of the Community
seeds of community were sown in the early 1900's.
A manong stood on Kearny Street and reminisces...
remember in 1910, the street cars on Kearny Street were pulled by four
horses. The streets were all wood. The milkman delivered the
milk in his horse and wagon. He delivered it to the St. Paul Hotel.
There were no streets in Chinatown either, it was all wood. Montgomery
Street was all water during that time. There was one park in Chinatown
. They call it Portsmouth Square. It was so wild…
- Benny's Cigar Store on Clay and
Kearny was built in 1915. This was an old Cigar Store. Goes
back to the time of the Exposition. This was owned by the Blaser
Brothers Co. They used to have a Bail Bond office here. I am
85 years old, and had this cigar store for 25 years. I also remember
the Santa Maria Restaurant. It was on Jackson near Kearny Street.
It was owned by the Santa Maria Brothers. This was a Visayan restaurant.
There were cable cars on Clay and Washington Streets. This was about
1918. The fare was five cents. Broadway was the dividing line
of Italian town. It went all the way to the wharf.
There were three Filipino barbershops on Kearny Street. One next door to the International Hotel.
was Tino's Shop. And next door to that was the Bataan Drug Store,
the Bataan Pool Hall, the Bataan Restaurant.
And across the street
where Mike's Pool Hall is now, I mean Lucky-M that used to be a clothing
store in 1930 or 1928 or 1929, he sold this building to a Filipino old
timer, then they made this into a pool hall. The first owner's name
was Julian, and the second, a Filipino boxer name Tano. He owned
it for a long time.
- Another Filipino name Samposa, from Mindanao,
wants to buy it for $3,500 but was turned down. And Muyco and his wife
took it over. They still manage the pool hall. The pool hall
has a history all he way up to now. The Filipino boys all know each
other. We are drawn together. We all come from the same place. We feel at home here."
- From 1920-35 there was a filipino male population
of 39,328. Legislation forbid Filipinos from owning land or setting up businesses.
They were to be kept moving, remain transient. They stayed in labor camps, rooming
houses and hotels.
The International Hotel was one of
these. "Manilatown," the Kearny/Jackson
Street area of San Francisco, became a permanent settlement, a convenient
culture contact. It was the home field-workers returned to, where
merchant marines lived while in port, where distant relatives and friends
could be contacted, where they could enjoy the security of a common culture.
Immigration laws re-enforced the role the International Hotel played as a
family with the social protection it provided. The Filipino community
in San Francisco existed in groups dictated by economic necessity
and blood brotherhood. The International Hotel became a symbol for
an entire minority community.
About 1954, the International Hotel
became significant for yet another reason. Enrico Banduccci, opened
his original "hungry i" (hungry intelectual) nightclub next door to Club Mandalay in the basement of the International
Hotel where performing artists got their start, such as: Nina Simone,
the Smothers Brothers, Lenny Bruce, the Kingston Trio, "Professor" Irwin Corey
and Bill Cosby, to name a few.
In 1977, the tenants of the International Hotel, mostly elderly
Filipinos, were evicted. Subsequently because of strong community
opposition the site was designated by the Board of Supervisors as a site
for low income senior housing.