According to  Complepop-culture, these doors are not accessible to the likes of us, which makes them all the more intriguing.  Doors prompt all sorts of imaginative journeys.  I love doors.  The Pink Door of Seattle’s Pike Place Market, inspired a story about a curious old lady who becomes the unlikely friend and mentor of a young girl.  These are not the doors of a curious old lady, though, are they!

What goes on behind these doors?

Bumping along in the cable car up California Street in San Francisco on a sunny day was a great way to see the Nob Hill neighbourhood of San Francisco. My destination was Grace Cathedral and the stop was outside this magnificent brownstone mansion. As I stood admiring it, and wondering what it was, I was joined by two other ladies with the same question. Does someone live here? I didn’t think so. On the other hand, there was no plaque or sign indicating what it was. The property was surrounded by ornate wrought iron and bronze, but there was no gate to prevent a person from approaching the front door. So, that’s what I did. Then, feeling particularly curious, I tried the door, which opened, revealing these stunning, ornate doors. These doors, however beautiful, would not be opening for me. A pass code pad was evident along with a sign that read, Pacific-Union Club.

Ah. One of the old gentlemen’s clubs. Can women join? Can women go into the club? The three of us wondered about the status of this historic institution of San Francisco’s elite social club days. As it turns out, if you know a member you can go as a guest for dinner. You can even stay in one of the luxury rooms. If you’re a woman, though, prepare to be treated a little subpar. Some of the areas are still “gentlemen only” and even wives must enter by the back door! Really?

So, yes. The old boys club is alive and well on California Street in San Francisco as the male elite of the elite huddle in decadent luxury, knowing they have a safe haven far from the real world, just outside their doors.

Doesn’t it make you want to write a story about a woman, who poses as a man and cooks up a scheme to not only get inside the front doors, but to actually become a member? What kind of a scheme would that take? She would have to come up with some worthy, not to mention solid credentials to make it through the screening process. It would have to be a brilliant plan and she would need a lot of help. But would it be doable? Plausible? I think it would be a lot of fun to write a story along those lines. The problem? Getting inside to do the research! Hmm…if only I knew a member… The woman in the story, of course, knows a member. It has to be an inside job. And, to what purpose? What will she do with the information she collects while smoking cigars with the “old boys?”

The first brownstone built west of the Mississippi belonged to silver magnate, James Clair Flood






Published by Lois Donovan

Author of historical time travels, THE JOURNAL and WINDS OF L'ACADIE, Lois is in demand as a speaker/presenter at literary conferences and young writers' conferences and teachers conventions. Lois grew up primarily in Riverview, New Brunswick, but has called Calgary home for many years. Currently, Lois enjoys life in Calgary with her husband, daughter, son and daughter-in-law.

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