‘I Remember Mama’

Mamaredo

Actually, this little adventure was years in the making. The top left photo was the street the Hanson Family lived on in the 1948 movie, ‘I Remember Mama’. Since it was supposed to be on Russian Hill, they Photoshopped, or whatever they called it in 1948, Alcatraz and the Bay in the background, but the street is not on Russian Hill. Many of the scenes were filmed on this street like the center top photo of Katrin and Christine Hanson approaching the crest of the hill. I always thought it was a wonderful turn-of-the-Century street (20th not 21st) and I’ve been trying to find it for years. Many film location experts and even Wikipedia had the wrong locations, usually saying that it was on Rhode Island Street on Potrero Hill, but it isn’t. I had just about given up finding this street, when last Thursday, I found the top right photo from the 1950’s in a book by the Junior League of San Francisco at the San Francisco Main Library. “Wow!” I thought, that looks like it! When I got back to the office and compared it to the film picture, this was the same street; it was once a real street in San Francisco! However, the book didn’t identify where the street was or is, so I was still lost. When I went back to the History Room at SF Library, they didn’t know where it was either, but a nice lady named Christine showed me how to access an old 1938 aerial photo of the City, and said I may have luck finding the location with this. After scouring the photo for two days, I had it nailed down to about five possible locations, but I still had a lot of work to do to find it. I sent the 1950’s picture to a Facebook site called ‘Vintage San Francisco’. These guys run circles around me in San Francisco knowledge. I got a polite answer back saying, “Not sure, but it looks like Liberty at Castro.” Cha-ching! I asked the right people. The bottom pictures are the modern views. Thus, endeth the quest for the elusive street! Whew! Most of the front stairs of the houses through fashion or regulation have a L shaped design today, and a modern building now occupies the empty lot on the corner where the girls walked by.

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