Mark Twain Coffee Shop etc. Downtown SF - where was it? : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

My uncle moved to SF from NYC area in the late 1950's for several reasons, among them to follow his beloved NY Giants. He remarried a pleasant local woman of Korean descent who ran/worked in a coffee shop. I visited for 2 weeks in 1973 but didnt return until 1999 (my uncle passed away @ 1992)

3 things I was looking for in several returns to SF that I couldnt seem to re-locate:

1) The coffee shop, which I remember as the "Mark Twain" was located across the street from the end/terminus of a streetcar line which had green streetcars. (not the cable cars) Across the street / square was a TV station "Kaiser Broadcasting"

Where was the coffee shop located? whats there today? what was the TV station / channel? still there? the streetcar lines were discontinued @ 1980, but theyre back on Market Street. Why did they stop.

2) The best conditioned (PBA Tour quality) bowling alley lanes I ever saw- near Cow Palace. what was the name ? still there?

-- Alan V. Karr (, April 15, 2002


I couldn't tell you about those coffee shops since there were quite a few of them down there and I never paid much attention to names. I do remember a woman who worked in such a shop and met a millionaire alaskan fisherman and married him only to die tragically on an icy Alaskan road. As far as the bowling alley, if it's the one I'm thinking about, I think the name was something like Geneva Bowl and it is exactly at the spot where the hills were falling down on those apartments where everyone had to move out. The bowling alley was torn down and those apartments were put up. There was a lot of press on those apartments back in about November or December. I used to bowl there all the time.

-- Harry Murphy (*), April 16, 2002.

Now I know I said that the name of the alley was Geneva Bowl but for some reason, I keep on getting the name of Castle Rock Lanes in my head. And for some reason, that name hits my memory button harder then Geneva Bowl. So maybe someone else might confirm that. On second thought I think now I'd put my money on that Castlerock name.

-- Harry Murphy (*), April 16, 2002.

the bowling alley was called Castle Lanes - as Harry wrote long gone as are all the other bowling alleys in SF

-- mike dempsey (, April 22, 2002.

Your recollections are pretty fair.

If you come back to our city, the main intersection you are looking for is O'Farrell and Taylor Streets. The identifying structure that will probably not change is the Hilton Hotel.

The structure housing the FORMER Mark Twain Hotel still stands. The hotel has been renamed. It belongs to a chain. But the name escapes me at this time. Maybe try Ramada Inn Union Square.

I had a few breakfasts at the Mark Twain Coffee Shop. My mother stayed there as a residence during World War II until she could find more permanent residence.

The television station was Channel 44 KBHK. I believe the station is under new management. The studios have been relocated. The building houses some city government agency now. It's beside the parking garage.

The Market Street streetcar lines were refurbished. It's actually sort of a moving transit museum now. They have trolleys from all over the world, reburbished transiting the lines,which now extend down and around to the Wharf.

-- Ray H (, April 22, 2002.

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