Across the street is a large brick building with numerous bay windows labeled Nicholl Block.
The Nicholl Block was built in 1877 by John Nicholl, an immigrant from Ireland. He had great success as a farmer in Alameda County, and was able to finance what was noted as “the first brick block on Washington Street.” The upper floors were originally Nicholl House, a residential hotel, which was later renamed the Arlington Hotel.
Just to the right is Henry House, another residential hotel built in 1877. Notable residents included a young Isadora Duncan and her mother, before Isadora gained fame as the “Mother of Modern Dance”. One of Isadora’s first dance recitals was held not far away at the First Unitarian Church. You may recall Ms. Duncan for the unfortunate but dramatic manner of her death. While riding in a car in France, one of her signature long, flowing scarves became entangled in the spokes of a wheel, and she was pulled from the vehicle and killed.