Hammett: Frisco Apartment on the Block

Yeah, people have been bombarding me with queries about the recent article which reports a Hammett San Francisco residence — 237 Leavenworth — up for sale if you’ve got a few million.

Four million — sounds cheap:

An early 1920s Tenderloin apartment building that “Maltese Falcon” author Dashiell Hammett once called home is on the market for $4.35 million. 

The 23-unit-building at 237 Leavenworth Street was listed this week in conjunction with a neighboring 35-unit apartment building around the corner at 620 Eddy Street, for a total of 58 units at a combined asking price of $10.5 million. 

Hammett’s former home is in the smaller of the two buildings, with 23 studios that are “fully occupied” with “solid in-place rents,” according to the listing notes. The Eddy building has 30 studios and five one-bedrooms, most of which were “lightly renovated with new flooring, granite countertops and new paint upon turnover.”

But here’s the trick with the info as laid out: I never heard of Hammett living in 237 Leavenworth.

I admit it is perhaps possible, since some of Hammett’s residencies in town were quite short, a month, two months. And there are a few months hanging loose amidst the known addresses where he might have lived someplace we don’t know about, otherwise.

Maybe they have a log with Hammett’s signature or a rent receipt or the like.

I think, however, someone somewhere in the process just messed up the info — because Hammett did indeed live in 620 Eddy Street.

Lots of evidence, return address on Continental Op stories, photos of Hammett with his kids standing on the roof, letters, Veterans medical records. Without question 620 Eddy is the place during his eight years in San Francisco where Hammett lived longest.


Now that I’ve cleared that point up, I will say in general the piece is bursting with confusion — the idea seems to be that 620 Eddy Street is next to or around a corner from 237 Leavenworth.

I’m guessing the guy selling the properties just bought a couple of buildings in the Tenderloin that were available at the time, but they sure weren’t next to each other.

620 Eddy is located on Eddy Street between Larkin and Polk. Leavenworth Street is a couple blocks over from Larkin. Going east, Larkin, Hyde, Leavenworth. . . .

620 is very cool. The place where Hammett created the Op and knocked out a good run in the series. When he moved again, he was a real writer.

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