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Then & Now: Turf Concert Hall's Crazy Past

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: Alex Bevk] San Francisco's Barbary Coast was notorious - raucous, dangerous, debaucherous. The area of Jackson Square, now full of law offices and antique stores, was once the red light district. Technically the Barbary Coast consisted of nine blocks bound by Montgomery Street, Washington Street, Stockton Street, and Broadway, with Pacific Ave being particularly...eventful. One such hot spot was the Turf Concert Hall at Mongtomery and Pacific.

Chronicle article on the Christmas Day shooting, 1909 [Photo: ProQuest Historical Newspapers: San Francisco Chronicle (1865-1922)]

The Turf Concert Hall reached infamy on Christmas Day 1909 when it became the scene of a murder. Around 1am, a Portland man named Andrew McCormack walked into the dance hall and saloon, and after drinking got into an altercation with the bartender. McCormack pulled out a gun and shot at the bartender, who in turn pulled out his gun and exchanged fire. When the shooter ran out of the bar, a nearby policeman tried to chase him down but was shot in the arm himself. Nonetheless, the policeman kept chasing, eventually shooting MCormack in the head. In the end, a bystander at the saloon had also been shot, bringing the total to 3.

The place stayed a saloon for a long time, but by the 1950s it was operating as an auto repair shop. The building itself remains in basically it's original condition with only a few new windows and door openings. Today it's occupied by the very popular and critically-acclaimed Cotogna restaurant.

· Barbary Coast Trail [Barbary Coast Trail]
· Killed in a Duel with Policeman [SF Chronicle]
· Cotogna [Eater SF]