IMG_6092(1865-2015) 150 years of continued service in San Francisco! The Larkins legacy lives on…

Larkins Bros Tires has a long history of tires, automobile repairs and even building automobiles. William Larkins, born May 20, 1833 in County Galway, Ireland, emigrated to America prior to 1861.  By 1865 he had become the proprietor of Larkins & Co, makers of high grade carriages. Their first shop was on Sumner St. near Montgomery and later moved to 634-635 Howard St. up until the fire of 1906.

Between 1865 and 1900, the Mechanics Institute of S.F. awarded four gold and nine silver medals for their outstanding work.

After the 1906 earthquake, Larkins & Co. relocated to temporary quarters in the city’s Mission District at 276-278 Guerrero St.  Further moves brought the firm to 1610-1614 Van Ness Ave, and in 1919 relocated to the all-brick former S.F. Muni Geary St. Car barns, located at the corner of 19th Ave. and Geary St. The Larkins eventually bought the building and renamed it the Larkins Building.

The Larkins and their designer, August H. Pape, held a number of patents for automobile tops. The first, a “means for converting collapsible tops of automobiles into closed tops” was filed and granted on December 29, 1920. Two more patents were granted in for a “means converting collapsible tops for automobiles into closed tops” and a “sliding side window”, the first of its kind.

After World War II, the Larkins Building was converted into an automobile dealership, the very first on Geary St’s Auto Row.

In 1950 the 5th next generation, twins William and Kenneth, established Larkins Bros. Tires at 370 S Van Ness Ave. The brothers continued the family legacy for the next 36 years.  On June 1, 1986, the company was sold to a close family friend.

Martin Labagh is a San Francisco native, who loves and collects cars. Randy Hill (Martin’s brother-in-law) is in his 25th year at LBT. His son Jason, is the Manager of Hanlon’s Tire in San Bruno, which was purchased in 1991.  The Larkins legacy lives on, as customers are treated like friends and family.

(1865-2015) 150 years of continued service in San Francisco!