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Chapter One— Conflicting Ideas about Hotel Life

1. These figures can be accepted only as rough approximations (and probably undercounts), since the U.S. Census does not compile hotel housing data in a separate category. On underreporting, see Hoch and Slayton, New Homeless and Old , 107-123. [BACK]

2. Dowdee, "Incidence of Change in the Residential Hotel Stock," 28, found 31,000 residential hotel housing units remaining in San Francisco, making up 9.8 percent of the city's total housing units. The city of San Francisco never annexed land outside San Francisco County; hence its urban percentage of hotels as dwelling units is much higher than the reported national 1980 average of 3.2 percent, which (again) is based on poor data. If downtown districts could be compared, hotel percentages might be much closer in various cities. On New York, see Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City," 1.1, 3.1-3.12. On smaller California cities, see Deni Greene (director of the California Governor's Office of Planning and Research), I. Donald Turner (director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development), and Jonathan P. Brooks (housing specialist, Redevelopment Agency of Eureka, California), in reports given at the CGOPR conference. [BACK]

3. Kevin Leary, "San Francisco's Cyril Magnin Dies at 88," San Francisco Chronicle (June 9, 1988): A-1, 20-21. Magnin's parents founded the J. Magnin clothing store in 1907. Magnin was its president and driving force from 1936 to 1969; after that, he was the president of an investment firm. [BACK]

4. Beacon, "Home Is Where the Hotel Is," 16-19. [BACK]

5. Goldberger, "Seeking the Ideal," 52, 55, 59-60. [BACK]

6. Beacon, "Home Is Where the Hotel Is"; Carroll, "Home, Home on the Hill," 17. [BACK]

7. This is a composite character based on interviews by the author and on Erickson and Eckert, "The Elderly Poor in Downtown San Diego Hotels," 441ff. See also Eckert, Unseen Elderly , 86-93. [BACK]

8. Wagner quoted in David Halberstam, "The Brightest Lights on Broadway," Parade Magazine (May 18, 1986): 4-5, 6-8. On the YMCA, an interview with Barry Kroll, director of the Embarcadero YMCA, San Francisco, June 2, 1984. [BACK]

9. This advertisement, unchanged except to delete the name and address (Thor Residential Hotel, 2084 Mission Street) and to substitute "subway" for "BART," was posted at the San Francisco Veterans' Center in fall 1982. [BACK]

10. Observations by the author while living in the National Hotel in San Francisco during fall 1986. Rents were about $300 a month. [BACK]

11. Felix Ayson, interviewed in Curtis Choy's documentary film, The Fall of the I-Hotel ( 1983 ), quoted in Grannan, "International Hotel," 10. Quotation edited for grammar. [BACK]

12. California Statutes of 1917, chap. 736, sect. 10. The full text, as slightly amended in 1923, continues, "and shall include hotels, lodging and rooming continue

houses, dormitories, Turkish baths, bachelor hotels, studio hotels, public and private clubs." [BACK]

13. The legal derivation and history of the word "hotel" is reviewed in an elaborate opinion given in Cromwell v. Stephens , 2 Daly 15, 3 Abb. Pr. N.S. 26; see also 19 ALR 517 (1922), 53 ALR 988 (1928), and 28 ALR 3rd 1240 and 1245. On the definition of "hotel" in the federal courts, see Creedon v. Lunde , D.C. Wash., 90 F Supp 119. For historical census definitions, see U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Hotels, 1930 . For a historical account with the one-month definition, see Trollope, North America , 480-492.

In addition to the number of rooms, some jurisdictions require a hotel to satisfy one or many of the following criteria: a telephone operator, a clerk, a mail or key rack, a lobby, some transient accommodations, and a place for safekeeping of guests' valuables. The WPA-period Real Property Survey in San Francisco considered as hotels only those with a telephone operator, a clerk, a mail rack, or a key rack. [BACK]

14. In a few rooming houses or lodging houses, tenants have kitchen access to cook meals individually. [BACK]

15. Historical newspaper articles and duplicate listings under different categories in city directories show that compilers and readers as late as the 1920s had overlapping and rather hazy definitions for commercial lodgings. See Groth, "Forbidden Housing," 34-36, 50-52. [BACK]

16. The kitchen definition dates at least to 1887. See Lubove, The Progressives and the Slums, 18, 26, 169 . The full sentence defining a tenement continues, " . . . but having a common right in the halls, stairways, water closets, or privies, or some of them." In 1912, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that an apartment house was not a tenement "if each family had its own toilet, kitchen, and set bathtub." [BACK]

17. I will leave to anthropologists the battles of defining True Culture. Interpolating from Clifford Geertz, I hold culture to be the mental and physical webs of meaning that people themselves spin—not simply an ideational system but an adaptive and material system. See Clifford Geertz, "Thick Description," in Geertz, The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays (New York: Basic Books, 1973): 3-30, and Roger M. Keesing, "Theories of Culture," in B. Siegel et al., Annual Review of Anthropology 3 (1974): 73-97. [BACK]

18. Laffan, "Caravansaries," 176; Hayner, Hotel Life , 3; the phrasing of sleeping when tired, etc., is from Siegal, Outposts of the Forgotten , 174. [BACK]

19. Hayner, Hotel Life , 104-109, 126, 165. [BACK]

20. For a classic description of lobby mixtures, see Hayner, Hotel Life , 93. [BACK]

21. Ibid., 147. [BACK]

22. See Burki, "Housing the Low-Income Urban Elderly," 282; Eckert, Unseen Elderly , 84; Werner and Bryson, "Guide to Preservation and Maintenance," pt. 1, 1001-1002. Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City," 3.10-3.12, finds a lower preference for SRO life than he expected, al- soft

though this may simply reflect the grim conditions of SRO life in New York City. [BACK]

23. For instance, see Phyllis Ehrlich, "A Study of the Invisible Elderly: Characteristics and Needs of the St. Louis Downtown SRO Elderly," in SL, The Invisible Elderly . [BACK]

24. On San Francisco, Dowdee, "Incidence of Change in the Residential Hotel Stock," 38; on New York, Judith Spektor (director of the Mayor's Office of SRO Housing, New York City), at the CGOPR conference, and Susan Baldwin, "Salvaging SRO Housing," City Limits: The News Magazine of New York City Housing and Neighborhoods (April 1981): 12-15. Frank, "Overview of Single Room Occupancy Housing," 6-7. [BACK]

25. Kasinitz, "Gentrification and Homelessness," 9-14; Dan Salerno, Kim Hopper, and Ellen Baxter, Hardship in the Heartland: Homelessness in Eight U.S. Cities (New York: Community Service Society of New York, Institute for Social Welfare Research, 1984); James A. Cogwell, No Place Left Called Home (New York: Friendship Press, 1983). On options, see Baldwin, "Salvaging SRO Housing," 12; Werner and Bryson, "Guide to Preservation and Maintenance," pt. 1, 1005. [BACK]

26. For these phrases, I have relied particularly on Ira Ehrlich, in SL, The Invisible Elderly , 1-6; see also another early and still useful collection of reports, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, Single Room Occupancy . [BACK]

27. See Deirdre Carmody, "A Report Recounts Problems in a New York Welfare Hotel," New York Times (September 30, 1984), which summarizes CSS, "Struggling to Survive in a Welfare Hotel," on the Martinique at Broadway and 32d. This hotel is the corruption-ridden feature of Kozol, Rachel and Her Children , which also appeared in serial form in The New Yorker in January 1988. [BACK]

28. On San Diego, Erickson and Eckert, "The Elderly Poor in Downtown San Diego Hotels," 441. The study compared people in hotels priced for middle-income, wage-laborer, and skid-row budgets. On Chicago, Hoch and Spicer, "SROs: An Endangered Species," 11. [BACK]

29. On New York, Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City." The California figures are from Paul Silvern, economic development specialist for the Skid Row Development Corporation, Los Angeles, and Fei Tsen, Chinese Community Housing Corporation of San Francisco, at the CGOPR conference. [BACK]

30. On single people, Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City," 3.1-3.2. On mobility assumptions, Werner and Bryson, "Guide to Preservation and Maintenance," pt. 1. In the full price range of San Diego hotels, Erickson and Eckert, "The Elderly Poor in Downtown San Diego Hotels," reports that the average tenant stayed over three years, matching the average three-year and four-year rates found in residential hotels in other cities. [BACK]

31. Interview with Ramona Davies, former public health nurse, San Francisco, July 1981. [BACK]

32. Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City," 3.1-3.2. In 1981, speakers from several other U.S. cities gave similar figures at the CGOPR conference. See also Eckert, The Unseen Elderly , 2, 26; U.S. Senate, Single Room Occupancy; and Ehrlich, "St. Louis Downtown SRO Elderly," 8. [BACK]

33. Walter Krumwilde in The American Lutheran Survey (Columbia, South Carolina), quoted in "Religion and Social Service," Literary Digest (October 28, 1916). [BACK]

34. Eckert, The Unseen Elderly , and SL, The Invisible Elderly . [BACK]

35. Ira Ehrlich in SL, The Invisible Elderly , 4. [BACK]

36. Liu, "San Francisco Chinatown Residential Hotels," 2. [BACK]

37. Cushing Dolbeare, "The Political Obstacles to Decent Housing," Catherine Bauer Lecture, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley, March 10, 1987. [BACK]

38. Caroll Kowal in SL, The Invisible Elderly , 40. [BACK]

39. Blackburn, "Single Room Occupancy in New York City," 3-12. Philip Hager, "Singles Make Up Growing Share of Urban Households," Minneapolis Star and Tribune (October 30, 1982): 1-S, 5-S; New York Times (September 9, 1984). [BACK]

40. Brad Paul interview, February 26, 1981. [BACK]

41. Melvin Carriere (vice president, Community Development Division, Wells Fargo Bank, San Francisco) at the CGOPR conference. [BACK]

42. Dolores Hayden, "What Would a Non-Sexist City Be Like? Speculations on Housing Urban Design and Human Work," Signs 5:3 Supplement (1980): S170-S187; quotation on S171-S172. [BACK]

43. Gunther Barth, Instant Cities: Urbanization and the Rise of San Francisco and Denver (New York: Oxford University Press, 1975): 108-127, 182-228; James E. Vance, Geography and Urban Evolution in the San Francisco Bay Area (UC, Berkeley: Institute of Governmental Studies, 1964); John R. Borchert, "American Metropolitan Evolution," Geographical Review 57 (1967): 301-332; Brian Godfrey, Neighborhoods in Transition . [BACK]

44. On vast numbers, the writer is Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield, Mass., Republican , quoted in Williamson, The American Hotel , 84. On very early San Francisco hotels (1850s-1860s), see Francis J. Mazzi, "City from Frontier: Symbols of Urban Development in Nineteenth-Century San Francisco," (Ph.D. dissertation, Department of History, University of Southern California, 1974): 110-116, 153-174, 189. On boardinghouse keepers, see Wolfe, Lodging House Problem . [BACK]

45. For instance, a pre-World War I surge of hotel building in San Francisco was closely matched in Los Angeles from 1914 to 1915; CIH, Second Annual Report (1916): 277. In San Francisco in 1980, the 600-plus residential hotels continue

in the city had all been built before 1930; most before 1921. The unpublished data were compiled by Scott Dowdee, Department of City and Regional Planning, 1980. After 1900, rapidly growing economies in cities such as Boston, New York, and Chicago challenged San Francisco's nineteenth-century lead in hotel rooms per capita. [BACK]

46. Groth, "Forbidden Housing," 325-327. Note that these numbers—based on interpolation between directories, insurance maps, plumbing records, and tax files—do not agree with the first national set of hotel statistics, published in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Hotels, 1930 . See n. 47. [BACK]

47. As reported in U.S. Bureau of the Census, Census of Hotels, 1930 , 104, San Francisco's proportions leaned more to the residential side than the national averages. San Francisco had 5 percent mainly transient, over one-third mainly permanent, and 57 percent mixed. This census report was badly skewed, however. It surveyed only members of a national hotel association and included only hotels reporting over 25 rooms. In San Francisco, that meant only 333 hotels when the city directory listed 940 distinct hotel addresses. The sociologist who specialized on hotel life in the 1920s and 1930s, Norman Hayner ( Hotel Life ), concluded that the official census count had largely missed rooming houses and cheap lodging houses as well as many midpriced hotels.

In that same year, a private survey of the total rooms in palace and midpriced hotels in New York found 9 percent of the rooms were only residential, 40 percent only tourist, and 51 percent shifted between residential and tourist use (typescript notes by W. Johnson Quinn, "Hotels in New York and Brooklyn as of February 1st, 1930," New York Historical Society). [BACK]

48. Palace hotels all advertised nationally for tourists. Only a few midpriced hotels advertised so widely in 1880, but by 1930, 80 percent of them advertised for tourists, still emphasizing homey features and rates for permanent guests. Most reputable rooming house operators avoided transient guests altogether if they could. For cheap lodging houses, Nels Anderson ( The Hobo , 30) observed that a third to a half of the guests stayed in one hotel for several months or more; most others moved from hotel to hotel but as permanent residents in flux, not as travelers. [BACK]

49. San Francisco probably had higher proportions in palace and midpriced hotels than these estimates because its warm winters and cool summers brought both winter and summer long-term guests for its expensive hotels. The 1980 figures are based on computerized tax data gathered monthly. The data are still complicated as many rooms shift between tourist and residential use. See Dowdee, "Incidence of Change in the Residential Hotel Stock," viii, 34. Dowdee's report was republished in 1982 by the San Francisco Department of City Planning. [BACK]

50. Ford, A Few Remarks , 222. [BACK]

51. I am adapting the scheme for class locations set out in Erik Olin Wright, Classes (London: Verso, 1985): 64-104, and Michael B. Katz, "Social Class continue

in North American Urban History," Journal of Interdisciplinary History 11 (1981): 579-605. On class as a cultural and economic formation, I obviously rely on E. P. Thompson. I have also used the more recent popular definitions of class in Mary R. Jackman and Robert W. Jackman, Class Awareness in the United States (Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: University of California Press, 1983): 13-41; and for the upper class, G. William Domhoff, Who Rules America Now? (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1983): esp. 17-55. [BACK]

52. David Rocah, "Homelessness and Civil Liberties," Civil Liberties (Fall/Winter 1989): 5, 7. [BACK]

53. For the 1910 and 1930 surveys of San Francisco hotels, lists of existing postfire Chinatown hotels were added to the directory categories, since Chinese hotels were underrepresented in the directory. Mariners' hotels were also likely underrepresented, but these buildings and building records did not survive urban renewal. [BACK]

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