In his new book, “Good and Bad Times in a San Francisco Neighborhood — A History of Potomac Street and Duboce Park,” H. Arlo Nimmo, professor emeritus of anthropology at CSU East Bay, chronicles the ups and downs of his neighborhood. Nimmo has lived on Potomac Street for almost 40 years. Part of his book recounts his personal experiences there.
The first section of Nimmo’s book attempts to recall the early days of Potomac Street and Duboce Park. Like all historic authors, for research he turned to books, photographs and city records. To re-create the atmosphere of Potomac’s early days, however, all he needed to do was step outside.
Potomac is a narrow, one-block street lined with pre-1906 earthquake homes. It dead-ends at Duboce Park. Most of its dwellings have been maintained rather than restored. You can no longer purchase a home at working-class rates, but the block still radiates a homey, relaxed vibe.
From one of the four upstairs bedrooms of 60 Potomac St., the sturdy, large single-family home presently on the market at an asking price of $1.549 million, it’s very easy to imagine what Potomac Street was like prior to the 1906 earthquake. With the street free of through traffic, it avoids the tumult of most present-day city streets. Instead, with its century-old trees, the scene is calm.
Beautifully maintained and upgraded, 60 Potomac St. has retained its sense of solidity and permanence. Like any reliable old friend, its embrace is comfortable and welcoming. Built in the late 1800s, it has seen the addition of a downstairs bonus room, but still offers an unfinished attic for potential future renovation.
In back is a small yard, ringed by a “West Side Story”-like jumble of buildings and staircases. This is not a rural neighborhood, though a pastoral fix is available a half-block away at the park.
Potomac Street was once and is again a perfect example of a close-knit, livable urban neighborhood. No. 60 is Potomac’s “every-house,” impressive without being gaudy, a peek at the way city life worked a century ago.
60 Potomac St.
Where: San Francisco
Asking Price: $1,549,000
Property Tax: $17,965*
The Property: Four-bedroom single-family home with remodeled kitchen and bonus room
Notable: Located on cul-de-sac that ends at Duboce Park
Agent: Britton Jackson and Matt Fuller, Zephyr Real Estate, (415) 905-0250