Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Frank Lloyd Wright on Maiden Lane

Maiden Lane is an alley running between Kearny and Stockton Streets, just east of Union Square. Prior to the 1906 earthquake and fire, the alley was known as Morton Street and was one of the city's red light districts. Men would stroll the alley and select a companion from among the women sitting in their windows.

After the fire, the red light district moved to other parts of town and Morton Street became Maiden Lane. Today it is home to a number of fashionable stores, including Xanadu Gallery at 140 Maiden Lane. Take a good look at the front of the store and you will notice the absence of one feature that most shops have -- a picture window. Only Frank Lloyd Wright would design a street-level store without a window for the store to showcase its wares.

This building was constructed in 1948 and housed the V.C. Morris Gift Shop. Inside, you will see a spiral walkway up to the second floor. Wright was designing the Guggenheim Museum in New York at the same time and he is thought to have used the Morris Gift Shop as a test for the ramp he included in the Guggenheim. You can see the outside of the Xanadu Gallery at any time. To see the inside, visit the gallery Tuesday through Saturday between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. You will also get to see an excellent collection of folk art.

If you would like to take a private San Francisco tour that focuses on some of San Francisco's unique architecture, please call me at (866) 326-4237 (toll free) or e-mail me by clicking here.

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