Welcome to Curbed's ongoing series titled Hidden History, where Curbed highlights a Bay Area location with a secret past. Maybe it's no longer there, maybe it's been converted into something else, but each spot holds a place in Bay Area history - even if not many people know it. Have a suggestion or know a place with a secret history? The tipline's always open or you can leave a comment after the jump.
Schroeder's at 240 Front Street [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]
Most people have passed by the...what should we call it...Bavarian Revival-style building housing Schroeder's Restaurant on Front Street in the Financial District. What you may not know is that the restaurant itself dates back to 1893, though has been housed in couple different locations.
Market Street, 1902. Original Schroeder's location marked by arrow. [Photo: SAN FRANCISCO HISTORY CENTER, SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY]
Prussian immigrant Henry Schroeder opened the first restaurant in 1893 at 545 Market Street. It was popular saloon, but the building was destroyed by the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. For a few years the restaurant relocated to 16th and Mission Streets.
Henry Schroeder was active in the reconstruction of downtown after the earthquake, and by 1911, reopened the restaurant at 117 Front Street. At the time, it was a men only restaurant open for lunch. A few years later, they moved next door to 111 Front. The interior was famous amongst its patrons, with Herman Richter murals and a huge rosewood bar. Henry died in 1921 and left the restaurant to his wife, who soon after listed it for sale in the newspaper.
Schroeder's today, with historic murals and bar [Photo: Linda T. via Yelp]
Max Kniesche bought the restaurant sight unseen. By the 1930s, he began serving dinner and allowing women to dine. In 1959, it moved (murals, bar, and all) to its current location at 240 Front Street, where it has operated ever since. Today Schroeder's claims to be the oldest German restaurant on the west coast.