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A view down Columbus Ave in San Francisco, showing The Sentinel Building and the Transamerica Pyramid.

The area, known as North Beach, housed bohemians and beatniks back in the days, although the Transamerica Pyramid is now part of the Financial District. A variety of establishments can be found in North Beach, from great cafes and Italian restaurants to blues, jazz, and adult entertainment. I recommend a visit to City Lights Bookstore, Caffe Trieste, North Beach Pizza, and Cafe Vesuvio.

A plaque on The Sentinel Building inspired me to do some research. According to the plaque, the building was built by Abe Ruef in 1904. I found that the building was not completed until 1907, delayed by the earthquake and fires of 1906. (pic)

Abe Reuf was a highly influential politician in the early 20th century. He was brought down by his opposition and the district attorney, who wanted to rid the city of the widespread political corruption. Abe was the only politician to be prosecuted. He was convicted and sent to San Quentin. (more)

The building later housed Caesar's Grill, an important meeting point for bohemians. It was shut down during the prohibition for serving alcohol.

A dutch guy bought the run-down house in 1958. He restored it and renamed it Columbus Tower, where the Kingston Trio set up a studio. Their album cover from the 1964 "Back in Town" reveals that the building is white. Four years later,The Grateful Dead recorded "Anthem of the Sun" here.

Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas bought the building in 1972 to house their film studio American Zoetrope. The building was again restored, presumably to its present day copper green, and renamed The Sentinel Building. The ground floor today houses Cafe Niebaum-Coppola.

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