Telegraph Hill in the 1940’s (Gabriel Moulin Studios):
O Telygraft Hill, she sits proud as a queen
And th’ docks lie below in the glare
And th’ bay runs beyant ‘er all purple and green
Wid th’ ginger-bread island out there.
And the ferry boats toot at owld Telygraft Hill
And th’ hill it don’t care if they do
While the Bradys and Caseys av Telygraft Hill
Joos sit there enj’yin’ th’ view.
(From the 1904 poem by Wallace Irwin)
I took a visit to Telegraph Hill for Valentines Day. To me, Coit Tower at sunset is the most romantic spot in San Francisco. Of course, I’m usually alone when I’m up there, but it still counts.
The crest of Telegraph Hill before Coit Tower:
The, rather, neglected area seen in the 1920’s that would become today’s Pioneer Park behind Coit Tower: (Bancroft Library)
The view of the Bay in 1927 from where the entrance to Coit Tower is now: (Dept. of Public Works)
Coit Tower under construction in 1933, and the finished Product today: I’ve got no complaints. (San Francisco Examiner)
The northwest view from Coit Tower before the Golden Gate Bridge was built.
A couple Civil War era belles, (“Take that Southern-belle simper off your face, Scarlett!”) watching a ship pass by in the Bay from Calhoun Terrace. They would have been somewhere behind where those houses are today. (Bancroft Library)
Calhoun Terrace in the 1940’s: A lot of movie scenes have been filmed here, including ‘Vertigo’ and ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’ and right across the street from where I’m at was Michael Douglas’s pad in the TV show ‘The Streets of San Francisco’.
The view from Calhoun Terrace in 1955: Sometimes, I’ll find myself standing in the exact same spot that the photographer of the vintage picture stood long ago. I’ll wonder to myself, “Who was the person? What was he or she like? What was going on in their world at the time? Did this person look out at the view and reflect on the moment as deeply as I do sometimes?”
Pier 23 from Telegraph Hill in 1939: That’s the Treasure Island World’s Fair with its Sun Tower across the Bay. The dedication of the Columbus Statue in the Coit Tower parking lot in October of 1957: The view is from the top of the tower. (San Francisco History Center)
Kearny Street coming down to Broadway in 1971: Another moment of reflection for Carol Doda, who died in 2015.