Frisco Beat: Living in Hammett Street

The blurb on the 25th anniversary of the literary streets attracted Bruce Dettman’s attention, and he popped me a note about how he once lived in 20 Monroe Street, now 20 Dashiell Hammett Street, one-time digs of Hammett himself.

Bruce wrote up the experience, originally for The Nob Hill Gazette, but now available online for all to read. Surf over if you’re curious.

The only caveat I will mention is whether or not he lived in Hammett’s actual apartment (not that I would object if he did). You have to believe the guy in the building who did “research” did actual research, which would mean finding rental records from over fifty years before (unlikely) or interviewing someone who lived in 20 Monroe all that time and had a solid memory of exactly which apartment Hammett inhabited (like the little old lady I encountered years ago in front of 891 Post Street).

I’m fairly skeptical of that sort of oral history — which may well be true, but how to prove it? — and usually lump that type of info under the wording, “tradition in the building tells us. . . .”

Ah. Tradition.

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