Best Street Name

Dashiell Hammett Alley

Many a prominent San Franciscan has earned the ultimate honor of his or her own thoroughfare. There's Isadora Duncan, mother of modern dance, tucked away near her birthplace at Geary and Taylor; realist novelist extraordinaire Frank Norris presiding over his favored milieu, Polk Gulch; jazzman Turk Murphy forever enshrined among North Beach's neo-N'awlins hustle-bustle. And best of all there's Dashiell Hammett inhabiting a shadowy alleyway above the Stockton Tunnel. Hammett lived in San Francisco throughout the 1920s, working as a detective, battling his tuberculosis, and revolutionizing American prose via five influential novels and several dozen short stories. Hammett's street (formerly Monroe) connects Pine and Bush between Powell and Stockton. Across Bush from his apartment, Hammett could glimpse another shadowy alleyway, Burritt Street — the foggy setting for the murder of shamus Miles Archer in his novel The Maltese Falcon. (The homicide is commemorated with a tasteful plaque at the entrance to the alley.)

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