As good as it gets

Bingo! It’s always a pleasure for me to find a website with a few vintage San Francisco pictures that are new to me. It’s also a pleasure to find that some of them are large image photographs. However, to find a site with hundreds and hundreds of wonderful vintage and full size pictures that I’ve never seen before, well, it was great to find ‘Open SF History – Historical Images of San Francisco’ a few days ago. Their navigation map covers every corner of the City with pictures that can be downloaded for larger viewing. Here is the link to their site, and below that are a few comparison pictures I worked on today. The site is kind enough to let you share the images on your website for non commercial use. Below each image is a link to the page location from the site.



The Stockton Tunnel from Sutter Street circa 1958: If this was the only picture on their website, I’d, probably still go to it over and over. The railing along the top of the tunnel was where Sam Spade from the Maltese Falcon “crossed the sidewalk between iron-railed hatchways that opened above bare ugly stairs, and resting his hands on the damp coping, looked down into Stockton Street. An automobile popped out of the tunnel beneath him with a roaring swish, as if it had been blown out, and ran away.”


The Alcatraz launch next to the Van Ness Municipal Pier in 1938: A lot of people don’t realize how historical that abandoned little white building at the end of the pier is. Prisoners waited here under armed guard to be escorted by boat for their stay on “The Rock”. This building has seen the likes of Al Capone, “Machine Gun” Kelly, Robert “The Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud, Alvin Karpis, and Frank Morris. The pier is closed off now for safety reasons, as is the edge of the Municipal Pier where I took my picture from.


No hillside parking or steam trains today at the end of Beach Street in from of the old Maritime Museum like in this circa 1953 photo. A building where the hill on the right was throws a shadow across Beach Street today, but you can still see the old Del Monte Cannery Building in the background today. One of these days I’m going to have a deep dish talk with somebody about the historic Maritime Museum. The building used to be packed with nautical exhibits and films, and you could spend hours there. There’s little to see inside the museum anymore, and nobody working there seems to know if the exhibits will ever return!


A parade welcoming the New York Giants to San Francisco on Montgomery Street at Bush in 1958: As of this posting, the Giants have a chance to make the Playoffs tomorrow on the last day of the season. It will either be an even year believin’, like 2010, 2012, and 2014, or a day of grievin’ for Giants fans like me.


The view from the St. Francis Hotel Tower in 1977: Some of the things you can’t see any more from here are the Bay Bridge and the old Hills Brothers Coffee Factory on the right, the Russ Building to the left of Equitable Building sign, and most of the Wells Fargo Building in the right center. You can still see the Hobart Building peeking out to the right, and the Hunter-Doolin Building in the shadow to the left of the tall chocolate colored building in the right center of the view today. This building looks like a big brother protecting them.