New York City has Broadway, Paris has Champs-Élysées, London has Oxford Street, and San Francisco has Market Street. I’ve seen all four, but Market Street is home. It starts at the Ferry Building where reminders of the nautical and transportation center this area once was still exist, The Embarcadero, the Southern Pacific Building, the Matson Line Shipping Building, now the PG&E Building, and, of course, the Ferry Building. Moving up to Montgomery Street, this is the “Wall Street of the West” area, and where the money is. Next stop is the shopping district, where Stockton and Powell meet Market. On “Black Friday” the day after Thanksgiving, this area is more like a combination of Disneyland in the summer, Times Square on New Year’s Eve., and Mexico City during the Soccer World Cup Championships; PACKED!!! Farther up from here, you’re on your own, this is the Tenderloin. It’s often crazy, and not pretty! This spot was also once known as the Theater District with only two reminders left of San Francisco’s version of the “Great White Way”, the Golden Gate Theater and the Orpheum. Our tour ends at Civic Center. This is the hub of city government and its officials; where the really crazy people are!
Our tour starts at the Ferry Building. After World War l, cable cars stopped running on Market Street. They were replaced by streetcars and what were known as “Dinkeys”; a combination, of sorts, of a cable car and a streetcar. Here’s a Hinky-Dinkey at the Ferry Building in 1947 along with what the caption reads is a “Super Twin Motor Coach”.
A great bustling shot of Lotta’s Fountain at Geary, Market, and Kearny in 1930. In 1999, Lotta’s Fountain was restored to its original size and moved back to the original spot it was at before it was extended in 1916.
Across Market Street is the old Call Building at the beginning of the Twentieth Century and today after its 1938 remodeling. Notice Lotta’s Fountain in its original size and location.
4th and Market Street in 1945; no John Payne and Alice Faye movie, but many of the buildings across Market can still be seen today; the Phelan Building at the far left, the old First Nationwide and Chronicle Building, the two reddish buildings in the center, and the Hobart Building, just behind them.
6th and Market Streets in 1947: You can see the Flood Building through the haze of both pictures on the left across Market Street.
Two angles of a crash in front of the old, and long gone, Paramount Theater at 1066 Market in 1940: Let’s hope that the accident wasn’t serious, and that none of the cream doughnuts were damaged!
Another photo in front of the Paramount from 1939: The girl at the bus stop looks, kind of, cute! From here on out this is, not particularly, my favorite stretch of Market Street.
Jones and Market, looking toward Twin Peaks in 1939: I have no idea what that coat is that’s attacking that lady, but I hope she made it home okay!
More trouble at Jones and Market Streets! Looks like some type of accident, but it doesn’t look too serious.
A military parade at 7th and Market Streets in 1947: Dr M. O. Garten, offering free consultation, Dr. V Libkits, Dentist, Rosenberg’s Health Food Store, but I don’t see the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe. All of the buildings they’re parading past have been demolished, but the dark building in the background can still be seen on theright.
The Golden Gate Theater opened in 1922. Just about every performer in the business has been on the stage here from Judy Garland to Diana Ross.
Hyde at Market Street with the Orpheum Theater on the left in 1957: That looks like a hole in the left rear end of the bus. Air conditioning!
We end the tour at the Orpheum Theater at Hyde and Market Streets. This Grand Lady opened up in 1926 as a vaudeville house, and still packs them in today.