Let’s Go Shopping at Baireuthers Market on Precita Avenue in 1949


Recently, Scott Frisner shared a photo with the San Francisco Remembered group on Facebook. It was taken on the western end of Precita Avenue just off Mission in the 1940s. Scott writes:

My late father-in-law, Orlando Colosimo, on the left, and his brother Don at their recently purchased market in 1949. They kept the original name, Baireuthers Market and from what I can find, it was located at 29 Precita near Bernal Heights. Anyone remember it?

Baireuther’s Market opened in the early 1900s, and it was operated as a butcher shop by John N. Baireuther, who lived nearby for a time at 179 Precita. Here’s a detail from a 1908 San Francisco Directory:


Orlando and Don Colosimo took over the store some 30+ years later.

This a wonderfully vivid photo of them, and it contains some great details of mid-century packaged food. For example, when we zoom and enhance the image, we can see the meticulously curated selection of artisanal cheeses perched between Orlando and Don:


The selection of Gerber baby foods at bottom right was equally twee, with wholesome goodness freshly canned in tasty flavors such as green beans, peas, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and vegetables and liver. Yum!


In the refrigerated case we find cartons of Borden’s milk on the left, featuring the smiling bovine visage of Elsie the Cow:


On the right, just between Orlando and Don’s hips, we see a few tubes of Ballard Oven-Ready Biscuits, ready to bake in your very own home. If you had a copy of Ladies Home Journal in your sitting room back then, this 1949 advertisement might have sent you running to Baireuthers Market to get some biscuits to make “the Ballard workless way”:


Today, Baireuthers Market is no more, and the space it used to occupy has been converted to all-residential use. Yet the facade at 29 Precita hasn’t changed much from the Baireuthers days, and it still looks like a neighborhood market from the outside:

So even now, it’s not hard to imagine walking inside to say hello to Orlando and Don, pick up a few groceries, and talk about the weather a little bit before you rushed home to bake those Ballard Biscuits, which would be ready to eat just nine minutes later.

5 thoughts on “Let’s Go Shopping at Baireuthers Market on Precita Avenue in 1949

  1. Nice one – I’ve always wondered about the spot across the street on the corner too

  2. I’m amused, too, by that phone directory (?) that lists people’s profession– and that some people’s profession is widow.

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