San Francisco has done a wonderful job preserving heritage signs.
Many of the hotels shown below no longer take bookings, or are even hotels. At least one is an active hostel, and many now fall under the jurisdiction of the San Francisco Homeless Resource.
The Columbia Hotel now operates as the Orange Village Hostel. Short term and long term stays are available.
The Ambassador Hotel was built in 1911, on the location of the Tivoli Opera House which was destroyed in the 1908 earthquake and fire. It was used as an informal aids hospice during the 1980’s and was renovated in 2003. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places, and is currently part of the San Francisco Homeless Resource.
The Hotel Potter, on Mission Street, also part of the San Francisco Homeless Resource.
Part of the San Francisco Homeless Resource, a well maintained building with a beautiful original sign. The exterior fire escape is a nice touch.
All except one of these hotels is available to the public for booking. These are used by homeless resource agencies in the city of San Francisco. The hotels are referred to as SRO’s – single room occupancy. The signs, most of which have been restored, are called blade signs.
Much like Vancouver, Canada, the city has done a great job of preserving the heritage of their signage, both in neon form and painted. Here in Toronto, there’s not much to find in the old sign department. Sam the Record Man’s sign was to be preserved and installed by Ryerson University, but they failed to live up to their agreement.
Last I heard the sign will be installed somewhere on a building overlooking Yonge/Dundas Square downtown, across from The Eaton Centre.