San Francisco Signs (page 1)

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Original Joe's
San Francisco, CA


Original Joe's opened in 1937. This sign was built in 1957. The restaurant closed at the end of 2007 after a devastating fire. The first photo shows the sign in place at the original location. In 2012, Original Joe's reopened at a new location. The unrestored sign is now displayed in two parts: the round sign hangs above the take-out entrance. The larger sign is around the corner, displayed flat on the side of the building. The Joe's letter sign that was on the facade at the old building is now displayed in the dining room. For more, see this website. [map]

Squat & Gobble
Cafe & Crepery [gone]
San Francisco, CA
Dahl-Beck Electric Co.
San Francisco, CA
Kean Hotel
San Francisco, CA
This Squat & Gobble Cafe & Crepery opened around 2002. The restaurant is still there but this sign is gone. The chain has four other locations in town, none of which have signs like this one. I suspect this sign was adapted from a previous business, most likely an Italian restaurant. The chef bears a strong resemblance to the one on the Original Joe's sign.

The Dahl-Beck Electric Co. was established in 1900. In 1952, the company moved to this Howard Street location. The sign may be from then. It was definitely there by 1959. In 1990, the company moved and left this sign behind. The building now houses residential lofts and other businesses. The sign is still maintained. For more, see this website. [map]

The Kean Hotel was built by 1947. This sign is probably from the late 1940s or 1950s. It was repainted and restored around 2010. [map]

City Service Cleaners
San Francisco, CA
Paragon Cleaners
San Francisco, CA
The City Service Cleaners sign is probably from the 1950s or 1960s. The business is still in operation. [map]

Paragon Cleaners is also still in operation. This sign appears to be from the 1940s or 1950s. The neon has been missing since at least 2008. [map]

Kate O'Brien's
Irish Bar & Grill
San Francisco, CA
Shell Building Garage
San Francisco, CA
Grant Hotel
San Francisco, CA
Kate O'Brien's Irish Bar & Grill has been here since at least 2008. The bar might be very much older than that. The sign appears to be from the 1950s but I don't know what business it advertised for originally. For more, see this website. [map]

The Shell Building Garage sign might be from the 1950s. The Shell Building was constructed in 1929. This part of the building was probably always used for parking. [map]

The Grant Hotel was built in 1910. This sign is probably from the 1940s or 1950s. For more, see this website. [map]

John's Grill
San Francisco, CA
John's Grill was established in 1908. The signs are probably from the 1950s. [map]

Tad's Steaks
San Francisco, CA
Tad's Steaks opened in the late 1950s or early 1960s. This restaurant was part of a nationwide chain established in New York City in 1957. At its peak, there were 28 locations. There were restaurants in Chicago, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Detroit. All eight of the Tad's Steaks built in New York City have closed. This San Francisco location is the only one left. In 2019, the restaurant relocated and the sign was installed at the new location. For more, see this website. [map]

Empress Jewelry
San Francisco, CA
Tai Li Co.
San Francisco, CA
Republic Hotel
San Francisco, CA
Art Clothing Co.
San Francisco, CA
The signs in this row and the three rows of photos below are all located in Chinatown.

Empress Jewelry is long-gone but this sign remains. it was probably built in the 1950s. [map]

The sign at Tai Li Co. advertises for a long gone gift shop. It is probably from the 1950s. [map]

The Republic Hotel is gone but this sign remains. This sign appears to be from the 1950s. [map]

The Art Clothing Co. is still in business. This sign is probably from the 1940s or 1950s. [map]

Li Po Cocktail Lounge
San Francisco, CA
2017: 2020:
The Li Po Cocktail Lounge opened in 1937, making it the oldest bar in Chinatown. The six-sided lantern sign and text panel had been installed by 1947. The text panel originally had a flashing L-shaped arrow that wrapped around the side and bottom of the sign. It is not known when it was replaced with the horizontal arrow now on top of the sign or if the more recent arrow ever flashed. The name Li Po is a reference to a Chinese poet from the Tang Dynasty who wrote about the pleasure of drinking wine. This photo is from 2017. In 2018, the signs were restored by the Arrow Sign Company in Oakland. For more, see these websites: 1 and 2. [map]

Great Star Theatre
San Francisco, CA
Eastern Bakery
San Francisco, CA
Golden Star Radio
San Francisco, CA
Sam Wo Restaurant
San Francisco, CA
The Great Star Theatre opened in 1925 as a Chinese opera house known as the Great China Theatre. This sign had been installed by the late 1940s. It was renamed the Great Star Theatre in the early 1960s. The theatre closed around 2000. It reopened in 2016 and the sign's neon was restored then by John Law. This photo is from 2017. [map]

The Eastern Bakery opened in 1924. The sign might be from the 1930s. The Coca-Cola button sign was added much later. Around 2016, the sign was repainted. The neon was removed removed and backlit plastic letters were added to the panels. In 2017, the neon was added back to the sign but the channels for the plastic panels remain on the panels. For more, see this website. [map]

Golden Star Radio aired the Chinese News Hour between 1939 and 1979. This sign was probably built in the 1950s. [map]

The Sam Wo Restaurant opened in 1908. This sign appears to be from the 1950s or 1960s. For more, see this website. [map]

Oriental House of Beauty
San Francisco, CA
North Beach Hotel
San Francisco, CA
The Oriental House of Beauty sign is probably from the 1950s. It had very faded paint for decades but the patina still showed the brown circles behind the Chinese characters and some gold stripes on the corner and sides of the panels. The panels were repainted bright green in 2020. The neon remains broken. For more, see this website. [map]

The North Beach Hotel was built in 1906 as the St. Paul Hotel. It became the North Beach around 2008 and the signs were adapted then. The sign on the left might have been built in the 1940s. The sign on the right might be from the 1930s. For more, see this website. [map]

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