Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Redwood is one of the tree-plant streets (Ivy, Lily, Hickory, Linden, Rose, Olive, Birch, Myrtle…) that used to run--and now skip--through Hayes Valley.

These were always narrow—the kinds of streets where the rich certainly wouldn’t live but their hired help would frequent. While narrow, they were long: 6 or 8 blocks or more. But they were still little enough not to be taken seriously, and easily erased when more important buildings were to be built (City Hall, St. Ignatius College, Mechanics Pavilion, Commerce High School, and later Davies Symphony Hall, War Memorial Opera House, the state building, and so many more).

Redwood and the others have survived into the 21st century in bits and starts. Snippets of Redwood exist as deadends west from Laguna, east from Franklin, and for a block-long shady stretch between Van Ness and Polk (shady, not from redwood trees, but from the highrise public buildings on either side). Along this shady corridor, you can now find the City Box office (seller of tickets to many cool local events), and the back door Trader Vic’s restaurant (home of the original Mai Tai, invented in 1944).


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