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What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine Features'Ironside' Books and ToysEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
What's New?Vintage Press InformationAn 'Ironside' Title and Airdate ListingOriginal NBC Stills ArchiveVintage Magazine FeaturesIronside' Books and ToysEditorials and Analytical FeaturesLinks
 
 
 FeaturesIronside’s “Aerie” 
 
 
 
 Exterior750 Kearny Street 
 
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 ExteriorUniversal 
 
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 InteriorSound Stage 
 
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 Exterior850 Bryant Street 
 
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Ironside's Aerie
The Old Hall of Justice
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For the level of accuracy and quality of information in this feature, I am indebted to Raymond Burr fan and former San Francisco resident, Elisabeth Thomas-Matej, who provided me with precise details concerning the location of 750 Kearny, the streets and buildings surrounding it, and the direction of the flow of the traffic along Washington—all of which provide valuable insight in the shooting of the footage for Ironside. I am also indebted for her additional commentary and corrections on the finished text.
 Mark
October 31st, 2006
One of the most enduring images I associate with “Ironside” is that of the building that acted as both his office and his home.
 
I have always thought that it was a distinctive and aesthetically pleasing structure—and harboured a desire to visit it some day.
 
I gather—from the E-mails I have received—that this ambition is something shared by many, and that innumerable visitors to San Francisco have wandered the streets of “The City” in an attempt to find the structure that was once the nervecentre of the professional activities of Ironside and his team.
 
Sadly, this is something none of us can do.
 
In attempting to establish the building’s location, I was recently directed via E-mail to the San Francisco Public Library, where I was informed by a gentleman who works there that the building no longer exists.
 
He was, however, able to supply me with the following facts concerning the building’s location and history:
Name and Location
 
•    The building was the Hall of Justice, which contained the San Francisco jail, police station, courtrooms, and District Attorney’s office. Its address was 750 Kearny Street, which placed it on the east side of Kearny, between Washington and Merchant. Its rear facade was on Dunbar Alley. Across Kearny is Portsmouth Square.
 
•    In San Francisco it’s referred to now as the “old” Hall of Justice.
 
•    Today, the old Hall of Justice site is occupied by the Chinatown Holiday Inn.
 
•    There was an even older Hall of Justice that was lost in the earthquake and fire of 1906.
 
History
 
•    The old Hall of Justice was first occupied in 1912.
 
•    It was outgrown by the 1950’s. A new Hall of Justice, serving the same purposes, was built at 8th and Bryant Streets.*
 
* This is the white building featured in the series that serves as the “home” of Police Commissioner Dennis Randall. Different sources give different locations for the building; the official San Francisco Government website (click here) lists it as being between 6th and 7th streets; a “Dirty Harry” website (click here) places it at 7th and 8th…
•    The old Hall of Justice was abandoned in 1961, and was subsequently gutted of paneling, marble, brass doorknobs, carpets, furniture and other decorative elements.
 
•    It was demolished in 1967.
In addition to the aforegoing information, my correspondant added the following remarks:
“I answer this question with some frequency and have become fairly familiar with the historical record of the building. I remember the building itself before it was razed, but was only inside a few times. It was a marble palace typical of municipal buildings of its time in San Francisco.”
My first reaction to the news that Ironside’s “home” no longer exists was one of acute disappointment and amazement; how could anyone have sanctioned the destruction of such a beautiful building? (I know the answer to that question, of course: commerce! Real estate is more vaulable than aesthetics!)
 
My second reaction was to wonder at the reasoning of the show’s producers, in the fact that they continued to employ the old Hall of Justice as Ironside’s headquarters after it had been razed!
 
I mean, how could they expect an audience to believe in the exploits of “The World’s Greatest Detective,” and his team, when the building they were walking around in had been reduced to rubble the very year the show began airing!
 
This is obviously why, in “Mad” magazine’s vitriolic condemnation of “Ironside,” there is a panel in which we see a wrecker’s ball swinging towards the headquarters of “Ironride”…
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Mark
31st. March, 2001
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