. I'm sorry, Nelly. You're great. But like, this song is terrible. It's a terrible, terrible song. I heard it at the wedding I was at a couple weeks ago. It play, it was played there. I heard, I hear it in bars and restaurants. I'm like, what are, what? Why?

Arnold: How is that song appropriate for a wedding?

Nicole: I dunno. They were also playing a lot of, a lot of Sum 41, which is not [00:36:00] easy to dance to, by the way. It's like, you know, like great hits from our youth, which is so depressing. But anyways, this time of my life at Blackthorn, while embarrassing, is, I treasure it so much, right? Cause I was like 27. I was actually younger than that. But I was like 27 and it was the first time I'd hung out with a bunch of really cool people who were doing art and like making music. And I was like, oh, like this is, these are cool people doing things that they love in the city. And we would get way too drunk. And we would, we would walk all the way up 8th Avenue to the place that they lived on, on like 8th and Noriega. Which is way too big of a hill to walk when you're very drunk. And then we would order Nizario’s feta and pesto pizza. And that would kill me if I ate it at like three in the morning today. But again, like just, just treasured memories. So, you know, guys who [00:37:00] own Blackthorn, like, thank you for keeping this space available for idiots like me. And don't play Promiscuous by Nelly Furtado. Please make it stop. Okay.

Arnold: And, and if you have something to say about what Nicole just revealed about herself, then you need to get yourself on listener mail.

Nicole: I do feel like I'm carrying on David and Woody's tradition of saying embarrassing bar stories. I'll never forget the Trad’r Sam episode where David said, don't touch the ladies. You're gonna have to listen to that early episode to figure out what we're talking about. Anyways, Arnold, how does one send us listener mail?

Arnold: Quite simple. Really send an email to podcast@outsidelands.org or find our social media posts about the podcast. We have [00:38:00] Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and you can post a comment there as well and we will see it.

Nicole: Absolutely. And Gilda wrote us with a recommendation for a podcast interview. She's recommending lifetime peace and non-violence activist David Hartsough, a co-founder of Nonviolent Peace Force and World Beyond War. That man has his own Wikipedia page, so like that's some off the charts, like impressive person there. And so, thank you Gilda. She's gonna help connect us. I did follow up with her today and I can't wait to hopefully get this interview on the books.

Arnold: I'm assuming he's a West sider and that would be the reason.

Nicole: Oh, she did say he lives like kind of on the cusp. It's like Panhandle-y, but he…

Arnold: I saw the World Beyond War has its headquarters on Schrader Street, just, you know, just outside of the Golden Gate Park.

Nicole: She swears he's done a lot of work on the West side [00:39:00] and you know, for a man like this, I'm willing to smoosh our boundaries a smidgen. Close enough. Close enough for government work, as they say. Anyways, Arnold, why don't you tell us about the benefits of membership and donating now.

Arnold: Well, one, if you can become a member, you can recommend people for us to interview on the podcast.

Nicole: Well, either way.

Arnold: We'll, we'll take it more seriously if you're already a member though.

Nicole: That’s not true at all.

Arnold: Come on, work with me here, Nicole. Trying to get people to become members so they can support this podcast. Support our OpenSFHistory photo archive. Support the care and exhibition of the Cliff House collection.

Nicole: Yep.

Arnold: Get the quarterly membership magazine. Get discounts on all the various events you're gonna hear about real soon coming up. You know, just [00:40:00] help support all the good work we do. It's very expensive. It's getting so much harder to get grants these days. The pandemic has really hurt what's available out there for people like us. So, become a member. You can go clickety, clickety, clack on the big membership button at the top of every website page on OpenSFHistory.org and outsidelands.org. And if becoming a member, which is only $50 a year, is too much for you, you know, make a donation even if it's just like five bucks or whatever. Then, we also have a big donate button on the top of every webpage as well.

Nicole: Yeah, every little bit does help. And Arnold's not wrong about those grants. There's a huge push to activate downtown. And I don't know if you've noticed, but we are not downtown. So, great for downtown, not great for the Western Neighborhoods Project. But we're trying, we're trying to sneak in with OpenSFHistory. We'll [00:41:00] see how it goes. Anywhosit. Arnold, we now have announcements, right?

Arnold: We do indeed, Nicole. We, in fact, already have something up for you. It's the, our brand-new window exhibition. Our brand-new board member Lindsey Hanson did an incredible job, translated in an article she wrote about Golden Gate Park's windmills into a multi-dimensional installation in our windows. There's even a mechanical windmill that shows a woman's spinning right round, baby right round. Right round, like a record baby, right round, round, round.

Nicole: Now you've heard both of us kind of sing. You're welcome podcast listeners, imagine a WNP karaoke night and how horrific that would be.

Arnold: And that, that Dead or Alive song was huge back in the 1980s. Anyways, the windmill display in our front windows can be enjoyed [00:42:00] 100% from the outside. You don't have, even have to come into our office and check it out or, you know, we're not open a whole lot. So just walk by 1617 Balboa Street and see that display.

Nicole: I know, I'm sorry. People want us open, but we're, we are hammered with work you guys. Like, I can't stress this in the best way, like in all the exciting, fun ways we are just hammered with work. So, I can't hang out with everybody like I would like to sometimes. But anyways. Also, you know, event bonanzas. I'm not sure if you've heard, we've been squawking about it for a while, but WNP turns 24 this year, which is kind of an unremarkable birthday unless you're a nonprofit, in a city where nonprofits all go under a lot, cause it's hard to survive here. We're throwing a big birthday bash, a bash, on Tuesday, May 16th at 6:00 PM at our very favorite Four Star Theater on Clement Street. And so, this is a smaller fundraiser in addition to our [00:43:00] big fancy gala at the end of the year. Cause you guys gave us feedback last year that said, I don't wanna pay $200 for a rubber chicken dinner. And this is our response. So, tickets are 75 bucks. And I know it's been, it's, it's a, it's a, it's a long haul, but this is a fundraiser to help us survive. You get beer and bubbly and snacks and treats. There's gonna be balloons everywhere. There'll be special giveaways, a raffle, and a live podcast interview with famed photographer Michael Jang. And so many of our friends are showing up to help us. We've got the very famous Joey Yee who will be filming the event. We have got Yameen, the local photographer that we introduced to you before, who has recently been promoted, he's been winning all kinds of awards and recently been been blowing up because Kodak, Kodak, Kodak, you know, shared his stuff online. So, [00:44:00] anyways, come and like rub elbows with the creme de la creme of the photographer community and help us make it to next year.

Arnold: Yeah, there's still some tickets to that, but they're actually going pretty well right now. So…

Nicole: We only have 40 left, 40 left.

Arnold: And in addition to the birthday bash, we're having a book party for Richard Brandi's book, Garden Neighborhoods of San Francisco. That's happening Thursday, May 25th at 6:00 PM at the Internet Archive. So, there's still time to get in on that. In addition, Richard is giving a history walk of one of those neighborhoods on Saturday, May 13th, when he takes us around the Forest Hill Extension area. WNP members can join the walk for the measly sum of just $10, and it'll cost non-WNP members $20 to come. And this one is almost sold out. So, if you want that ticket, [00:45:00] get in there soon to get it.

Nicole: Richard Brandi is the funnest hang. Like I can't, I can't stress that enough. You know who else is a fun hang? John Martini. John Martini has another history walk scheduled. It's up online now. The Presidio Batteries to Bluffs walk. It happens Saturday, May 27th. Again, WNP members only have to pay $10 to join, while non-members have to fork over $20. And I'm excited to announce, by popular demand, John Martini and I are gonna work on finding another WNP Clement Street pub crawl date. Cause we had a blast. We were totally sold out and people have been blowing us up to see if we're gonna do another one. So, who knows, maybe John and I will just create our own pub crawl company. His last name is Martini.

Arnold: That all works.

Nicole: Well, just maybe we'll just do pub crawls now and I'll die at the age of 43.

Arnold: Pub crawls and [00:46:00] podcasts. Anyways, you can get your tickets for any of these events by going to the events page on outsidelands.org or finding us on Eventbrite and signing up there. It's super easy to do, so, get on it.

Nicole: Yeah, and you know, you can follow us on Eventbrite, so as soon as we put an event up, Eventbrite emails you. Which I know some of you don't like, but, but we love Eventbrite.

Arnold: So, Nicole?

Nicole: Yeah.

Arnold: Thus ends this podcast. And do we have a preview for what our next podcast will be?

Nicole: Yes. So, we will be very busy preparing for our big 24th birthday on May 16th, which you know is gonna be an interview with Michael Jang. So, next week's episode's gonna be a rerun. But if you don't make it to the birthday party, you can still hear the interview with him in, on the podcast in the next two weeks. So [00:47:00] look forward to that. Thank you for listening. Until next time, I'm Nicole Meldahl.

Arnold: I'm Arnold Woods.

Nicole: And this has been another episode of Outside Lands San Francisco. And I'm gonna do a thing, and I'm gonna dedicate this to Huffy, but also to Gordon Lightfoot, who we lost the day before we recorded this and has been very important to me and my family. So, on that note, thanks for being with us history friends. We’ll see you later.

Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.

Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org.

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