Red Sails Inn


Image: 1939 postcard from link below.

Here’s a story of luck during the Great Depression that worked out well:

Joseph Yjidy Viery (1886-1952) came to America from the Azores Islands off Portugal. To this self-described ‘peasant lad’ in 1908, the United States seemed like a ‘fantastic dream.’ He met and married Emily Dina Pereira, had three boys, and found employment in banking. Fluently speaking Spanish and Portuguese helped in his twenty-year career in Alameda County, California. But somehow, he lost everything, home, savings. In 1935 he found himself on the San Diego waterfront with $4 to his name.

“’I was trying to get a job on a tuna boat, but I didn’t get it,’ Viery recalled.

“’I couldn’t spend much for food, so I went into a hamburger stand down there on the waterfront. I guess it was fate that sent me there. Just as it was fate that brought me to San Diego.’

The fleet had come in that day and the Portuguese man running the place couldn’t keep up. His partner had walked out on him. Viery offered his services, and that day in 1935 they brought in $80! He had a job. In a few days the owner asked if Viery wanted to be his partner in the business.

“’But I only have $4,’ replied Viery.

“’That’s all right. You give me your IOU for $290, and the place is yours!’

“They had sailor witness the document. He borrowed $6 so he’d have enough change for the next day’s business. His hamburger place made money and he saved. One thing led to another and Joe, his wife and son opened up The Red Sails Inn at the foot of G Street on Fisherman’s Wharf.”

Excerpt and images from .

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