It’s been damaged by two major earthquakes, eaten by a giant octopus, and, probably, appeared in more motion pictures than any other building in the United States except for the Capitol Building in Washington and the Los Angeles City Hall Building. The Ferry Building is a survivor, and, easily, the “Grande Dame” of San Francisco. (Vintage photo California Historical Society)
Two aerial views of the Ferry Building: The top one is in her hey day showing many of the ferry slips, and below, a rare shot of the Embarcadero Freeway under construction. (Bancroft Library)
Repair work in 1907 on the Ferry Building, damaged in the 1906 Earthquake. Things seem to be getting back to normal with encouraging signs like, “Open For Business” and “San Francisco Will Do it.” That black smoke in the background is from a ferryboat, either arriving or leaving. I don’t think those things would pass emission testing today. (Vintage photo San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park)
The southern wing of the Ferry Building on a busy day in 1907:
“Excuse me. Pardon me. Can I get across here?” (Vintage photo Marilyn Blaisdell Collection)
Another terrific and one of the oldest postcards of San Francisco I’ve seen; the Embarcadero from the Ferry Building tower when it was still called East Street. That’s Telegraph Hill on the left, and Alcatraz out in the Bay.
At the foot of the Ferry Building looking south in 1915: (Vintage photo San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park)
The Ferry Building from the south in 1929: Look at that ferryboat traffic! That’s a Coit Towerless Telegraph hill in the vintage photo. (Vintage photo San Francisco Maritime Historic Park)
The inside of the Ferry Building in the 1930’s (San Francisco Public Library)
Interesting Ferry Building history that I recently learned of: The north side of the building had what was called an “apron” that lowered down to the top deck of the arriving ferry boats to allow passengers to enter the Ferry Building into the upper level where they went through a corridor, and crossed over the Embarcadero to Market Street by the footbridge seen in many old photos. (Vintage photo Thomas I. J. Snead)
The passenger footbridge seen from the Embarcadero: (Marilyn Blaisdell Collection)
This 1942 photo was taken on the last day of the foot bridge before it was dismantled for salvageable war material. The doughboy soldier was there to symbolize 1918 when the bridge first opened.
‘The Falcon in San Francisco’ Oops, wait a minute…… ‘The Falcon in San Francisco’
The Falcon (Tom Conway) being “kidnapped” by a little girl in front of the Ferry Building: It was, probably a backdrop, but that was the location in the film.
This strip of shops directly across from the Ferry Building bordered by Market, Mission, Steuart, and the Embarcadero was demolished to make way for the Embarcadero Freeway. Although patronized regularly by ferry boat passengers, this block had developed into a skid row by the 1950’s. The shady palm tree area was where the stretch of buildings stood. This was where the Occupy San Francisco movement camped at the end of 2011. (Vintage photo San Francisco Public Library)
The Hotel Colchester, just north of the Ferry Building in the 1950’s: Somebody put a lot of artistic effort into that LAUNdRY sign. Below, is the spot that the glamorous Colchester Hotel occupied. (Vintage photo California Historical Society)
Commercial Street in the 1950’s when it ran through to the Ferry Building. (Vintage photo Karl Kortum)
Eventually, the area behind the Ferry Building had become a graveyard of parked 1950’s and 1960’s cars. The Sausalito Ferry launch occupies this location today. (Port of San Francisco Archives)
Like the people of France toward Marie Antoinette, the people of San Francisco turned on their queen and imprisoned her behind the Embarcadero Freeway in 1959. Boy that’s corny writing! (Vintage photo Darius Aidala)
The last of the shabbiness of this area disappeared in 1991 with the demolition of the Embarcadero Freeway due to the Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989. (Fran Ortiz)