Things to wonder about; today, anyway. (For Caroline from Belgium)

WonderFBuildinguseConstruction on the Embarcadero Freeway in 1957 that would imprison the Ferry Building for over thirty four years: I wonder why they ever built that thing. (SF Chronicle)

WonderBroadwayuseBroadway, where the Embarcadero Freeway ended, looks like the early 60’s: I wonder what San Francisco would have been like if they had completed the freeway. It was supposed to go all the way along the waterfront to the Golden Gate Bridge when it was designed. (SF Chronicle)

WonderCalifuseCalifornia Street down from Stockton Street in 1948 and a picture I took in 2017: I wonder what the House of Lee was. The building to the right of the House of Lee in the vintage photo was called the Trafalgar Building. Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Alan Ladd, and Peter Lorre, filmed a scene in that building in the 1947 film ‘My Favorite Brunette’.

WondeerJoanuseI wonder what Joan was looking at?  Joan Crawford and Jack Palance in a behind the scenes photo on Hyde Street near Lombard during filming of the 1952 film noir movie ‘Sudden Fear’. It couldn’t have been the tourists on Lombard Street because they hadn’t started gathering back then. The camera view is looking south toward Greenwich Street. They still had the cobblestone on Hyde Street back then. (

WonderVertigouseMysterious Judy Barton (Kim Novak) thanks “Scottie Ferguson” (James Stewart) for pulling her out of San Francisco Bay in a poster scene from the 1958 movie ‘Vertigo’. The scene was in front of Scottie’s house on the northwest corner of Lombard and Jones Streets. I wonder if Alfred Hitchcock had any suspicion that he was filming what would arguably be his most studied movie, except for possibly ‘Psycho’, and the quintessential San Francisco film locations movie. (

WonderBullittuseWalter Chambers (Robert Vaughn) and Captain Sam Bennett (Simon Oakland ) in front of Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill in a behind the scenes photo during the filming of ‘Bullitt’ from 1968: That’s the Bank of America Building on California and Kearny Streets going up in the background of the vintage picture. I wonder if the new building under construction on the southeast corner of Powell and California Streets will block the view from here of the B of A Building when completed. The steps leading up to Grace Cathedral have been remodeled since 1968. (

WonderPowellusePowell Street climbing Nob Hill in the 1940’s: The building on the right in the old picture is the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. The Starlight Room at the top of the hotel once had some of the greatest views in San Francisco, rivaling the Top of the Mark. I wonder why the Union Square Marriott built that plain looking hotel and completely blocked most of the view from the Starlight Room. How rude was that?

wonderbluechouseI wonder if they’ll ever paint the Cliff House blue with waves again like they did in 1972.





‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, or is it the maddening crowd? (For Janise)

San Francisco is a quiet and peaceful town to visit on the 4th of July, as long as you’re out of the city by 6:00 PM. Weather permitting, San Francisco puts on a terrific fireworks show the night of the 4th, and I’ve checked it out a number of times.  However, it’s one of the most congested nights in San Francisco for people and traffic, and you have to have a lot of patience with the crowds. Nowadays, like yesterday, I spent a pleasant day taking pictures in San Francisco, and made it home before evening to watch ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and at 9:00 PM, went out to catch the firework shows some of the neighbors put on. That’s my 4th of July tradition these days; yes, it’s come to this. These are a collection of vintage traffic and congestion pictures around San Francisco. I started out in 1937 and ended up in 1973.

4th3rd&MissionuseMission and 3rd Street, looking north toward Market Street in 1937: (SF Gate)

4th5thMarketuseMarket Street at 5th in 1946, looking toward the old JC Penny Department Store:

4thRemedialuseMission Street near 5th in 1948, looking west: Notice the Remedial Loan Company Building on the right in the vintage picture. That’s where Sam Spade made Brigid O’Shaughnessy hock her jewelry to retain him as a detective in the novel ‘The Maltese Falcon’. “You’ll have to hock them. The Remedial’s the best – Fifth and Mission.” Spade tells her. The Remedial’s still around, now named the Provident Remedial. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4tho'farrellstocktonuseO’Farrell Street near Stockton in 1948, looking east: You can see a cable car on the old O’Farrell Line in the background. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4thGearyStocktonuseGeary Blvd at Stockton Street in 1954, looking east: Watch out for the lol! The beloved City of Paris Store, demolished in 1979 is on the right; in the far back of both pictures is the Palace Hotel. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4thCalifuseRoadwork on the California Street Cable Car Line at Mason Street in 1957: On the left is the Fairmont Hotel, on the right are the Mark Hopkins Hotel and the Stanford Court. (

4thVertigouseAlfred Hitchcock filmed a scene where the cable work was being done in the previous 1957 photo in his movie ‘Vertigo’. James Stewart follows Kim Novak south along Mason Street, before turning east onto California Street around the construction area, seen here in the film.

4thMasonPostuseMason Street at Post in 1973, looking north: (SF Gate)

4thMasonGearyuseMason Street near Geary Blvd. in 1973, looking south and probably taken the same day as the previous picture: You can see the letters for the Mason, O’Farrell Garage, blocked by signs in my picture, on the right. (SF Gate)

4thSFTerminaluseBefore I left I stopped by to visit the newly reopened Salesforce Transit Center, closed since September of 2018. The top drawing is an artistic rendition of what the Grand Hall would look like before the transit terminal was built. They got it pretty close. (











Bridge to Bridge (For Tyler)

BtoBopenuseSo, I had a thirteen year relative from Texas who’s never seen San Francisco before out for a visit last weekend. He wanted to see the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, names that are folklore to him. Alcatraz is booked for months in advance, and the idea of visiting the Golden Gate Bridge by land on a summer weekend is a joke! I did the next best thing; I took them on a Red and White Fleet tour boat ‘Bridge to Bridge’ cruise. Most of the photos from the cruise are more of a now and then collection because I took the pictures first and searched for vintage pictures that make a close comparison afterward.

BtoBsceneryuseWe sailed out from Fisherman’s Wharf. Among the things you can see in the top photo are the Bay Bridge, Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, and the World War Two Liberty Ship the Jeremiah O’Brien. The bottom photo is Russian Hill and Hyde Street. The brick building at the bottom of Russian Hill is the old Del Monte Cannery. We’re going to visit there later in this post.

BtoBGGBridgeuseApproaching the Golden Gate Bridge on a Red and White tour in 1968 and on a Red and White tour last weekend: (

BtoBAlcatraz1952The tour sails under the Golden Gate Bridge circles back and heads for Alcatraz Island. The top picture was taken in 1952. There were still a lot of tough prisoners on the “Rock” then. The penitentiary is at the top of the hill. (

BtoBAlcatraz1937useThe top picture was taken in 1937. Al Capone was still out there then. In May of 1946, prisoners rioted and took over Alcatraz in a bloody two day battle. Check out the You Tube link below for a newsreel of the story. (



BtoBBbridgeuseThe tour continued to the Bay Bridge, seen in the top photo from the 1960’s, and cruised along the shoreline back to Fisherman’s Wharf. (

BtoBCannery1useBefore we left, we stopped at the Visitors Center in the old Del Monte Cannery. I have been by here dozens of times and I’ve never stopped in to the Visitors Center. It’s fantastic; just loaded with vintage San Francisco waterfront history. The picture on the left is looking up Hyde Street from Jefferson Street in a slide picture I took in 1985. The Cannery is on the left.

CanneryFarralonuseThe Visitors Center winds through a large portion of the Cannery with very interesting films and displays to view, much of which used to be housed at the Maritime Museum down the street.

BtoBBaggageuseI wonder whose baggage they were.

DPCannery1use The last “Dirty Harry” movie, ‘Dead Pool’ made in 1988, had an assassination attempt on Inspector Harry Callahan scene filmed here. Callahan, (Clint Eastwood) steps into the glass elevator with actress Patricia Clarkson. Harry has rubbed the mob the wrong way and they’re out to get him.

dpCannery2use Two bad guys fire hundreds of rounds from automatic weapons as the elevator descends.

DPCannery3useThey do a lot of damage to the elevator, but don’t kill Harry or the girl. Personally, I wouldn’t trust hit men who can fire guns for three minutes through glass at helpless targets and miss!

DPCannerey4useIt didn’t do them any good. Harry comes out shooting and dispatches them.

DPCannery5useAll they did was mess up his tie.

DPCannery6use The glass elevator in the Cannery is gone now. The elevator shaft where Harry and his friend almost got “the shaft” is in the background.


Another walk along Market Street

There’s less than a week to go before San Francisco moves into summer. That’s when the weather really gets chilly here; just ask Mark Twain. Actually, Mark Twain never did say, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco” any more than Alfonso Bedoya said “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ badges!” Oh, wait, Alfonso Bedoya did say that! Anyway, on this last Saturday of the spring of 2019, the weather was cool, and cloudy, but comfortable for a walk along Market Street to take comparison pictures of some vintage photos, mostly from the Market Street Railway collection.

MarketBARTuseI started out where I entered the city yesterday, at the BART escalator near the Hyatt Regency, seen here in 1976. It looks pretty busy that day and I’ll bet that most of those BART passengers, if not all of them, paid for their tickets! (

MarketCalifuseWhere the California Street cable car line comes into Market Street in 1960: (

MarketNewMontuseMarket Street at New Montgomery Street next to the Palace Hotel in 1966: (

Market3rduseThis one confused me at first. It was taken at Market Street and 3rd Street, looking toward Kearny, in 1978. At the left is the doorway to the old Mutual Savings Bank Building, at the right is Lotta’s Fountain, but where is the old Chronicle Building, one of the oldest buildings in Downtown San Francisco? I did some checking; in 1962, they covered the Chronicle Building behind a steel façade to modernize it so it would fit in better with the skyscraper boom beginning in Downtown San Francisco around then. And how dumb was that! The Chronicle Building was the American Savings Building in the 1978 picture. (Flickr)

MarketFlooduseNow, I’m at the Flood Building on the corner of Powell and Market Streets.  It looks like they were doing a little road work here in 1948. (

“Hey, Charlie, you know we’re going to have to tear this road up all over again twenty years from now when they build BART!”

MarketPowelluseRight here is the Powell Street cable car turnaround, seen here in 1949: (

MarketHalesuseThey were working across Market Street from Powell in 1948 as well, at the long gone Hale Brothers Department Store next to the Emporium. (

Market7thuseI turned around at 7th and Market Streets at the Odd Fellows Building. From here on, Market Street is more of a “no man’s land” until you get to Van Ness. Anyway, it seemed to me that this ten block walk was a lot easier when I was sixteen! The vintage picture was taken in 1984, around the time they came up with the idea of running vintage streetcars along Market Street. This developed into today’s Muni F and E Lines. (Dave Glass)

Vallejo Street – East (For Samantha)

VallejoopenuseI first became interested in this portion of Vallejo Street in the mid 1980’s after watching a movie called ‘Hell on Frisco Bay’, made in 1955 and starring Alan Ladd and Edward G. Robinson. (IMDb)

VallejoviewuseThe east view along Vallejo Street on the steps between Montgomery and Kearny Streets from a slide picture I took in 1985 and now: The view from here is spectacular! The pier at the end of Vallejo Street is Pier 9.

ThillvallejouseAnother slide picture I took on the Vallejo Steps just above Montgomery Street in 1985. If it wasn’t for the cars you could hardly tell the difference.

VallejoBaxter1useVallejo BaxtertwouseIn a 1957 episode entitled ‘The Witness’ from the television show ‘Harbor Command’ Inspector Ralph Baxter tracks down a witness to a murder who’s hiding in a house on the Vallejo Steps.  He goes down the steps to the house where the man is hiding to convince him to turn himself in.

VallejostHCommandstairsuseBaxter goes down the steps to the house with the dark painted door on the left. The house has been remodeled and the door is painted white today.

VallejodoorwayuseInspector Baxter notices a suspicious man in the doorway of a house across the street from the where the witness is hiding. Sure enough, the man turns out to be one of the gang trying to locate the witness to kill him. The bottom picture is the doorway where the bad guy was watching from.

VallejostepsnorthuseThe opposite side of the Vallejo steps from where Baxter walked down seen in the episode.

Vallejo1985UseVallejo Street between Montgomery and Sansome Streets in a slide I took from 1985. Trees block some of the view today. A house has been built now in the empty lot to the left of the van in the 1985 picture.

VallejoEmbarcadero1useVallejoEmbarcadero2useIn a ‘Harbor Command’ episode from 1957 entitled ‘Gold Smugglers’ two dental assistants have been forging the dentist’s name to order gold that they’ve been stockpiling. They murder the doctor when he finds out what they’ve been doing. They attempt to smuggle the gold out of San Francisco. Naturally, Inspector Ralph Baxter will spoil their plans before they get too far. Here, they try to make their escape in a taxi on the Embarcadero at the foot of Vallejo Street. You can see construction work on the soon to be finished Embarcadero Freeway in the right background of the show scenes.

“Mr. and Mrs. Nobody; you’ve just murdered a dentist, smuggled stolen gold, and stashed the car used in your crimes. What are you going to do now?”

“We’re going to Disneyland!”

VallejoLadd1useVallejoLadd2useNow, back to Alan Ladd: In ‘Hell on Frisco Bay’, Ladd plays an ex police officer wrongly convicted of manslaughter who’s just been released from prison. He comes back from San Francisco to try to find out who framed him.  Sometime around 1985 I recorded the film on a VHS video recorder, and was interested in the location of this scene. Ladd is shadowing a mob moll to locate a witness to the murder he was framed for. The movie is finally available on DVD, and I watched it again last night, probably the first time since 1985, to get my captures.

VallejoLadd3useAlthough the location wasn’t identified in the Alan Ladd and Eddie G. movie, it was easy from the scene to track it down to Vallejo Street and Hodges Alley, between Montgomery and Sansome Streets, where I took the 1985 slide in the top picture.












6/2 in 1962 (For Cindy)

No, that’s not a song by the band Chicago, that was ‘25 or 6 to 4’. I have a friend who was born in 1962 on June 2nd. Of course, a lot of people were born on June 2nd 1962, but Cindy’s the only one that I know. These are vintage pictures from 1962.

1962JonesuseJones Street looking down toward Union Street and beyond to the Bay: (flickr)

1962FWharfuseJefferson and Taylor at Fisherman’s Wharf: (flickr)

1962PowellCCaruseThe cable car turnaround at Powell and Market Streets looking in the opposite direction from where most pictures are taken at this location: Eddy Street where the building with the ‘Christopher for Lieutenant Governor’ sign is used to cut through to Market Street before it was cut off in the early 1970’s by Hallidie Plaza and the Powell Street BART Station. George Christopher, who was Mayor of San Francisco in 1962, lost his bid for lieutenant Governor in that election. (Chronicle)

1962MarketStuseLooking across Market Street to the cable car turnaround on Powell Street: (

1962CTownuseGrant Avenue and California Street in Chinatown on a sunny day in 1962, and a foggy day in 2019: (

1962ChampsuseCity Hall honors the San Francisco Giants 1962 Pennant win, and the 2013 Oracle Team, USA 2013 America’s Cup yacht racing victory. (Vintage image source unknown)

1962MonorailuseCindy’s crazy about Disneyland too. These are pictures from Disneyland taken in 1962. The Monorail passing the Disneyland entrance: That looks like the Disneyland Hotel being constructed in the far back of the vintage picture. (

1962FLanduseDumbo the Flying Elephant Ride and the Chicken of the Sea Pirate Ship in Fantasyland with the Matterhorn in the background: This was as close as I could come to this spot now. (flickr)

1962MansionuseThe Haunted Mansion: The unfinished Haunted Mansion sat on a hill between Frontierland and the Indian Village from 1962 until it opened in August of 1969, with different reasons for the delayed opening including the death of Walt Disney in 1966. (Disney Parks Blog)

1962submarineuseThe Submarine Lagoon and Monorail Station with the old Skyway in Tomorrowland: (

1962MStreetuseMain Street Square: Somebody sure didn’t take good care of this old snapshot! I wish the horse carriage was running that day! (



‘Still more pictures from the 1980’s’, soon to be followed by ‘Still, still more pictures from the 1980’s’, in turn, to be followed by ‘Still, still, still more pictures from the 1980’s’

Not really, I don’t think I have that many more 1980’s pictures. As I have mentioned before, I was really into slide photography back in the 1980’s. The film was more expensive and you had to have some type of projector to look at the pictures, but the quality was the best of any of the photos I took. What’s more, although I couldn’t have known it then, slide pictures convert to digital pictures much clearer than scanned snapshots. These are more updates of slide pictures I took from 1983 to 1987 to start out the Memorial Day Weekend. This weekend, we’ll be remembering a lot more brave men and women that have gone since I took the original pictures; many not even born yet back then.

Still801stStuseMarket and First Streets looking toward the Ferry Building in 1985: The novel concept of running old streetcars along Market Street was just getting started then, and it developed into today’s wonderful F and E Line of vintage streetcars.

Still80Pier26usePier 26, directly under the Bay Bridge, on an overcast day in 1983, and an overcast May 25th, 2019. Those are the old Belt Line Railway tracks, no longer in use back then, on the right in my old picture.

Still80EmbarcaderouseThe Embarcadero, south of the Ferry Building, with the infamous Embarcadero Freeway in 1983: The freeway was demolished in 1991. There was a Giants baseball game at Giants Stadium today, (I’m calling it that, see?) so fans were heading to the game near here in my current picture, something that would have been a concept out of science fiction in 1983.. The game turned out to be as gloomy for the Giants as the weather was in my old shot.

Still80MuniuseSteuart Street and Don Chee Way south of Market Street and another look at the Embarcadero Freeway in 1984: The building on the right where the Muni Museum is now wasn’t built in 1984.

Still80CalifStuseI think this one turned out the best, and I got a break when the sun came out for a bit. This is looking down California Street from Stockton. My original picture was taken in 1983. There were no cable cars running in San Francisco at that time. The system had shut down in 1982 for repairs and wouldn’t reopen until June of 1984. It’s hard to imagine two years without cable cars nowadays! (It was hard to imagine then too) You can see the work being done on the cable line down at the bottom of California Street in my 80’s picture.

DLandAdventurelanduseI also made it back down to Disneyland for my annual “Memorial Day or close to it” tradition this week. Here is a slide from 1983 at the entrance to Adventureland.   Either people stopped having babies, or they don’t rent strollers in Disneyland anymore.

DLandAdventureuseLooking back in the opposite direction from the previous picture near the entrance to Adventureland in 1987: That’s my sister and her four kids:  The one on my lap didn’t stop making faces before the camera until she got into her thirties, or something like that. Hmm, I didn’t remember that I used to part my hair.

DlandTomLanduseIt’s a whole different Tomorrowland with different looking Monorail Trains today than our 1987 trip here to Disneyland. That’s my little brother Pat on the right. We lost Pat in 1995, and I never can recapture all of the fun I had in Disneyland that I had when he was along.