313 and 315 N. Collett Ave.


This 1916 structure served as one of the nation’s first self-service grocery stores; a sign painted onto the bricks still visibly proclaims this a former Piggly Wiggly. It later purportedly served as a Prohibition-era speakeasy, reverted to a Piggly Wiggly in the 1950s and 1960s, and was a bar or nightclub toward the end of the last century. It was converted into dual residences in the early 2000s; both sides will be open for this tour. A look inside reveals a history of additions and adaptations and, here and there, some curious choices. (For example, the “hump” in 315 – three steps up, three steps down – accommodates plumbing that would have otherwise required breaking up foundational concrete.) The hardwood floors were reclaimed from a Hockaday School gym; the stained-glass windows mounted on a wall in 313 come from an old Dallas church; and the brick used throughout the home for various accents once paved the streets of San Francisco in the early 1920s. Rafters and ductwork are exposed below the 16-foot ceilings on both sides. To address the heating challenges posed by these dimensions, one home uses gas and the other has a wood-burning stove and fireplace. While nearly mirror images in terms of layout, the décor of the side-by-side homes presents a pleasing contrast reflecting the residents’ personalities and professions.