May 21, 2022

Botu Linum

The Car & Automotive Devotees

The strange saga of a 1931 S.F. gas station that’s still on the move

5 min read

The Duesenbergs and Pierce-Arrows it once fueled are long gone, but a jaunty gas station that opened on Russian Hill in 1931 still clings to life — though in quite a different setting than where its journey began.

Instead of a perch on one of San Francisco’s posh slopes, the compact concrete structure with its zigzag silhouette and floral patterns sits marooned inside a vast Dogpatch storage yard, poking up from behind a barbed-wire-topped fence along the bay. The structure has been idling there since 2015, after its second life as a South of Market hot dog stand came to an end.

Developers carted it away from the corner of Beale and Howard streets to build a 45-story tower that opened in 2019. The quid pro quo — that developers would find yet another home for the the Jazz Age relic — never was fulfilled. City planners want the search to resume, not that they expect resolution anytime soon.

“My hope is that as the world opens up and reconnects, something good becomes possible,” said Sally Oerth, executive director of the Office of Community Investment and Infrastructure. “Everyone should be creative.”