San Francisco during World War Two

StMarysWW2use Chinatown, with Old St. Mary’s on the right, in 1943.

ww2redopioneer Boy, those sailor fellows sure do alright! Wow, her coat matches her hair! They’re sitting at the exact spot in 1943 where the San Francisco Main Library is today. Behind them is the Pioneer Monument which was moved farther north in 1993 when the new library was built. Behind the monument in the old photo is the intersection of Hyde and Grove. The building behind the Pioneer Monument in the 1943 picture is, actually, the Orpheum Theater.

ww2redopampanito The crew at the bridge of the World War ll submarine USS Pampanito, and the bridge today. The Pampanito saw a lot of action in the Pacific Ocean during the war.

ww2redobakerst A Gold Star Ceremony at Chestnut and Baker Streets awarded to Kenneth Campbell of the U.S. Navy who was killed in 1943. They did this a lot during the war. The arrow shows where the Gold Star was placed. The pole is still there, but the Gold Star is long gone and replaced by a No Left Turn sign. (Images of America)

ww2redosanchez Kids point to a Gold Star Marker placed at 18th and Sanchez in January, 1943 for marine Donald Gray, killed in action at Guadalcanal. (Images of America)

wwredogroveuse “When Johnny comes marching home again, Hurrah! Hurrah!” Victorious army soldiers on Grove Street in a victory march at the end of World War ll. The Owl Drug Store on the right was on the corner of Hyde and Grove Streets in the Orpheum Theater Building in the vintage picture. My photo is closer to Larkin Street because the San Francisco Main Library blocks the view of City Hall from Hyde at Grove today, (Images of America)

ww2redopier15 Pier 15 being deactivated when the war ended: “Alright babes, glad that’s over. Let’s go get a beer!” (Images of America)

ww2redoggbridge Civvies line the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the arrival of Navy troop ships and war vessels coming home again at the end of World War ll. “Welcome home. Well done!”

ww2redopostmag This wonderful cover for the Saturday Evening Post ran twenty seven days after the official end of World War Two, and paints an image of a happy optimism among the returning sailors. The cable car is getting set to dip down Washington Street at Jones into Chinatown. Cable cars still take the plunge here seventy years later. I first learned of the Post Magazine cover when reading Gary Kamiya’s fine book about San Francisco ‘Cool Gray City of Love’.

ww2redotorpedo This photo is of a little known and interesting incident. There had been many rumors during World War ll that a Japanese submarine had fired a torpedo at the Golden Gate Bridge in the early days after Pearl Harbor. In June of 1946, that rumor turned out to be true when an unexploded Japanese torpedo was found at Marshall’s Beach just west of the bridge. What damage it could have done if it struck the bridge or which submarine fired the torpedo has never been determined. This is not an easy spot to get down to; you can only reach this area at low tide. Sandstone steps lead down the cliff to the beach, and it’s a long and tiring climb back up! Trust me on this one! Because of its secluded and often inaccessible location, it’s also used as a nude beach. Do yourself a favor and trust me on this one too. I tried for as long as time would allow to find the exact rock in the old photo, but 70 years have passed, and much of the time many of the rocks are underwater, so it may not even look the same anymore.’. (Images of America) For more on San Francisco during World War Two, click on the link below for a series of pictures I posted in March of 2015 called ‘World War Two and the San Francisco Giants’.

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