Spade and ArcherSomething I have in common with Alfred Hitchcock, Fidel Castro and Don Ho is a birthday on August 13th.
To celebrate, my wife and I spent a night in the Dashiell Hammett Suite at the Hotel Union Square.
Why does the hotel have a Hammett Suite? Back in 1921 when the hotel was known as the Golden West, Hammett booked a room for his bride-to-be Josephine Dolan before the day of their wedding. In addition, it was rumored that he conducted some of his affair with fellow writer Lillian Hellman there. And according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Hellman connection may go even deeper:
Some at the hotel connect the mischievous ghost [said to haunt room 207] to Lillian Hellman. A boozer, a lover, a fighter, the volatile playwright was not one to go quietly into the night. (She's said to have propositioned a young dinner companion the night before she died at age 79.)We didn't see any ghosts during our stay, but, alas, did hear quite a few foreign tourists scattering their Euros among the impoverished locals until late into the night, and in the morning, plenty of garbage trucks making their rounds.
Here's a night time shot of the window overlooking Powell Street with the Spade and Archer lettering:
And in noirish black and white: