Divisadero's Recent Past, In Photos

Divisadero's Recent Past, In PhotosBig Umbrella Studios, formerly at 906 1/2 Divisadero. (Photos: Kathy Drasky)
Nuala Sawyer
Published on May 26, 2016

Street photographer Kathy Drasky, whom we interviewed last month, has been photographing Divisadero for the past 12 years. During that time, the corridor has seen businesses come and go, and murals appear and disappear.

We asked Drasky to share some of her photos of Divisadero's recent past—things that once existed in the neighborhood, but are now no longer there. She also shared the changes that went into photographing the corridor, and the evolution from 2004 to today.

"When I moved here in 2004, after living in other San Francisco neighborhoods for more than a decade, I actually knew very little about Divisadero. Like most San Franciscans of that era who didn't live within walking distance, my trips to the Corridor were limited to the occasional concert at the Justice League (now the Independent) or to shop for second-hand cookware at Cookin' (still there at 339 Divisadero).

I was still experimenting with my first digital camera (a 3-megapixel Olympus) when I began to roam Divisadero. I was mostly photographing the signs of car repair shops and corner stores. There weren't many around. After dark, long, empty strips of the street were downright sketchy.

Around 2006, things began to change. Nopa—one of the best restaurants in the country—opened up at 560 Divisadero (the former home of a bank and a laundromat), as did Broderick Place, in the 300-block of Broderick, just a block from Divisadero. Broderick Place did indeed have condos—but it also houses Falletti Foods. Those of you who remember our food shopping choices in those pre-Falletti, pre-Bi-Rite, pre-Sunday farmer's market days will recall how badly a store like this was needed.

While I miss many of the old businesses, and it is always sad to see people move on, whether it is by choice or otherwise, the gentrification on Divisadero has occurred at a pace many of us can accept. Those of us who remember the Corridor just a decade ago welcome better coffee, better food and even a little shopping."

To stay in the loop with Drasky's current work, you can follow her on Instagram at @Divisadero_Corridor

Laser Cats mural on abandoned Harding Theater, 2010.
Blue Jay Cafe (919 Divisadero) was once one of the few sit-down restaurants on Divisadero that served food all day.
Da' Pitt, also once called Brother-in-Law's Bar-B-Q #2, was at 705 Divisadero; it's now 4505 Burgers & BBQ. 
Kelly Malone's legendary backyard parties at 635A Divisadero.
KK Cafe, which stood at at 252 Divisadero.
Michael's Pit Stop, at Page Street on the corner of Divisadero. 
KJ Produce, 301 Divisadero.
A Hugh Lee Man wheatpaste briefly appeared on the wall next to Sung's Automotive Service at 999 Divisadero in 2012.

What bygone aspects of Divisadero do you miss? Share your memories in the comments.