Retracing steps in San Fran

Retracing bisnonno Attilio’s steps in San Francisco. 

After spending most of the day walking the hilly streets of San Francisco, Mum and I decided to head to the home in which her nonno (my bisnonno) lived at when he was a young man back in the 1900s.

For the scenic route, we jumped on a Powell-Hyde Line cable car, grabbing on tight going up and down the streets, to the Lombard “crooked” Street stop. This famous spot was around no.1000 Lombard St, and bisnonno Attilio’s house was no.376 so we knew we had a bit to walk. I also recalled on the map that the house was quite close to the historic Coit Tower, meaning the house was in the Telegraph Hill area.

After a good 10 minutes in the afternoon sun we reached the house. Quite a surreal feeling when you know your great-grandfather came all the way from Italy to work in San Francisco and that he lived in that exact building. Up close, I could tell the building was split into 3 units, numbers 378, 376, and 374. Is most probably a two room unit.

The building is also along Julius St, a small side street, showing that there’s a garage door, but also the windows upstairs which was pretty cool. Nice view.


It was great to get some photos of the house and show them to nonna and nonno, especially close to nonno as that was where his father lived. In the featured photo from 1911, I pretty sure I can see the house in the far top left corner when viewing the full image.

Unfortunately bisnonno Attilio’s workplace, the Atlas Hotel, where he was janitor, was not present at its location, as a new building stands there today on 117 4th Street, close to the busy corner with Mission Street. Here are some cool articles I found from The San Francisco Call involving the Atlas Hotel around the time bisnonno Attilio was there.

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Itinerary recommendation when visiting San Francisco: To experience the local streets of San Francisco and famous sites at the same time, take the Powell-Hyde Line cable car to the Lombard/Hyde stop. Take the walk down the “crooked street”, and continue down to 900 Lombard Street where you’ll find ‘Scottie’s House’ featured in the 1958 Hitchcock film Vertigo. Unfortunately the owners renovated the front door, but you’ll still be able to recognise the building’s structure. Keep continuing along Lombard Street up Telegraph Hill to Telegraph Hill Blvd, taking you up to Coit Tower for some great views.

A great experience and will never forget it.

Featured image: View east of Telegraph Hill from Russian Hill, 1911

Photo credit: OpenSFHistory / wnp27.3799.jpg

2 thoughts on “Retracing steps in San Fran

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  1. This is what genealogy should be about. Digging for information to present ancestors as real persons, not just dates and places. Charlie has ,and is, doing outstanding work documenting lives of his ancestors for future generations to enjoy.

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