Monthly Archives: January 2011

Secret of the Stones

Whenever I ride my bike to work, I come across a semi-circle of what appear to be old cobblestones at the intersection of Frederick & Shrader Streets.

Frederick & Shrader Stones

Frederick & Shrader Stones

I never thought much of it until I noticed a full circle of similar stones on 13th Street, at Folsom, near Rainbow Grocery.

13th & Folsom Stones

13th & Folsom Stones

13th & Folsom Stones

My curiosity was piqued. What do they mean? Why are they there? Are they the remnants of an ancient civilization, a decorative flare from a bygone era of well funded city government, or simply the remains of an old cobblestone street?

An e-mail to the San Francisco Department of Public Works solved the mystery. Chris McDaniels of the DPW quickly responded to my query:

“The cobblestone circle in the roadway is there to identify an underground¬†San Francisco Fire Department water storage tank or cisterns. In emergencies, the SFFD rely on these indicator to assist in fire fighting when hydrant are non operational. The tank hold several thousand gallons of water and are installed at various location around the City. Modern cisterns use brick instead of cobblestones.”

As to the cistern at Frederick & Shrader, DPW Mechanical Engineer Michael B. Smith went on to say:

“Our records indicate it was constructed in 1908 of reinforced concrete and has a capacity of 75,000 gallons.”

He also sent me these fascinating DPW cistern construction drawings:

Frederick & Shrader Cistern Plans

Cistern Ring Construction Guidlines

The first document appears to be the original plans/work order for the Frederick & Shrader cistern dating back to 1909/1910.  The second is a somewhat more recent diagram from 2007 outlining basic cistern construction guidelines.

So there you have it! The Secret of the Stones. Hopefully they’ll never be needed, but it’s good to know they’re there.

Many thanks to Chris & Michael of the SFDPW for making this post possible.


Filed under General, History, Streetscape

I Scream, You Scream…

Photo by Elan Segarra

Happy New Year! And what an interesting one it shall be with a new Governor, Lieutenant Governor (eventually), Insurance Commissioner, Attorney General, and House of Reps. Not to mention a new Interim Mayor and Board of Supes on their way in the coming weeks.

Anywho, as many of you may have already know and/or seen, after several vacant years, the old Cole Foods location at 815 Cole is due to become “The Ice Cream Bar: Soda Fountain and Creamery” at some point (soon?). Still no hints as to exactly what they’ll serve (aside from ice cream & soda, of course) or when they’ll open, but there is a newish “Notice of Public Hearing” posted in the window announcing a Planning Commission hearing on January 20th, starting at 1:30 PM, in Room 400 at City Hall.

According to the notice, they’ll be considering “An application for… A new full-service restaurant (Soda Fountain)”.¬† Does that mean they’ll be serving food as well, or is that just the type of permit usually required for a soda shop?

I’m guessing they’re unrelated to this Ice Cream Bar in The Philippines, however their turtle pie and mango float sure does look tasty.

Anyone make it to the open house back in November?

Some previous coverage here and here.

Update, 2/28/11: Turns out the Cole Valley Improvement Association featured a detailed article about the new Soda Fountain on Page 5 of their Winter 2010 Newsletter (pdf). Check it out to get all the deets.

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Filed under Local Business