Believe it or not, Haight Street was not always the safe, sleepy thoroughfare that it is today.
No, there was a time when our area boasted its fair share of burglaries, muggings, and physical altercations. Join us as we take a look back at the local police blotter from Augusts of years past, all taken from the pages of the San Francisco Call newspaper.
August 10, 1895:
"The residence of Mrs. John R. Woods, 483 Haight street, between Webster and Fillmore, was entered during her absence by burglars some time yesterday afternoon, between 2 and 4 o'clock. They obtained entrance by way of the back kitchen window.
"On Mrs. Woods' return she found the house completely turned upside down. The robbers got away with three gold watches, $40 in cash, a diamond hairpin belonging to Miss Maud Woods, several other valuable pins and other articles of value that could be easily carried off without detection...
"A small safe in one of the upper rooms was tampered with but not broken into. Had the burglars succeeded in breaking into it they would have made a rich haul, as it contained considerable cash and valuables."
August 15, 1897:
"Mrs. R. Herman was found dead yesterday morning on the floor of the kitchen of her residence, 828 Haight street. The gas jet was turned on and there were evidences that she had tried to escape from the room, but that she was overcome by the deadly fumes and fell at the door of the pantry after having pulled down a shelf of dishes while groping for the door.
"It is believed that the deceased got up and turned off the gas with the intention of lighting it, but before she could do so she fainted and fell to the floor.
"The body was discovered by one of her sons, and Dr. Mish was summoned, but life was extinct.
"Mrs. Herman was a native of Poland and 54 years old. She was a widow. The Coroner, being confident that the cause of death was accidental, waived an inquest."
August 9, 1902:
"Dr. Thomas F. Maher, who is stationed at the Park Emergency Hospital, prevented a serious accident yesterday. A large number of women and children were standing around the Haight street entrance of the park when a frightened horse attached to a light buggy came tearing along Stanyan street. Dr. Maher, who was standing near by, jumped in front of the frightened animal and stopped it before he dashed among the frightened onlookers."
August 10, 1902:
"The body of an unknown man was discovered yesterday afternoon in Golden Gate Park near the Haight street entrance by Robert Wallace. The deceased was evidently about 45 years of age. He was rather poorly dressed. Detective Archive Hammell, who was detailed to investigate the case, states that the circumstances indicate that the man committed suicide by drinking carbolic acid."
August 4, 1906:
"Annie Miller, 14 years of age, whose parents live at 4 Rigley place, was on Police Judge Mogan's calendar yesterday morning, booked for a public institution. The Judge ordered her taken before the Juvenile Court.
"The girl was found on Thursday afternoon in the rooms of Mr. and Mrs. Hoag, 1010 Haight street, by Mr. Hoag. She had entered by the front door, which was unlocked. She tried to explain that she was looking for a friend who she said was living in that block, but Hoag did not believe her and sent for Special Officer Delmer. Delmer took her to the Stanyan street police station. When searched she had a purse containing $2.75 in her pocket.
"Delmer says Annie and a companion named Elsie have been doing a sneak thief business in that locality. Prior to entering 1010 Haight street Annie entered the house adjoining, but did not take anything. It is believed the purse found in her pocket was stolen from some house and an effort will be made to find the owner.
"The girl refused to give the address of her companion."
August 7, 1909:
"The burglar who broke into a residence at 916 Haight street Sunday afternoon and jumped through a window when confronted by Miss Minnie F. Hogan left his finger prints on the window and they were photographed and will be kept in the identification bureau for future use."
August 20, 1909:
"Seeing a burglar attempting to enter her residence through a rear window shortly after midnight yesterday Mrs. Amelia Fest, wife of William Fest, a shoe dealer, 138 Devisadero street, grabbed a revolver and sent two shots above his head. The man dropped to the ground and, doubling like a hare, scurried over a fence and was lost to sight.
"Mrs. Fest was alone in the house with her children, her husband having been detained down town on business. She had retired for the night, but was awakened by a servant maid, who told her that she thought there was a burglar walking about the back yard.
"Without a moment's hesitation Mrs. Fest reached for the revolver that was kept in the house for just such emergencies. Walking to a room off the kitchen she switched on the lights, bringing to full view the form of a man in the act of entering through the window.
"'What do you want?' she asked.
"The burglar hesitated and then made a movement as if to enter the room at all costs. The next instant the plucky woman swung around with her revolver and fired twice, both shots passing over the man's head. The burglar hesitated no longer. He dropped to the ground and sought the darkness like a jackrabbit. The matter was reported to the police yesterday."