Oldest San Francisco draws a picture of the sudden city that exploded in the Gold Rush and has since drawn generations of dreamers to it. From Alcatraz to the Presidio to the Ferry Building, from the Tadich Grill to the Mechanics’ Institute to Gump’s Department Store, it tells the stories of the longtime institutions that have made the City by the Bay distinctive. It visits the oldest bakery (Boudin), bike shop (American Cyclery) and auto shop (Alioto); it speaks of civic fabrics—the oldest blue jeans and first rainbow flag. Together the stories distill something of the ebullient, entrepreneurial spirit of San Francisco.
As a journalist, Alec Scott has contributed to outlets including The Guardian, LA Times, Smithsonian magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and Sunset. His features have won awards, including a Lowell Thomas Gold in Adventure Travel from the Society of American Travel Writers and three National Magazine Awards in his native Canada. In 2022, he published his first novel, Until It Shimmers — a “potent, vigorous coming-of-age tale,” according to the Kirkus Reviews. He has taught writing at Stanford. This book is by way of being a love letter to his adopted city.
Alec Scott photo courtesy of Katherine Emery.