In our occasional series, Shop Local Disrupted, we are taking a look at how e-commerce is changing retail in San Francisco. To offer some historical perspective, this piece looks back at a Mission Street revived during the country’s worst economic crisis.
The building at 2205 Mission street is striking. Even with shattered windows, and an exterior of weather-stained plywood, the façade that curves gently around the corner of 18th and Mission Streets retains a sense of grandeur. When cartographer Ben Pease sketched it in 1989, the building was still intact.
“It was clearly from the era of the mezzanine department store,” Pease said. “I didn’t know what it was, but I could tell it had been something. That stretch of Mission was like a miniature downtown. One side of the street was designed in this slightly exuberant art-deco style.”
That style, known as Streamline Moderne by San Francisco City Planners, came to define 2205’s historic designation thanks to the tale of the two men who owned the property from 1912 to 1961 and ran it as the Gernhardt-Strohmaier Stove Store.