NOTE: I found this draft from 2015. I did quite a lot of traveling that year but not so much writing about it.
Twenty Thousand Steps in San Francisco
It was supposed to be a relatively easy day. Take the BART from my aunt’s house in Sunnyvale, and hang out with my dad in San Francisco while I do some research for a book I’m working on set just before the 1906 earthquake.
The day started with a walking tour with City Guides and then it was supposed to be research at the San Francisco Public Library’s History Center.
And yeah, those things happened. But then little things kept getting added on. I found out about Argonaut Books. I absolutely had to go to Borderland Books. On the map, it all looks fairly close. Unless you keep making the wrong turns and add extra blocks and hills.
The tour I took was about the history of San Francisco’s private clubs such as the Olympic Club and the Bohemian Club. I practically had to run up Mason Street to get to the corner of Mason and California on time for the tour. I thought I was going to die by the last two blocks at the top. I barely had breath to ask if I was at the right place.
The tour was pretty good, but I wanted more information about the kind of people who went to these clubs, news, scandal and gossip that surrounded these places. I got some of that flavor with stories about Ambrose Bierce getting kicked out of the Bohemian club and helping to found the Family Club.
Mostly I soaked up the flavor of the area and photographed fire escapes.
The History Center found at the Public Library was great. The people at the Main Branch of the Public Library were awesome and very helpful. I got lots of suggestions for researching my fiction book to be set in San Francisco pre-1906 earthquake.
Borderland Books was pretty much as great as I thought it would be. Friendly staff and some great recommends. I’m really going to try to attend the Literary Crawl next weekend.
We decided it would be quicker to walk back to the Caltran station than take a bus or grab a taxi. The night scenes in the Mission district were intriguing. I was imagining going back to 22nd St Station but my dad wanted to go back to San Francisco station. That was a much longer walk than anticipated. But it ended up being the right thing to do since it meant we got seats on the next train.