On May 19 I made my way to the bar in John’s Grill for a meeting with the Greek writer Fondas Ladis, in the burg doing research on a biography of Blackjack Jerome.
As I hiked up the first block of Powell Street I noticed that the entrance to the Powell Hotel was shrouded by a large plywood construction shed. Believe I kind of noticed the plywood a couple of weeks back, but didn’t pay much attention. This time I gave it a couple of minutes.
Obviously a major renovation to the Powell is going on, and some signage announced that what was once the Powell will be open “fall 2015” as the Axiom.
The building itself will be the same, but who knows what changes the boutique job will wreck on the original lobby and mezzanine? They’ll probably be pretty but for us Charles Willeford fans, they won’t be pretty.
As related in my book Willeford and elsewhere, the Powell is where Willeford claimed he stayed when he was writing his first novel, and also serves as the basis for the hotel in his lone Private Eye novel Wild Wives, the place where PI Jacob Blake hangs his shingle.
For those Willeford fans who got a look at the place before May, what you saw was pretty close to the way it looked when Willeford slept there.
For the people who missed it, consider this an update: the Powell is now history.