A few weeks ago, your Bernalwood editor wandered into the fabulous Secession Art and Design store on Mission Street near Valencia to say hello to Neighbor Eden Stein, Secession’s equally fabulous proprietor. As fate would have it, Bernalwood dropped in just as Mr. Robert Tiedeman Jr. was visiting as well.
Neighbor Eden introduced us, explaining that Robert is actually a Bernal neighbor emeritus, because he was born and raised on Bernal’s stretch of Mission Street, in an apartment above 3471 Mission .
Robert explained that his parents purchased the entire building for $7500 in 1937 with a $250 downpayment. (That works out to about $125,000 in 2016 dollars, with $4200 down.) His dad ran a store on the ground floor, where Ankor Borei is now located. The store was called Tiedeman Appliance, and here’s a photocopied photo of it:
And here’s what it looks like today, in Google Street View:
To capture more of the history lesson, Bernalwood deployed our mobile video recording system and interviewed Robert Tiedeman about his memories of La Lengua during the 1940s:
He also shared this story written down by his mother, describing what it was like for a new merchant setting up shop on Mission Street during the late 1930s:
Welcome and Congratulations — NOT
We had just completed our move to our new building on Mission Street. This consisted of a store building and two six room ﬂats; it cost $7,350, $250 down which we borrowed from my sister and her husband. Times were so tough (it was the end of 1937) that the real estate agent took his commission from the seller on the installment plan. We had two boys; George had turned four in November and Kent would be one in February 1938.
The store had once been a bakery, and the windows in the back of the Window alcove were many-paned and ugly. They would have to go, we decrded. Bob and I were standing in the store, glad we were there, but also pretty scared as to how we were going to fare. We were the San Francisco Regina Agents, so got busmess through that listing in the phone book, but what other business would we get and how would the neighborhood be for customers?
As I stood in front of the store, I saw the accordion music teacher from across the street and his brother in the barbershop next door start across the street in our direction. “Gee, Bob,” I said, “I’ll bet they are coming over to wish us well and make us feel welcome in the neighborhood.”
The Antoninis approached our building and came into the store. They started to talk, ﬁrst one, then the other. “Well, of course, you should know, this side of Mission Street gets no business; our side is much better for business.” “Yes, we get the morning sun ‘ and people like to walk down our side of the street.” The elder brother shook his head dolefully, “You’ll never make it over here on the wrong side of the street.”
“No, never,” his brother echoed, and back across to the good side of Mission Street they went.
Bob said, “You and your ideas . . . some congratulations.”
Years later, the accordion music teacher moved to our side of Mission. I wanted to remind him that it was the poor side of Mission, but we had become friends, so I just made him feel welcome.
PHOTOS: Robert Tiedeman Jr., photographed by Bernalwood