The Summer of Love. The Jefferson Airplane. The Grateful Dead.
It’s a testament to the enduring cultural legacy of San Francisco that just a few words are all that’s needed to conjure up images of those legendary days. The days when this corner of San Francisco had the eyes of America on it, a place every young person with a dream of finding something new found themselves irresistibly drawn.
Iconic as they may be, those names don’t tell the whole story of this fair city. A slightly different set of strivers would set up shop in the Tenderloin, then a spot where the street-smart found themselves easily at home. Smack dab in the middle of it all, 285 Turk Street has seen plenty of changes throughout the years.
The origins of the Tenderloin name are fuzzy, with some believing it comes from “on the take” cops of the old days, who were able to afford the pricier cut of meat thanks to the lucrative market in graft and bribery. Today’s Tenderloin is a long way from those gritty days, and the cultural impact of the years since then have molded this neighborhood into something uniquely San Franciscan.
Those intervening years saw some of the defining art that made the Tenderloin come alive. Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and others recorded live albums at Turk Street and Hyde’s renowned Black Hawk club, whose atmosphere suited jazz greats at their smoky best. Detective fiction writer Dashiell Hammett found inspiration here as well, giving his grizzled detective Sam Spade his Maltese Falcon residence on 891 Post Street, a short walk from 285 Turk Street.
Today’s Tenderloin residents, it’s fair to say, aren’t quite the rough characters who populated the tales (and police blotters) of the mid-20th century. Now a hub for tech and innovation, the San Francisco area has become a magnet, not for flower children or troublemakers, but the dreamers and creators of a new 21st century. For those looking to make the Tenderloin their own, 285 Turk Street is an appropriately forward-thinking place to call home.