The Cliff House and the Great Highway

GreatHighwayuse  Shorpy'sCliffHouse The Cliff House, looking from the north and south from the terrific Shorpy Picture Archive: They have some of the best vintage pictures I’ve ever seen. Below, is the link to their site. The top photo is looking south toward the Great Highway and Playland-at-the-Beach, (then known as Chutes at the Beach) in 1922 as the road to the Cliff House was being constructed: That thug in the car in the vintage picture looks like a hit man! The second picture is looking north toward the Cliff House in 1934 from the Great Highway: The family in the center car looks happy; I guess they were going to stop at Playland.   Topsy'suse The billboard in the previous picture is an advertisement for Topsy’s Roost with their 50 cent chicken dinners. Topsy’s Roost, seen here in photos from the Marilyn Blaisdell Collection, also had a dance floor in the basement that guests reached by sliding down large slides. Topsy’s was just a short way down from the corner of Balboa Street and the Great Highway, and would later house a slot car race track, and the Family Dog rock and roll concert hall. The building was demolished in the 1970’s and an empty lot occupies the spot today.                                                                               

Back in the Avenues

ExpGWashuse Looking down 30th Avenue toward Geary from Anza St in the Richmond District as Lee Remick drives Stefanie Powers to George Washington High School, on the left, in the 1962 thriller ‘Experiment in Terror’:  ExpStephanieuse At 25th and Clement, six blocks away from George Washington High School, Ross Martin kidnaps Stefanie at this corner in ‘Experiment in Terror’ The apartment building on the corner was still being built when the scene was filmed.  Arguello1use Two great pictures from the Shorpy’s Collection at the southeast corner of Arguello and Geary in 1927: Although, the picture of the cop scolding the lady jaywalker was, obviously, posed, I still like it. The Golden Bear Furniture building was where the red building with the circle windows is today. They still have a street signal and fire hydrant here, but the old hydrant was replaced by another old hydrant.  Arguello2use The opposite view shows the service station that was at this corner in 1927. The David Rumsey aerial photo from 1938, available for viewing on the San Francisco Main Library History Room site, clearly shows the gas station at this corner eleven years later. There’s still a service station there today!  Parksidetheateruse Now to the other side of Golden Gate Park and the Sunset District: Built in 1928, and seen here in 1959, the Parkside Theater building at 19th Avenue and Taraval Street has survived, but it’s now the Parkside Preschool building. I wanted to stop in for a quick one at the Ye Olde Spinning Wheel, but alas, it’s now something called Copy Circle. (Tom Gray)  Parksideattractionsuse The 1962 Summer schedule for the old Parkside Theater. Clark Gable, Burt Lancaster, Danny Kaye, Walt Disney, Charles Laughton, Robert Stack, Mickey Rooney, the Three Stooges, Lou Costello, Bugs Bunny, and Margaret O’Brien! Margaret’s, kind of, surrounded by men, but she’s got ‘The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock’ to protect her!
(Joseph McInerney Collection)  Avececiliause St. Cecilia’s Church nearing completion in 1956: “Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart!” I’m, probably, not the only one who has sang that while visiting here. This beautiful church sits on a hill at 17th and Vincente, and can be seen for miles as you approach.  AveRhondause 38th Avenue, between Wawona and Yorba in the 1950’s: Well, he’s not the only one with a bike like that. (Robert Menist)