“Yea, ho, little fish, don’t cry, don’t cry.”
Whenever I go to Fisherman’s Wharf, I think of that song Spencer Tracy sang in ‘Captains Courageous’. Well, maybe not whenever, but sometimes when I go. Well, maybe not sometimes, but today. I picked a perfect day to step back into time, and explore Fisherman’s Wharf in 1975. We’ll start at Aquatic Park. Trees block the view of Ghirardelli Square from this spot today. (Vintage photos from Peter Stratmoen) Hyde and Jefferson Streets: Some things don’t change in 41 years, like, passing cars ruining a picture. That’s the old Del Monte Cannery Building on the left. Taylor Street, looking south from Jefferson Street: You can just see a little of the Sea Captain’s Chest Gift Shop sign at the right. The Sea Captain’s Chest was THE place to buy gifts at Fisherman’s Wharf for decades and can be seen in the 1962 movie ‘Experiment in Terror’.
Alioto’s and #9 Fishermen’s Grotto: Hey, where did all those people come from?
Jefferson Street, east of Taylor Street: The Wax Museum is now Madame Tussauds. The Eagle Café was in the same place in 1975 as it was when it opened in 1928. When the Pier 39 Garage structure was scheduled to be built in 1978, the Eagle Café was going to be demolished. Instead, they relocated it across the street to the top level of Pier 39. My picture is from the Pier 39 Garage about where the Eagle Café originally was. The Golden Hinde is a replica of a ship captained by Sir Francis Drake for an expedition he took in 1577. Built in 1973, she sailed from Plymouth, England to San Francisco on her Maiden Voyage and arrived in May of 1975, where she docked at Pier 43. This area has changed drastically since 1975. The only thing left of Pier 43 is the archway, Pier 41 next to it was demolished in 1976, and Pier 39 was razed for the tourist site that’s there today. As nighttime approaches, a billowing and carnivorous fog threatens to devour the Hyde Street Pier. Gawd, I’m a lousy writer! Several more ships have been berthed here since 1975, like the Balclutha, built in 1886, and seen at the end of the pier.