Buildings

Egyptian Theatre, Coos Bay OR (6 photos).

Considered by many to be the crown jewel of Coos Bay’s architectural legacy, the Egyptian Theatre dates back to 1925, at the height of the global Egyptian Revival architecture craze inspired by the discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb three years earlier.

Grauman’s Egyptian Theater in Los Angeles is probably the best known of these buildings, but the Egyptian Theatre of Coos Bay seats 700 people in a city whose population was under 5,000 at the time it was built, and didn’t top 10,000 for decades since.

Considering the rural character of Oregon’s coastline, this state of the art theater must have been the greatest architectural attraction within hundreds of miles for generations of coastal, and even inland, Oregonians.

The interior is lavishly gilded and decorated with hieroglyphics and stylized Egyptian art motifs that have not changed since 1925, lending the venue a spellbindingly retroactive feel. The original Wurlitzer organ (from the time of silent movies) still sits in the theatre and remains functional.

The theatre functioned continuously as a movie house until 2005, when increasing competition from nearby multiplexes finally led to its shuttering. Local preservationists worked to save the theatre from demolition or massive remodeling, and had the structure added to the National Register of Historical Places in 2010. In 2014, the Egyptian Theatre of Coos Bay reopened as a venue for special screenings and events.

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Marquee of Coos Bay’s Egyptian Theatre on Intersate 101, with yellow reader board advertising its Wurlitzer organ.
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Egyptian Theatre parking lot, with period appropriate signage.
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Egyptian Theatre marquee, looking north up I-101S.
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Lobby entry of Egyptian Theatre.
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Closeup of door handle.
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Even closer up.

Coos Bay, Oregon. May 2015 (15 photos).

In Coos Bay, Hwy. 101 becomes Broadway Ave.
In downtown Coos Bay, Hwy. 101 becomes Broadway Ave.
Wine & Wi-Fi.
Wine & Wi-Fi.
The landmark Tioga Hotel building.
The landmark Tioga Hotel building (with the Blue Heron in front).
Another view of the Tioga Hotel.
Backstage view of the Tioga Hotel.
Coos Bay, Hwy 101.
Sidewalk dining on hwy 101. Coos Bay.
Backstage at the Hall Bldg.
Backstage at the Hall Bldg.
19th Century-ish rooming house with a midcentury strip mall add on.
19th Centuryish rooming house with midcentury stripmall add on.

 

A time progression of interstate travel (rear to front): waterway, railway, highway.
A time lapse of interstate modes of travel: waterway, railway, highway.
Coos Bay. Other side of the tracks.
Coos Bay. Other side of the tracks.

train closeup coos baytrain tracks coos bay

waynes color centre

Riverport infrastructure.
Riverport infrastructure.
Moribund ice machines.
Moribund ice machines.
8 pm.
8 pm.

California Street (9 Photos)

On September 2, 2014 fate ordained that I would handle a downtown delivery route. A downtown route is a high-stakes undertaking. The work is much more challenging than a residential route, but you’re rewarded with spectacular sights and a chance to ride the lightning by being a cog in the timeless, well-oiled machinery of one of America’s oldest running business districts for a day

The route began in the wonderfully preserved area east of Telegraph Hill abutting the wharfs. This is the true heart of San Francisco, the nearest natural harbor in San Francisco after entering the the Golden Gate. Ships arrived here by the thousands during the Gold Rush and were simply abandoned by the crews, as often as not being turned into the landfill that historic waterfront San Francisco is built on.

My delivery was on the 100 block of Green St. at the corner of Icehouse Alley, just one block away from the Green St. laboratory where Philo Farnsworth perfected the electronic television.

Every street sign tells a story.
Every street sign tells a story.

***

My next delivery was in one of the Embarcadero Center towers. This delivery entails being directed by teamsters into the underground parking garage of a 30-something story skyscraper. There are no pleases and thank yous here, just a lot of move-its and c’mon- alreadys. With the specter of domestic terrorism and a bunch of people driving box trucks underneath skyscrapers, everyone’s on his best behavior here. This was no place to stop and take a photo.

***

For the last part of the day, I had nine stops along the first six blocks of California Street. On a street like California, with cable cars, taxis, lunch crowds, and tourists, it made more sense to just park the truck in one place and use the hand cart to make the deliveries.

I parked across the street from the Tadich Grill, San Francisco’s oldest continually running eatery. Tradition runs strong here. The waiters wear white jackets and black pants, and there have only been seven chefs since 1925.

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There’s often a crowd outside Tadich Grill.

 

***

My third or fourth stop on California St. was a building that had a really nice collage in the lobby of the iconic downtown street grid done in art deco tiles. Before I could even press the shutter on my Iphone camera the security guard came rushing out from behind his desk shouting “No pictures! No pictures!” I compromised and took just one.

Stylish art deco tile map.
Stylish art deco tile map.

***

A block or two up was the iconic four way crossing at the intersection of California and Montgomery, where you can cut across the intersection diagonally right in front of a cop car, as people are doing here.

4-Way Xing
4-Way Xing, California & Montgomery. The Transamerica Pyramid is just a block up Montgomery.

Below is a close-up of a the building seen in the 4-way crossing shot.

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***

 

 

The insides of the buildings are as historically eye-catching as the outsides, but after the first security guard yelled at me, I didn’t want to press my luck as a photographer. This shot of an ashtray in an elevator lobby was the best I could do.

Ashtray in lobby, Mad Men style.
Ashtray in lobby, Mad Men style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***

After I made my final delivery on the 500 block of California Street, it was time to hop back in the truck and call it a day, leaving California Street to the cable cars, businesspeople and the lunch crowd.

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A cable car rolling past the Tadich Grill. It doesn’t get more San Francisco than that.

***

The trip back to the warehouse took me onto the other side of the tracks, along Mission St.

This was the view from the red light at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness.
This was the view from the red light at the intersection of Mission and South Van Ness.

I made a burrito stop along Mission between 18th and 19th at the flagship location of the celebrated Taqueria Cancun. The equally legendary, and even more notorious, Hunt’s Donuts used to be on the same block. The section of wall mural below is all that remains.

Where I made my burrito stop at the flagship Taqueria Cancun location @ Mission between 18th & 19th.

The Richmond. June 13, 2014 (11 photos)

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Geary Blvd idyll.
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In the Avenues, every hour is magic hour, as long as there’s no fog.
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The new S.F. You have to come to the Outer Richmond to find a hipster-free taqueria. Diagonal parking spaces a bonus.
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How cars and houses look in the alternate universe of the Richmond, where the people wear jackets in the summer.
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The beach is almost an afterthought in the Richmond.
A crowded beach by Richmond District standards.
A crowded beach by Richmond District standards.
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The last red light in the Western Hemisphere?
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The windmills in Golden Gate Park aren’t just there for looks. They originally took advantage of the area’s high wind activity to pump groundwater to water the park’s flora.
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How a beach town should look.

 

 

 

San Lorenzo (5 photos).

Sam's Drive Thru. Burgers, tacos, and espresso.
Sam’s Drive Thru. Burgers, tacos, and bad coffee. Just the kind of place where Jim Rockford would eat.
Usher Inn, San Lorenzo.
Usher Inn, Timeless San Lorenzo.
Another look at the Usher Inn.
Another look at the Usher Inn. That’s the moon, top center.
Clyde's Corner, technically in San Leandro, but spiritually in San Lorenzo.
Clyde’s Corner, technically in San Leandro, but emotionally in San Lorenzo.
Clyde's Corner. Serving the area's consumer electronic needs since 1954.
Clyde’s Corner. Serving the area’s consumer electronic needs for 60 years.

 

 

 

 

Peninsula, Holiday Week 2013-2014 (8 images).

Interstate 280 just south of San Francisco. When you're doing the Peninsula route, you take your food where you can get it. I used to hit this place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner
Interstate 280 just south of San Francisco. When you’re doing the Peninsula route, you take your food where you can get it. I used to hit this place for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
The Hearst house, Santa Inez St. When Patricia Hearst was kidnapped, news reporters set up a media camp here outside the gate.
The Hearst house, Santa Inez St. When Patricia Hearst was kidnapped, news reporters set up a media camp here outside the gate. Some say it was the first in television history.
Church of All Russian Saints. Burlingame.
Church of All Russian Saints. Burlingame.
The city of San Mateo up by the 280 is perhaps the best Eichler House neighborhood in the world. But I think this fortress-like Eichler is down around Sunnyvale.
The city of San Mateo up by the 280 is perhaps the best neighborhood for Eichler Houses in the world. But I think this fortress-like Eichler is down around Sunnyvale.
El Camino Real. Running for 25 miles across the entire length of the Peninsula and hitting over a dozen cities , the stretch of El Camino Real known as Route 82 is more reminiscent of L.A. than any other Bay Area road, and by L.A. I mean 1970s Glendale.
El Camino Real. Running for 25 miles across the entire length of the Peninsula and hitting over a dozen cities , the stretch of El Camino Real known as Route 82 is more reminiscent of L.A. than any other Bay Area road, and by L.A. I mean 1970s Glendale.
El Camino Real restaurant sign.
El Camino Real restaurant sign.
El Camino Real Apartment Buildings
El Camino Real apartments

Peninsula House 1Peninsula House 2

Corner house. San Mateo, near 280.
Corner house. San Mateo, near 280.