Noe Valley Voice September 2000

Noe Valley Memorabilia on Display

By Olivia Boler

Whether you are new to the neighborhood or an old-time Noe Valley resident, Noe Valley History Day can offer a glimpse into the past, present, and future of our environs.

The East & West of Castro Street Improvement Club, Friends of Noe Valley, and the Noe Valley Library are co-sponsoring this annual event, honoring a neighborhood that has retained its character despite the constant cycling and shifting of San Francisco as a whole. This year's theme is "A Celebration of Neighborhood History," and all residents are welcome to share in a bit of our common heritage.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, the Noe Valley Library at 451 Jersey St. will hold an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. In the main reading room, visitors will be able to peruse panels of photos, posters, and artwork of Old Noe Valley, as well as other areas of the city. Photos date from the turn of the century to the present, and include portraits of Noe Valley residents, Victorian homes, dairy farms, fire engines, cable cars, and old movie houses. Some may not know that the majestic Noe Theater used to stand across from Herb's Fine Foods, or that the site of Washington Mutual Bank on the corner of 24th and Noe streets was once a gas station.

Artifacts such as model cars, comic books, and children's books will also be on display. A prized artifact, a metal streetcar logo from the old Market Street Railway, was unfortunately lost two years ago while the History Day display was up, so all such precious memorabilia are now housed safely in glass cases.

In the children's reading room, performance artist Heather Rogers will provide entertainment that Children's Librarian Carol Small describes as a program of "magic, comedy, and juggling." In keeping with the spirit of History Day, Rogers will attire herself as a court jester. Share in the free refreshments provided by the organizers while enjoying Rogers' show.

Downstairs in the meeting room, historical films and oral histories will take visitors into San Francisco's past. Several include early footage of Noe Valley.

Paul Kantus of the East & West of Castro Club explains that Noe Valley History Day is important because many new families have moved into the neighborhood in recent years. "They might be interested in what happened [in Noe Valley] before they got here," says Kantus. "Also, the old folks like to come and reminisce."

Kantus says about 100 people have visited the library on previous Noe Valley History Days. The displays will be up for about a month afterward, so if you really can't make it on the 16th, stop by another day. The Noe Valley Library (695-5095) is open Tuesday through Saturday.

If you have San Francisco memorabilia you would like to loan for the Noe Valley History Month display, please contact Paul Kantus at 647-3753. Also, if you prefer, Kantus has a small budget for making copies of your photos for the display and can return your originals to you.