It’s the last week of summer in what Herb Caen called “the city with no seasons’, and that holds true for this week. The weather has been cloudy and overcast on some days, and warm and sunny on others. I got mostly sunny weather for my visits this week.
This is at the northwest corner of Post Street and Grant Avenue in the 1920’s:
“I see dead people.”
The Shreve Jewelry Company was at this corner since 1906. Although the engraving and marker are still on the building, Shreve moved to a different location on Post Street in 2015. East meets East on Grant Avenue and California Street in 1939:
“He’s not going to post another Chinatown picture, is he?”
Sorry, it’s my O.C.D. (Obsessive Chinatown Disorder). Actually, this picture is interesting to me because of the hotel with the Japanese name Yamato in the middle of Chinatown, and the probability that when Pearl Harbor was bombed two years after the vintage photo was taken the name of that hotel was almost certainly changed. (Elizabeth Gray Potter) Where O’Farrell Street, Market Street, and Grant Avenue come together in 1910: This is another of the comparisons I enjoy doing where the locations appear to have changed very little. Way down O’Farrell Street where the cameras are facing, St. Mary’s Cathedral can be seen in the modern picture. Pope John Paul II said Mass here on his visit to San Francisco in 1987. Most pictures of the Hyde Street cable car line to Aquatic Park are taken looking down from Russian Hill with its dramatic view. This is a rare look back up from the bottom of the hill as two cable cars begin their climb up Hyde. That’s Woody Allen and Diane Keaton in the top photo in a scene from the 1972 film ‘Play It Again, Sam’ Everybody makes mistakes. That’s why there are editors; except, they goofed here. In this picture of Union Square from Elizabeth Gray Potters’ 1939 book, ‘The San Francisco Skyline’, that’s not the Mark Hopkins Hotel on the left; it’s the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Ssshhhh! Speaking of mistakes, I spotted one here that really surprised me. Arnold Genthe has been referred to as the father of modern photography. Before the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Chinatown was a mysterious and forbidden place full of opium dens, brothels, and frequent shanghaiing. When Genthe went in and took his famous pictures he opened the door to the tourist trade that’s there today. The famous picture at the top right, circa 1900, from his book of Chinatown identifies the picture as being at Jackson and Dupont Street, which is now Grant Ave. I’ve even seen images of this photo with Genthe’s writing stating it was taken at Dupont and Jackson. When I took my first then and now photo earlier at Grant and Jackson something didn’t seem right. When you wander around San Francisco for as long as I have been doing you feel things. The cable car coming down Jackson Street made me curious, as well. I checked on every thing I could find about every cable car line that ran in San Francisco and the Jackson Line stopped at Powell and never came down to Dupont. It had to be Sacramento or Clay Street. I contacted a fellow at the Market Street Railway System and he said he’d look into it, and get back to me, which he did the next day. He said it couldn’t have been Jackson Street and must have been Sacramento, which I agree. Arney must have been tired when he labeled his picture that day from walking around Chinatown, and I can appreciate that. Here’s a last week of summer picture of the correct corner at Sacramento and Grant that I took today. The summer crowds have dropped off quite a bit, and in reference to the gift shop, the Warriors will be starting another season soon, and the Giants are still in the hunt for the playoffs next month.