Life in 1909

Grand Avenue

The city of South San Francisco recently celebrated its centennial, which makes one wonder about life here 100 years ago.

Early Town Development
The town had recently developed around the hub of Grand and Linden Avenues. It stretched north to San Bruno Mountain, and down the hill to the marshes south of Railroad Avenue. Meat packing, marble, brick, and paint production plants rose east of the newly built train yards on Point San Bruno. West of the Chestnut Avenue city limits spread vegetable, flower, and duck farms in the old village of Baden. Dairy cattle and horses roamed the hills west of the El Camino Real stagecoach road.

Groceries could be bought at Henry Kneeses’ Pioneer Grocery and meat at Pete Lind’s Meat Market (later home to Mexico Tipico Restaurant) or South City Meat Market. Shoes and shirts were found at Peoples Dry Goods Store or Baden Cash Store.

Medical Care
The Plymire Brothers ran a medical practice and hospital at their home on Grand and Spruce Avenues. Their former ward, Harry Cavassa, started Pacific Pharmacy and Telephone exchange at 258 Grand Ave.

News, Finance & Justice
EE Cunningham published the Enterprise Journal Newspaper on Linden Avenue. Across the street the Bank of South San Francisco and South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company oversaw much of the development and financing in town. A. McSweeney was the Justice of the Peace, and from his office also sold real estate, insurance, and did French Laundry

On a Saturday night, you could wander down to San Bruno Road (later Airport Boulevard), play billiards or pool at W.J Neff’s Parlor, and have a beer at the Pacheco Saloon. You might find a dance at Michenfelder’s Hall or a prize fight at Metropolitan Hall (later transformed for church the next morning).

If you wondered about the next 100 years, you could get your fortune told in the last house on Linden Avenue, opposite the lumber yard. Ladies paid only 25 cents.