Thursday, October 7, 2010


Sometime in the spring or summer of 1964, Rodney Albin’s uncle acquired a twenty-two room Victorian boarding house on the corner of Page and Broderick Streets in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The place had seen better days. Built in the 1880s by the owner of a high-toned downtown haberdashery, it had all the modern 1888 conveniences – speaking tubes, a doorbell that rang on each floor, and gas lighting sconces on the walls for when the electricity went out. Its pearl, though, was in the basement: a full-sized ballroom with a stage in one alcove. The entire room was lined with glowing virgin redwood panels.
But in the 1940s, 1090 Page Street was downscaled from a mansion to a boarding house. Life Magazine mentioned it in a 1961 story titled “The Irish in America.” It featured a full-page photo of thirty ‘typical Irish’ working stiffs and Mrs. Minton, their landlady, all leaning out the windows of 1090 Page waving madly.
For Rodney’s uncle, the building was strictly a business investment. He was planning to tear it down and replace it with federally funded senior housing. But the deal was bogged down in Washington somewhere, so Rodney approached him – he knew a way his uncle could make some money on the place while he waited to finalize the deal. Why not rent rooms to San Francisco State students? Why, it happened that Rodney himself was a State student. With his connections he could easily fill the place with the most respectable type of student, earnest and studious. Rodney guaranteed him $600 a month, and was soon installed as landlord of what would become possibly the most renowned proto-hippie/scruffy student pad in San Francisco’s short history. By fall, the place was jumping. Since rooms began at $15 a month, it was affordable, to say the least.
Partial article from the Pondering Pig @

1. Light is Faster than Sound
2. Bye Bye Baby
3. I Need a Man to Love
4. History
5. Summertime
6. Piece of my Heart
7. Women is Losers
8. All is Loneliness
9. Call on Me
10. Ball and Chain
11. Moanin' at Midnight
12. Comin' Home
13. Down on Me


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