Checking the lineup for future Design Review Board meetings, we learned of two projects along Cali that will apparently take out what we consider distinctive old buildings. Both will be taken up by the SW DRB on May 10. We posted yesterday about the first one, at 3811 California. The second is a longer, more personal yarn, so we’re putting it (pix included) one click away:
The second doomed building is at 6053 Cali, northwest corner of Graham/Cali (north of Morgan Junction), currently home to a martial-arts studio, Turning Point Acupuncture and Herbal Medicine, and an empty storefront. Before we go on, a photo:
When we first moved to this side of WS more than a decade ago, most of the building housed Butcher Block Espresso, named in honor of a butcher shop that once held the space. (Even now, if you get close to the building, you can see faded lettering over the north half of the awning that appears to read “Randy’s Good Rich Meats.”) Along with the old Java Bean cart in front of the original pre-fire M-Junction Thriftway, BBE was among our favorite places to get the daily latte (yes, espresso-mania goes that far back, back even to the day when WS had only one Starbucks).
Butcher Block Espresso is long gone. What keeps this building in our heart is its design, so clearly an echo of a long-gone day. It’s even got its own page in the city’s catalog of “historical sites,” which describes the 1924 structure as “one of the relatively few buildings in the area that evokes the Mission Revival style, with its arched parapet and stucco cladding.”
When we walk or drive by, we sometimes time-travel back a bit while looking at the ornamental circles on its facade, echoed on the adjoining building’s south side (left photo).
Now, this building has new owners (who paid $1.2 million in January), and it is in the crosshairs of a project proposal for “townhouses (and) live/work townhome units.” The owner, architect, and description are the same as this Harbor Ave project, which might give us a clue as to what’s ahead for the Cali/Graham corner. Progress, progress, yes, we know. And someday those “live/work townhome units” might themselves be considered “historic.” Nonetheless, allow us to mourn some symbols of the past, and hope that perhaps at least someone with real photographic skills might at least snap a few pictures and find a home for them (Log House Museum?) before this, too, is gone.