Way back Wednesday

Nippingthefenderuse “Nipping the fender.” Charles’s Smallwood’s book ‘The White Front Cars of San Francisco’ is a wonderful source of vintage pictures of San Francisco, but this image here had me doing my homework! When I first saw it years ago, I thought it was a terrific period picture of San Francisco from the 1940’s, and I always wanted to see if the location had changed or still existed since 1943. The trouble was, Smallwood, who was usually an excellent locator, and often identified where the photos in his book were taken, was off here; 26th and Army, (Now Cesar Chavez Street) do not intersect, nor did they in 1943. From an old map located in his book, I was able to determine that the Number 30 Line ran down portions of both Army and 26th in 1943. I perused portions of Cesar Chavez on Google Maps, but much of this area is industrialized now, and the site may have been demolished when Highway 101, cut across Army when it was created.. I went back to 26th on Google Maps to follow the route #30 took and only had to go one block to South Van Ness and 26th, which is where the picture was taken. The intersection looks remarkably the same today including a small grocery store on the same corner.

Streetcarcrashuse “Have an accident?”

“No thanks, we’ve already had one!”

I knew I was going to use that one sooner or later! This dramatic streetcar accident took place on Fillmore between Green and Union Streets in November of 1921. I couldn’t learn if anyone was hurt, but I’ll bet phone service was out for quite awhile, although they’ve replaced the telephone pole since then. (Charles Smallwood)

LeftyOdouluse The Butcher Town Bridge opens in 1933: Renamed the Lefty O’Doul Bridge, it now sits next to AT&T Park, and has been seen in a number of movies including ‘Fog Over Frisco’ with Bette Davis (1934), ‘The Enforcer’ with Clint Eastwood’ (1976) and ‘A View to a Kill’ Roger Moore’s last role as James Bond. (1985)

ClockTowerupdate Eighty years later I would have ran over him! A worker puts on some finishing touches to the Bay Bridge before it opened in 1936 near where I was driving. A billboard and concrete addition to the Clock Tower Building in the background since the vintage picture was taken has blocked out most of the view of the tower, which can be seen below the street signs, from this spot today. Twin Peaks can be seen to the right of the Tower Building in both pictures. A long gone entrance to the bridge can be seen on the left.

Waybackggbuse Soldiers watch a ship pass through the Golden Gate as work on the Golden Gate Bridge begins in 1933.

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