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Take a Load Off at The Hotel Cairns Roadhouse

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Public spaces change fast here in San Francisco, and for better or worse, it can be pretty crazy when you see what the City used to look like. Every week, we'll bring you Then & Now, a comparison of historic photos of the Bay Area with current views from the same perspective. Have a suggestion for a photo comparison that looks totally different (or shockingly the same)? Drop us a tip in the Curbed Inbox or leave a comment after the jump.

Quick note: See that vertical green bar in the middle of the then and now photos? You can move it horizontally to see the photos side by side.





[Then photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY/ Now photo: Google Maps While you're stuck in traffic, hunting for parking, or crammed on MUNI this weekend, maybe you'll wish you could have just camped out at a hotel closer to whatever event you were going to see. If the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is on your agenda, then the old Hotel Cairns at 36th and Fulton would have been perfect.

The Hotel Cairns featured in a 1907 article in the San Francisco Call [Photo: ProQuest Historical Newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922)]

Joseph Cairns opened the 50-room hotel in 1907 as a high-class hotel on the (then) far outskirts of town. Originally constructed in 1896, the building was redesigned by Armitage & Rowell, and was heralded in newspapers as on of the classiest joints in the country. When it was built, the existing Fulton street car line was extended from the Casino Roadhouse at 24th Ave to transport patrons of the hotel. The popularity of automobiles soon made the hotel far more accessible than Cairns imagined, and it quickly turned into a rowdy roadhouse.


C. E. Morgan behind the bar at the Hotel Cairns [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]

Staying in business until 1920, it was the last remaining roadhouse in the Richmond. After that it was turned into a sanitarium, and converted into apartments in 1932, which it remains today.
· San Francisco's Richmond District by Lori Ungaretti [Google Books]
· The San Francisco call., October 20, 1907 [Chronicling America]
· Report on the operation of the street railroad lines of San Francisco (1909) [Google Books]