Market Street Between 9th and 10th and a Cursed Highrise

Unfinished History


The Fox Plaza building on Market Street between 9th and 10th, mid-1990s.

Fox Plaza, 1390 Market Street.

The Fox Theater was America's greatest all-time movie palace. Occupying the entire block bounded by Market, Hayes, and Polk Streets, it harbored 4,561 seats surrounded by the ultimate in classic movie-house opulence. It's gigantic neon sign spelled out F-O-X in letters big enough to be read from the Ferry Building at the end of Market Street.

But in 1963, real estate philistines bought the property, tore down the most magnificent building in San Francisco, and erected a high-rise eyesore in its place.

Plenty of San Franciscans cursed the idiocy of those responsible. But one San Franciscan went further. On the night of the Fox Theater's final show, as the dying Wurlitzer cords echoed through the cavernous theater, future Satanist leader Anton LaVey, then the Fox organist, thundered out a formal imprecation against the owners and the property. The Satanist's curse is sometimes blamed for shoddy construction and other issues that beset the new tower from its opening.

Few remember that across the street once stood a 19th century phenomenon, a circular Panorama building that presented historical events on a 360-degree circular canvas called a Cyclorama.

Fox theater AAA-8740.jpg


Photos: San Francisco History Center, SF Public Library


Market and 9th Street northerly view, March 28, 1930.

Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R. collection

Market and 9th St. northerly view. 2023.sharpened and cropped.jpg

Market and 9th Street northerly view, March 30, 2023.

Photo: Eihway Su


South across Market to 10th Street from Polk Street, July 2, 1937.

Photo: SFDPW, courtesy C.R. collection

Market Looking to 10th. 2023.sharpened and cropped.jpg

South across Market to 10th Street from Polk Street, 2023.

Photo: Eihway Su

1355 Market. 2023.sharpened.jpg

Market and 10th 2023. The entire block is now one building with Twitter headquartered at 1355 Market.

Photo: Eihway Su

1355 Market Entrance. 2023.sharpened.jpg

1355 Market entrance.

Photo: Eihway Su

1355 Market Entrance All the Way to Roof. 2023.sharpened.JPG

1355 Market entrance all the way to roof.

Photo: Eihway Su

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