I want in this parking lot! Ghost signs stretch down the length of the Helen Hotel (formerly the El Rosa Hotel), a small SRO hotel from 1906. Besides the more visible/legible 7Up and hotel signs there are two others running the length of this building. Well preserved and entirely legible signs – except for the odd angle from which they’re currently viewable. Like I said, I take issue with this locked gate.
With some research I’ve determined that the middle sign is for Sorensen Co; a local jewelers with early 20th century outlets on the 700 block of Market Street and the 2500 block of Mission Street. A second, more simplistic Sorensen Co sign can be be found across Market Street on the Potter Hotel in SOMA.
I could find very little on the Mission Street Sorensen Co outlet. However, there was abundant info on the Market Street outlet – I’m assuming because it was the flagship store. Located at 715 Market, this Sorensen Co location was two doors down from the Call Building, one of the few San Francisco skyscrapers to survive the 1906 Earthquake. As you can see from these historical photographs, Sorensen Co was a quite large, established, and fancy jewelers.
And the furtherest back of the three main signs? That one is definitely for Wrigley’s Spearmint gum. Why? Well, we’ve seen this sign before and the angle, color, and positioning of the white rectangle are unmistakable once you know what to look for. For example:
This well preserved example of a Wrigley’s ad is on the side if 1255 Polk Street. The building is the Le Forest Hotel (formerly the Hotel Sahlein) and has no fewer than three ghost signs (including the Wrigley’s sign).
So long story short – This length of signs is amazing! One 7Up sign, one “Transient Rooms” hotel sign, one Sorensen Co jewelers sign, and one Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum sign. All in great shape with minimal fading or vandalism (although with one awkwardly placed fire escape). My kingdom for some good bolt cutters and a way to avoid security cams…