Monterey Boulevard shops: Some midcentury photos

The covid-19 pandemic has put a temporary halt to my history walks, including the one that highlights Monterey Boulevard shops, restaurants, and businesses of decades past. But here are some photos, most never seen before, showing businesses from the 1950s to the 1970s. From the San Francisco Office of the Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, at the San Francisco History Center.

Many businesses on the boulevard came and went without ever being recorded visually in the public record, such as the old Safeway (1942-1972) that was located in the parking lot of the current Safeway. Or Bruno’s Creamery Restaurant, at Foerster Street, site of many happy hours for local kids.

The big push to plant street trees in the 1970s has changed the look of the street completely, as these photos well show. Photos are ordered from 400s to 700s, Edna Street to Ridgewood Avenue, with each followed by a present-day photo. Do you have a photo taken on Monterey to share? Write me.

1955. 429 Monterey Blvd. Jack Specialty Barber Shop, mid-1940s to early 1980s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1955. 429 Monterey Blvd. Jack Specialty Barber Shop, mid-1940s to early 1980s. Note 25MPH speed sign, before it went to 30 in the 1970s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 429 Monterey Blvd. Last used as a shop in early 1980s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 429 Monterey Blvd. Last used as a shop in early 1980s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1970s. 499 Monterey Blvd. This spot has been a delicatessen continuously since 1943, going under many names. Here Antoine's Delicatessen, operating mid1960s to 2000. Read the story of many immigrants who have owned this business. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1970s. 499 Monterey Blvd. This spot has been a delicatessen continuously since 1943, going under many names. Here Antoine’s Delicatessen, operating mid1960s to 2000. Read the story of many immigrants who have owned this business.
San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 499 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Deli has been the name of this local favorite shop since 2000. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 499 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Deli has been the name of this local favorite since 2000. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1974. 558 Monterey Blvd. The Joker Club, which operated from the early 1950s to the late 1990s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1974. 558 Monterey Blvd. The Joker Club, which operated from the early 1950s to the late 1990s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr

2017. 558 Monterey Blvd. Friends Bar, since 1990s? Photo: Google streetview
2017. 558 Monterey Blvd. Friends Bar, since 1990s? Photo: Google streetview
1975. 562-564 Monterey Blvd. This double shop front with apartment was built in 1950, and was at various times: a plumber's, hair salon, post office, variety store, and H&R Block (shown here), before becoming what it still is today, a dance studio and a karate studio. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1975. 562-564 Monterey Blvd. This double shop front with apartment was built in 1950, and was at various times: a plumber’s, hair salon, post office, variety store, and H&R Block (shown here), before becoming what it still is today, a dance studio and a karate studio. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 562-564 Monterey Blvd. DSG Dance Studio (left) and Vega Kenpo Karate Studio. Since late 1970s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 562-564 Monterey Blvd. DSG Dance Studio (left) and Vega Kenpo Karate Studio. Since the late 1970s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1975. 570 Monterey Blvd. Tops Co, a variety and toy store that didn't last long. Before this it was Dimiceli's Grocery, 1920s to 1950s, then Skyline Grocery. Later it was El Mercadito Grocery. It was split into two shops. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1975. 570 Monterey Blvd. Tops Co, a variety and toy store that didn’t last long. Before this it was Dimiceli’s Grocery, 1920s to 1950s, then Skyline Grocery. Later it was El Mercadito Grocery. It was split into two shops. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 570 Monterey Blvd. This now-divided store front is home to Tye's Barber Shop and Happy Lashes, run by a husband and wife team. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 570 Monterey Blvd. This now-divided store front is home to Tye’s Barber Shop and Happy Lashes, run by a husband and wife team. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1970c. 590 Monterey Blvd. SFO Garage, operating mid1960s to mid1970s, This space has been a garage continuously since the early 1920s, including a stint as German Car Service in the 1980s and 1990s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1970c. 590 Monterey Blvd. SFO Garage, operating mid1960s to mid1970s, This space has been a garage continuously since the early 1920s, including a stint as German Car Service in the 1980s and 1990s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 590 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Auto Service, since 2000s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 590 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Auto Service, since 2000s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1968c. 600 Monterey Blvd. Stop'n'Go Market, from 1966 to mid1980s. Part of a nationwide chain. Before this the space was unsurprisingly a gas station, 1930-1966. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1968c. 600 Monterey Blvd. Stop’n’Go Market, from 1966 to mid1980s. Part of a nationwide chain. Before this the space was unsurprisingly a gas station, 1930-1966. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 600 Monterey Blvd. Kwik & Convenient, since mid1980s. The Blue Iguana foodtruck has been a fixture since 2014. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 600 Monterey Blvd. Kwik & Convenient, since mid1980s. The Blue Iguana foodtruck has been a fixture since 2014. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1971. 620 Monterey Blvd. Not a shop, but part of the public sphere. This lot-filling building houses many facilities: a large meeting space, library, gym. It was built by the Sunnyside community in 1926, but became a church during the Depression. Read that story here. Here it is the Syrian Association Social Club. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1971. 620 Monterey Blvd. Not a shop, but part of the public sphere. This lot-filling building houses many facilities: a large meeting space, library, gym. It was built by the Sunnyside community in 1926, but became a church during the Depression. Read that story here. Here it is the Syrian Association Social Club. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 620 Monterey Blvd. Never a shop, but a huge purpose-built community hall, which has been used as a church since the 1930s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 620 Monterey Blvd. Never a shop, but a huge purpose-built community hall, which has been used as a church since the 1930s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1966c. 696 Monterey Blvd. This was originally two retail spaces. On left, Monterey Liquors, which operated from 1940-1960s. Before that it was a grocery. On right, a florist, which had been a shoe repair and a cleaners. The two spaces were knocked together in the mid-1970s, and it has been an Asian cuisine restaurant of one sort or another since then. At least the billboard is gone. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1966c. 696 Monterey Blvd. This was originally two retail spaces. On left, Monterey Liquors, which operated from 1940-1960s. Before that it was a grocery. On right, a florist, which had been a shoe repair and a cleaners. The two spaces were knocked together in the mid-1970s, and it has been an Asian-cuisine restaurant of one sort or another since then. At least the billboard is gone. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 696 Monterey Blvd. Shanghai Dumpling King has been here for about seven years. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 696 Monterey Blvd. Shanghai Dumpling King has been here for about seven years. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1968. 700 Monterey Blvd. Chaya Mexican Restaurant, which had only a brief stay. Before this: Johnny's Quality Donuts and La Roma Pizzeria. After this: Emmy's Big Bakery, later Emmy's Restaurant. Notice that upper floor is still an apartment, and rear yard has not yet been built over (current restaurant uses upper floor and addition as dining area). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1968. 700 Monterey Blvd. Chaya Mexican Restaurant, which had only a brief stay. Before this: Johnny’s Quality Donuts and La Roma Pizzeria. After this: Emmy’s Big Bakery, later Emmy’s Restaurant. Notice that upper floor is still an apartment here, and rear yard has not yet been built over (current restaurant uses upper floor and rear addition as dining area). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 700 Monterey Blvd. Won Kok restaurant since about 2016. Was Lucky River before that, famous for its cook roughing up some frozen meat on the sidewalk, caught on video in 2014. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 700 Monterey Blvd. Won Kok restaurant since about 2016. Was Lucky River before that, famous for its cook roughing up some frozen meat on the sidewalk, caught on video in 2014. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1970c. 701-705 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Boulevard Pharmacy (on left) operated here 1920s-1970s, "a real local resource" recalled on old-timer. There was a small shopfront in the middle, once a barber, then a yarn shop. On the left there was Hofling's Grocery, 1920s-1960s, when it changed to a laundromat. Then the two were knocked together for a bigger laundromat. Finally, Railroad Café opened there in 2000. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1970c. 701-705 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Boulevard Pharmacy (on left) operated here 1920s-1970s, “A real local resource” recalled an old-timer. There was a small shopfront in the middle, once a barber, then a yarn shop. On the left there was Hofling’s Grocery, from the 1920s until the 1960s, when it changed to a laundromat. Then the two were knocked together for a bigger laundromat. Finally, Railroad Café opened there in 2000. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 701-705 Monterey Blvd. SF Dance Space on left (since 2016) and Railroad Cafe on right (since 2000). Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 701-705 Monterey Blvd. SF Dance Space on left (since 2016) and Railroad Cafe on right (since 2000). Photo: Amy O’Hair
1966c. 713 Monterey Blvd. Shiro Brothers Radio and TV Repair. Built in 1958, George and Joseph Shiro had their business here through the 1980s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1966c. 713 Monterey Blvd. Shiro Brothers Radio and TV Repair. Built in 1958, George and Joseph Shiro had their business here through the 1980s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 713 Monterey Blvd. Wind in the Willows preschool since 2000. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 713 Monterey Blvd. Wind in the Willows preschool since 2000. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1970c. 716 Monterey Blvd. Structure was built specially to house Fred's Café in 1938. Later it was The Road Runner Tavern (1960s-1980) and then O'Donoghue's Irish Bar. Read a post about that here. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1970c. 716 Monterey Blvd. Structure was built specially to house Fred’s Café in 1938. Later it was The Road Runner Tavern (1960s-1980), seen here, and then O’Donoghue’s Irish Bar.  Read a post about that here. Last commercial usage was The Silk Road, an art-clothing shop in the early 2000s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 716 Monterey Blvd. This custom-built restaurant space (1938) has not been used for commercial purposes since the late 1990s. A pity, because the inside is lovely, with a vaulted ceiling. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 716 Monterey Blvd. This custom-built restaurant space (1938) has not been used for commercial purposes since the late 1990s. A pity, because the inside is lovely, with a vaulted ceiling. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1966c. 717-721 Monterey Blvd, Lucky Star Restaurant on left, Ron's Barber Shop center. In the more changeable spot on right, The Human Understanding and Growth Center (it didn't last long). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1966c. 717-721 Monterey Blvd, Lucky Star Restaurant on left, Ron’s Barber Shop center. In the more changeable spot on right, The Human Understanding and Growth Center (it didn’t last long). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 717-721 Monterey Blvd. Space on left has been a café of one sort or another since 1927. Center space also continuously operating as hair-cutting business since then. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 717-721 Monterey Blvd. Space on left has been a café of one sort or another since 1927. Center space also continuously operating as hair-cutting business since then. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1957. 741 Monterey Blvd. A water-heater service, 1950s-1970s, then a fire sprinkler business until ~2000. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1957. 741 Monterey Blvd. A water-heater service, 1950s-1970s, then a fire sprinkler business until ~2000. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 741 Monterey Blvd. Last used as a shop, early 2000s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 741 Monterey Blvd. Last used as a shop in early 2000s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1959. 765 Monterey Blvd. This space has variously had dress shop, bakery, tailor, sundries, and shoe repair (1920s-1950s). Here, a real estate firm. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1959. 765 Monterey Blvd. This space has variously had dress shop, bakery, tailor, sundries, and shoe repair (1920s-1950s). Here, a real estate firm. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 765 Monterey Blvd. Iyengar Yoga until recently. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 765 Monterey Blvd. Iyengar Yoga until recently. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1966c. 769 Monterey Blvd (center). It was a grocery in the 1920s and 1930s, then Mt Davidson Cleaners until the 1970s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1966c. 769 Monterey Blvd (center). It was a grocery in the 1920s and 1930s, then Mt Davidson Cleaners until the 1970s. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 769 Monterey Blvd. Law offices, insurance, real estate. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 769 Monterey Blvd. Law offices, insurance, real estate, HO HUM. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1966c. 771 Monterey Blvd (center). Originally a "little emporium" popular with local kids in the 1920s and 1930s, it was then used by the cleaners next door until the 1970s. Then a liquor store until the 1990s, when it went the way of too many useful shops: real estate office. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1966c. 771 Monterey Blvd (center). Originally a “little emporium” popular with local kids in the 1920s and 1930s, it was then used by the cleaners next door until the 1970s. Then a liquor store until the 1990s, when it went the way of too many useful shops: real estate office. San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 771 Monterey Blvd (center). This has been a office-type business since at least the early 2000s. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 771 Monterey Blvd (center). This has been a office-type business since at least the early 2000s. Photo: Amy O’Hair
1970c. 775 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Hardware & Plumbing, operating 1960s to about 2000. Prized by locals. Run by the Arsento brothers. Before that, Alex Lind Hardware, 1920s to 1960s. Notice marquee that covers original 1920s clerestory windows (compare 2020 photo). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
1970c. 775 Monterey Blvd. Monterey Hardware & Plumbing, operating 1960s to about 2000. Prized by locals. Run by the Arsento brothers. Before that, Alex Lind Hardware, 1920s to 1960s. Notice marquee that covers original 1920s clerestory windows (compare 2020 photo). San Francisco Office of Assessor-Recorder Photographs Collection, San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr
2020. 775 Monterey Blvd. Another dreary real estate office. Photo: Amy O'Hair
2020. 775 Monterey Blvd. Another dreary real estate office. Photo: Amy O’Hair

 

 

2 thoughts on “Monterey Boulevard shops: Some midcentury photos”

  1. Great read! Loved the before and after pictures. It’s amazing how much things look the same and are yet so different.

  2. Thanks for finding these photos! Minor quibble: 716 Monterey was in commercial use through at least the early 2000s as “The Silk Road” clothing store.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.