2511 Hearst

This was my point of entry into the district. I moved here in 1971, after staying with my cousins on 6th Street (they'd bought and restored a Victorian south of Channing, a lovely house). I rented a room with a tiny bathroom and no kitchen for $60 per month. I was working in the city at this point - long days, so I mostly ate out. Later, I moved to the apartment at the front (middle floor, left side). It had a bay view, a separate kitchen, and a bigger bathroom with an outlook to the north. The street noise was horrific - a lot of traffic on Hearst. I met my wife at the 3Cs Cafe, where she and her sister worked while they were at Cal. I also met Yoshi, who went on to start the eponymous jazz club with her first husband Kaz. (Their first restaurant was downstairs.) At Top Dog, one of the guys behind the counter started giving me free food when he learned that I'd studied with Norris Kelly Smith, author of a book on Frank Lloyd Wright that he admired. When I wrote to Professor Smith, whose survey of architectural history I'd taken at Washington University, he replied immediately, saying that I was the only student he knew who'd received a tangible benefit from his classes. When I lived there, 2511 Hearst was owned by the same guy, Richard Sikora, who developed Walnut Square (home of the original Peet's). I'd heard that he was a former economics professor at Berkeley who'd moved to Vancouver. The little mall where Top Dog still is was built around the same time by Dave Ruegg - in a similar style as the "boardwalk" areas behind the older building that Sikora renovated at Walnut Square.


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