Abe Warner's Cobweb Palace

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Where exactly was Abe Warner's Cobweb Palace located? Most references merely give its address as "Meigg's Wharf", which isn't helpful, and historic photos don't provide any points of reference. I'm guessing it was on the site of today's Muni yard near Fisherman's Wharf, but I could be way off.


-- P.S. Perris (psperris@slip.net), November 20, 2003


I've always thought Meigg's wharf was at Taylor and North Point. I picture it extending into what is now fisherman's Wharf.

Good luck in your research.

-- Kurt Iversen (iversenk@aol.com), November 20, 2003.

I know you were just looking for an address,but this was such fun to look up, I thought you might enjoy what I found. Note: Abe Warner is often called “Monkey Warner.”

More info from zpub itself: http://www.zpub.com/sf50/sf/hgsto8.htm Zpub says the place was on Francisco Street: http://www.zpub.com/sf50/sf/hgsto13.htm

Oh, this quote is great: http://www.databay.com/eguide/Bay_Area/San_Francisco/Barbary_Coast/: “Then there was The Cobweb Palace, opened by Abe Warner in 1856 and managed by him until 1897. Warner bought monkeys, parrots and birds from sailors and kept them in rows of cages. One parrot, not confined in a cage and with the run of the saloon, had a taste for liquor and could curse in four languages. A feature that attracted many patrons was the thousand garish paintings of nude women crowded onto the walls. But the reason for the name was that Warner had an unusual fondness for spiders and refused to interfere with one when it started to spin a web. As a result, the interior was a mass of cobwebs that hung from the ceiling, covered the lighting fixtures and obscured the paintings so their charms could hardly be appreciated.”

Wow: An interior picture of the Cobweb Palace: http://home.earthlink.net/~sfhistoryclub/home.htm (Where’s my Swiffer?) The SF History Club seems to be a local, instead of bulletin board, organization so if you’re in San Francisco, you might go to their meetings.

The California Historical Society library at 678 Mission Street in San Francisco (415 357-1848 x 20 or send email to: reference @ calhist.org ) has a folder full of photos of the Cobweb Palace. You can go in person to look or pay to have someone at the society do it for you. The details are under the Collections tab, at “doing research.” You can also order reproductions of the photos. http://www.californiahistoricalsociety.org/collections/photo_collectio n/photo_guide/sf_subjects.html

Discussion of the Cobweb Palace’s décor, clientele and food: http://www.books-about- california.com/Pages/Bohemian_San_Francisco/Bohemian_SF_Chapter_06.htm l#Anchor-Probably-21683

Here’s an interesting site from which you can get copies of first person San Francisco memoir books. This volume includes the Cobweb Palace, along with a photo. You gotta buy the book to see the picture. http://www.sanfranciscomemoirs.com/vol_2.html

Another Fisherman’s Wharf history book is: The 1998 book "Crab Is King" by Bernard Averbuch. http://timelines.ws/cities/SF_A_1892.HTML

This site is terribly slow to get around in, but it’s good for its writeup of San Francisco eccentrics: www.notfrisco.com

-- Rosa (rosadebon@yahoo.com), November 20, 2003.

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