Noe Valley Voice October 1998

Rumors: Real News

By Mazook

FORTY-NINER GOLD has found its way to Noe Valley. Reliable sources say that San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. recently signed a check for $860,000 to buy his daughter a brand new house in our neighborhood. It was her 21st birthday present.

DeBartolo's daughter works for the 49ers, and reportedly moved to the neighborhood last month.

I don't want to tell you where she lives, but I can give you a clue: The 1849ers shouted this when they found gold, and it is now our state's motto.

Apparently Eddie got a bargain since the builder was asking $995,000 and not getting it.

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THE 'FOR SALE' SIGNS on the historic Axford mansion and carriage house on the corner of Noe and 25th streets (1190 Noe) will soon disappear.

"The escrow is about to close on the main house," says Ginger Karels, who with B.J. Droubi brokered the deal.

Actually, the two structures are on separate lots and were sold separately. The carriage house sold for $430,000, and the main house went for close to the asking price, which was $699,000.

The main house was built in 1877 by ironworker William Axford. He also built a foundry (now the carriage house) "up 25th Street." He then turned his iron works into a manufacturing business specializing in frying pans. You can still see evidence of Axford's personal workmanship on the property -- the iron fence around the house, for instance.

Departing owner Mike Underhill labored long and hard to have the house declared a San Francisco landmark (it's landmark #133). During his research, Mike learned that Axford sold the buildings to the Strahle family at the turn of the century. They were butchers, and they were the ones who converted the foundry into a carriage house and stable.

Mike bought the carriage house in 1983 and the main house in 1986. He and his family have lovingly maintained the Victorian house and rose garden ever since.

Mike says he is moving to the South of Market area for a while, "to try the loft life. But I'll be back."

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IF YOU LIKE TALKING real estate, then you should take a gander at the house for sale at the top of Sanchez Hill near 21st Street. The house, at 818 Sanchez St., is the last of four luxury homes built by Seamus McGree and designed by San Francisco architect Stephen Roake. It has a price tag of $1,795,000.

The four-bedroom, 51/2-bath house has three stories above a three-car garage. There are 10- and 9-foot ceilings and hardwood oak floors throughout. The place also has three fireplaces, two furnaces, a 100-gallon water heater, a large laundry facility, a kitchen with a sub-zero refrigeration unit, two dishwashers, and a six-burner range with commercial hood and ventilator system.

Gee, I wonder if there will be any overbids. Call Shamrock Realty if you've got the dough.

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THE DOGS WILL BE RABID when they hear this news: Upper Douglass Park got an F on an August report card released by the San Francisco Dog Owners Group (SFDOG), headquartered in Noe Valley. The group unleashed a special task force this spring to survey the city's official dog runs, 17 park areas where dogs are allowed to romp free.

Each of the parks was rated according to 10 criteria, such as terrain, park maintenance, safety, litter, garbage cans, signs, and poop bags. In the final tally, only one park got an A -- Mountain Lake Park, north of Lake Street at Eighth Avenue. The rest scored C's, D's and F's, including Dolores Park, "which appears to have been converted to a soccer field," and Douglass, whose dog run the task force had a hard time locating. (It's at the top of 27th Street.)

Said task force leader Dr. Tom Mills, "There's nothing at Douglass where the dog area is supposed to be except a 'Dog Running' sign with an arrow pointing uphill. When you follow the arrow, it leads up to a little strip of trees and thick underbrush, with another sign on the fence that warns 'Hazardous Cliff: Stay Back.' That's it. That's the dog area. So we had to fail that one," he said.

Instead of feeling down in the dumps, though, he and the other members of SFDOG have vowed to redouble their efforts to fix up and expand the city's various dog patches. They better keep barking at City Hall, too.

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MARK YOUR CALENDARS for Saturday, Oct. 17, at 12:45 p.m., when the ribbon will be cut to celebrate the end of Phase One of the 27th Street Hillside Project, on the hill above Noe Street in the heart of the Duncan-Newburg neighborhood.

Phase One saw the construction of pedestrian stairs at the east end of upper 27th Street down the cliff. The concrete stairs replace a steep, rugged path that people often tried to hike up at great peril in order to go between lower and upper 27th Street.

Present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony will be many neighbors along 27th and Noe streets; Doug Shaw and Gerry Gallagher, who developed a nearby condo complex and offered to fund the landscaping; Supervisor Barbara Kaufman, who got city money behind the project; and representatives from the Duncan Newburg Association (DNA), San Francisco Beautiful, the Transportation Authority, and the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners (SLUG).

After the party, the group will officially launch Phase Two: landscaping the hillside. DNA director Dennis Downing says this part of the job will be done by neighborhood volunteers with the assistance of the San Francisco Conservation Corps.

So if you plan to use the stairs in the future, you might want to come thank your neighbors and sign up to volunteer for some of the flower planting.

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LEAVING NOE VALLEY for cyberspace is Noe Valley Sports Cards, the popular sports memorabilia shop that's been on the corner of Church and Duncan for almost nine years. (Alley Cat Jewels is also closing up in that storefront.)

Owner Herb Lily says he'll market his trading cards on the Internet, "where I can get potentially 17 million hits a day, whereas here I would get 25 or 50." To reach him, e-mail

Herb says he will also work the flea market at the Alemany Farmers Market once a month on the second Sunday. In addition, "I'm looking forward to volunteering a lot of my time at Meals on Wheels," he says.

Oh, by the way, Herb says his hottest baseball card is -- you guessed it -- the one and only Mark McGwire rookie card (his only issue), going for $400 to $800.

Curiously, the hot beanie babies were selling for more than that last month. Well, maybe not anymore.

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DOWNTOWN NOE VALLEY was buzz-ing this summer after the U.S. Postal Service shifted its mail carriers on 24th Street. Many neighbors along Ana Valladares' route got upset and threatened to petition the post office when they learned that their very popular postwoman had been transferred and her route "eliminated."

For the past 12 years, Ana has delivered letters with a smile along parts of 24th and 25th streets, as well as Vicksburg and Sanchez. But the post office suddenly split the route up and added it to those of mail carriers in adjoining blocks. They also transferred Ana to Eureka Valley for a month and a half.

The latest word, however, is that Ana has happily returned to Downtown Noe Valley and is grateful for the outpouring of support from her friends and customers. Her new route is 24th Street from Church to Noe.

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SHORT SHRIFTS: The spot recently vacated by A&A Market on Sanchez and 26th streets is currently being repaired. There appears to be a large dry-rot problem. No news on who or what the new tenant might be.

A home furnishings store is going in next to 21st Century Video, the new video store in the large residential/retail complex built by Joe Cassidy next to Bell Market. What will fill the two remaining storefronts is still a mystery.

It looks like five residential units and a commercial space will replace the small Victorian storefront on 24th Street across from Shufat Market, where Suzie's Laundry used to be. The new building is pretty massive.

Star Bakery at Church and 29th streets is still for sale. Check with Zephyr Realty if you're interested: 905-0250.

Skin care specialist Susan O'Connell has left Isa's Salon on 24th Street and opened her own "beauty wellness center" in Glen Park. It's called Bon Dia Spa Boutique, and is located at 74 Wilder St. near Diamond, where the gift store Moptic used to be. Susan says her new salon offers "Rosacea facials and personalized nail treatments, plus skin care, waxing, therapeutic massage, and algae hand and foot treatment."

Meanwhile, Bell Market is getting a facelift. The store says it will lay new linoleum floors and put in a full-service bakery where the liquor department is now. The wine and spirits will move to the back of the store.

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TOP OF THE POPS: Streetlight Records on 24th Street reports that several local rock bands are topping its sales charts. A group called P.E.E. has a top-selling album, Roaring Mechanism. The band Lower Case has a hit with Kill the Lights. And customers are snatching up In Independence by the band A-Minor Forest.

Over at Video Wave on Castro Street, owner Alexander Gardener says The Big Lebowski is currently running out the door. He recommends Juliette of the Herbs as the video to rent instead.

At West Coast Video on Church, the movie that refuses to sink from the number one spot is Titanic...of course.

The top fiction these days at Cover to Cover is the book The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman, by Louis DeBernieres. In the nonfiction category, it's Miriam's Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich.

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ELECTION DAY is Nov. 3, not too far off. However, attendance at the Noe Valley Democratic Club's candidates night Sept. 16 was rather slim. Only about 30 people showed up to become enlightened on the people and the propositions.

According to Club President Dave Monks, the hottest debate was over state proposition 5, the measure that would allow gambling casinos on Indian tribal lands.

The club was so conflicted on this one, its members voted to make "no recommendation" on their slate card.

Thanks, guys. Way to take a stand.

Well, that's 30. See you out there on Halloween.