Today, a history lesson. Anybody know who Mary Ann Magnin was?
Mary Ann Magnin was the Dutch immigrant who started selling soaps and baby clothes to San Francisco in 1876, and who eventually built I. Magnin, which during the 118 years it was open became one of the west's premiere luxury brands. It's where your grandmothers bought their wedding dresses and soap, if they grew up in San Francsico, Oakland or Sacramento.
It turns out, she lived in the Haight, in a house built in 1900. It's the big yellow whale parked at the northeast corner of Page and Masonic. You can see the corner of it sticking out of that old snapshot dated 1919, and you can also see it today, like this:
Magnin's was a euro-centric luxury clothing and cosmetics department store. It used to live in the big white marble cube at the corner of Geary and Stockton, currently occupied by Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo and Macy's.
The brand was consolidated with Bullock's in the '40's and '50's, and with Macy's in the '80's. It was liquidated in 1994.
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