Thursday, August 14, 2008

Spade and Archer

Something 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:

Have Spade and Archer taken off...

And in noirish black and white:

Spade and Archer - B&W

4 Comments:

At 7:13 AM, Blogger Julia Buckley said...

What a great post, Mark! Thanks for sharing that. I had no idea such a place existed, which is why I love to read mystery blogs.

Great photo, too. Happy Birthday.

 
At 8:32 AM, Blogger Marilyn said...

Great blog! I love haunted rooms in hotels and B and Bs have stayed in quite a few, but alas, never have seen a ghost--though have heard plenty of sounds that "might" be attributed to ghosts. Who knows?

 
At 10:39 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

The side window -- the one behind Miles Archer in the famous photo of the two detectives at their desks -- of their office at 111 Sutter overlooks Montgomery St., not Powell St.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Mark Coggins said...

Yes, it's true that the office in the book is in a building on Sutter, but this is a real room in a hotel which does front Powell Street. ;-)

 

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