Irving Street and 9th Avenue Memories

by Denis F. Quinn
© 2010

WNP member Denis F. Quinn gave such a detailed answer to one of our "Guess Where in West S.F." photo contests in the member newsletter, that we thought we should share it with the wider world. Enjoy!

Looking northeast at the intersection of 9th Avenue and Irving Street in 1959., 1959 - Department of Public Works photograph

"The intersection is 9th Avenue & Irving Street, circa 1959. Starting at the left side lower you can see the Rexall Drugs, better known locally as the K & K Drug Store. As you enter from Irving Street there were phone booths to the left in the corner, the pharmacy was in the rear, and there was a soda fountain on the 9th Avenue side. The rest of the store was taken up with merchandise.

"Above the store was the dental office of George F. Kelley, DDS. He was our dentist and he was a 'no-nonsense' kind of dentist. 'Get in and get the work done!'

"The bay window where the Rexall sign is attached was a waiting room. The operating arena was to the left on the top floor and you entered up the stairs on Irving Street.

"Dr. Kelley, I believe, also held a license to practice law. His son, a medical doctor, I am told was the chief psychiatrist at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.

"This building had been 'remodeled' and had a stucco surface where it was not tiled. On the 9th avenue side of the outside wall of the pharmacy was a public phone to call a Yellow Cab. The phone had a metal cover, protecting it from the weather and painted yellow and you picked up the phone, which was answered by a dispatcher for Yellow Cab. There must have been maybe hundreds of these call phones around the city.

"Behind the Rexall sign and across the street was a sign noting the Park Lane Club. Kind of upscale. Next to the Park Lane, to the north on 9th Avenue was the parking lot for the Hogan and Sullivan Mortuary. Prior to Hogan and Sullivan it was the Halloran Funeral home. The parking lot was created when a couple of two story buildings were removed.

"The building on the northeast corner was Dessel's Pharmacy and upstairs was the dental office of Dr. Macy, DDS. He had an X-Ray machine and he was a little more expensive than Dr. Kelley. I never went to Dr. Macy, although I went to school with his son, but I believe he occupied the entire upper floor.

"East on Irving was the Hardware Store, candy store, and then a bakery. Next door was the Wood Shed Bar, then next door was a shoe store.

"Across from the Rexall on the southwest corner was the Furlong Store. This business specialized in infant and children's clothing, as well as school uniforms required by parochial schools. This building and store was owned and operated by the three Furlong sisters and their mother. The sisters and mother lived upstairs in the building, a large and spacious residence. The upstairs was entered from 9th Avenue and the store was entered on the corner of the building. The brother, Pat Furlong, owned and operated Century Electric, a very large and successful electrical contracting firm.

"Across the street on the southeast corner was a bar, called the Stein. It was a 'shot and beer' bar. If you desired a martini or manhattan you had to go elsewhere. Just east of the Stein on Irving Street was a vegetable store and meat market, together. It was part of a large 'super-market' that also had an entrance on 9th Avenue, just south of the Stein bar.

"Farther east on the south side of Irving was the Frank Doelger Real Estate office. He was the older brother of Henry Doelger. I believe there was a pizza restaurant east of the Doelger office, then a small bar. The bar only sold beer and wine. At the southwest corner of 8th and Irving was a Bank of America branch that was later to move to where the Rexall building appears in this photo."

Thank you, Denis!

More Irving Street memories from Frank Dunnigan.

Contribute your own stories about western neighborhoods places!

Page launched 20 August 2010.

Save SF History