Little Boxes

7 02 2009

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little boxes

I’m familiar with the repetition in The Outer Sunset. I’m a Navy Brat and a product of the suburbs. The suburbs were tattooed onto my personality’s basic operating system at an early age. Most of the people I knew and grew up with were from the suburbs. You can take one basic floor plan, tweak it a few different ways, and then zerox that off to build entire blocks. Entire neighborhoods. Entire zip codes. They’re building a new suburb near my parent’s house in San Diego that will be bigger than the city of San Francisco. The cycle of Life continues…

Henry Doelger is the Easy E of American Architecture. I really dig this guy. As a child, Henry Doelger supported his family by selling bathtub gin and homemade beer at his “hot dog stand” in Golden Gate Park during the early 1900’s. As an adult, Henry invested the profits from that endeavor to buy real estate and build homes in the sand dunes of The Outside Lands. People called him crazy, but the man built a big chunk of The Outer Sunset and became one of the godfathers of this art form that we now refer to as the suburbs.

The song “Little Boxes” was written about a piece Henry Doelger did in Daily City. What’s ironic is that song is now the theme show for Weeds, a show about drug dealers who rent homes under aliases and use them just to grow pot. These days pot growing houses, along with the sex slave prostitution human traffic racket are the dominating black market cash crops of The Outer Sunset.

What’s funny though is that The Outer Sunset really isn’t cookie cutter art.

It really isn’t.

There’s a lot of diversity and guts out here. It’s very unique like that.

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And this is one of my all time favorite pieces. To me, it’s the architecture equivalent of a Frank Sinatra song. Good art never goes out of style.

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2 responses

14 01 2013
Lorri

The photos are great. One comment, though. Your text is all about Henry Doelger, and many of the houses shown here were built by other builders. Off the bag, I recognize some by Oliver Rousseau and one by Fernando Nelson, built in 1916. Were you just commenting on the interesting variety in the Sunset or were you thinking that maybe all were Doelger houses?

14 01 2013
Lorri

I meant “Off the bat,” not “off the bag.” oops.

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