Wishing them luck!

luckopeneruse It’s Orange Rocktober again, and the San Francisco Giants are in the Playoffs, although, as of this posting they’re down one game to nothing. So, I thought I’d put on my old Giants jersey and head to AT&T Park to do then and nows near the park courtesy of opensfhistory.org. No matter what happens tonight, The Giants will be back here on Monday, and this place will ROCK! (Look at the girl posing like the Willie Mays statue for the camera)


You can drive to AT&T Park, take public transportation, or walk along the waterfront to the park, as I did today. Here is the old Seaboard Hotel at Howard and the Embarcadero in 1938. This old hotel, which was demolished at the end of the 1970’s, was featured in at least two films. The Seaboard would have been just behind where the first car is turning on to the Embarcadero from Howard Street.

luckseabordtwouse The Embarcadero Freeway, which once ran past the Seaboard Hotel at this location, can be seen in the top picture from the chase scene at the end of the 1958 movie ‘The Lineup’. From Rainier Ale to Regal Pale, I don’t know if that was a step up or down! In the bottom picture, Steve McQueen hides a witness against organized crime here for his protection when it was called the Daniels Hotel in 1968’s ‘Bullitt’. (It didn’t work; the hit men got to the witness, and killed him)

luckhbrosuse http://opensfhistory.org/Display/wnp14.2712.jpg

One block further south is the old Hills Brothers Coffee Factory, seen here in 1938. The Embarcadero has been reconfigured since 1938, and doesn’t turn at the same angle here as it once did. The old sign reads $6 TO LOS ANGELES. I just want the Giants to get past the Chicago Cubs, and get to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers next!

luckspbuildinguse http://opensfhistory.org/Display/wnp26.091.jpg

Kitty-corner from AT&T Park at 3rd and King Street was once the old Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, seen on the left in 1938. This train station was demolished near the end of the 1970’s.


Bob Hope and Jerry Colonna arrived at the Southern Pacific Depot in May of 1942 on a tour to raise money for the army and navy during World War Two. I don’t recognize who the girls were. The passenger trains still pull up behind the train depot today on the same tracks as in 1942, but now the station is one block southwest, and is the 4th and King Street Station.

luckslideuse http://opensfhistory.org/Display/wnp32.0060.jpg

Slide! I’ve got baseball on the mind! A streetcar slides off the track at Stillman and 4th in 1947.  That’s the old and new Highway 80 approach to the Bay Bridge in the back. It’s been completely redone since the vintage picture. This accident doesn’t look too serious, but wait until you see the next one.


I’ve got a bad feeling about this one; a train collision with a truck at 7th and Irwin in February of 1945.  Given the extent of the damage to the cabin of the big rig in the right center of the vintage photos, it’s unlikely that the driver survived. A Caltrain commuter liner zooms past homeless encampments at the site of the accident today.

lucksailorsuse It’s also Fleet Week in San Francisco. Look at that line of visitors waiting to board the USS San Diego! Two of the fellows off one of the ships were kind enough to oblige me with a photo in a pizza parlor across from AT&T Park.


crossgrantcalifuse Cable cars pause at the intersection of Grant and California to catch their breath before chugging the rest of the way up Nob Hill. They don’t do that really, but I’d like to be a writer someday, so I thought I’d try that line out.

redointerbloguse1  redointerbloguse2  redointer3bloguse Finding these locations is always fun for me, but it can also be challenging, especially if the location is misidentified. Above are three great pictures taken in San Francisco on December 8th 1941, the day after Pearl Harbor. Although their site is a knockout, Shorpy identifies these historic photos as being taken at Montgomery and Market Streets, and that’s not the location. Nothing matched up, nor did any of the old pictures of that intersection that I could find. The key to finding this spot was in the tall building in the distance at the center of the first comparison picture. That looked to me like the old Sir Francis Drake Hotel. If it was, then I had to find out what angle the pictures were taken from. You can’t see the Sir Francis Drake from here anymore, but these pictures were shot on the northeast corner of Sutter and Kearny looking west. I had a weird feeling standing on this corner when I took these, thinking about the people here almost 75 years ago, and what was going on in their minds.

crossstuduse There’s three crossroads in this shot looking down Powell Street toward Market; Geary, O’Farrell, and Ellis Streets. No, that’s not a Stud Hotel sign on the left in the vintage picture; I did a double take too. It’s an Art Studio sign behind the Hotel Stratford sign.

crosscrestuse “Patience is a virtue”, only it’s one of the many virtues that I don’t have. Still, when it comes to getting two cable cars in the picture at the only spot where the California Street and Powell Street cable car lines cross as in the vintage photo, I had to be patient. Cable cars don’t always get here at the same time. I got a reasonable facsimile. That little pagoda on the right isn’t a convenient place to go to the bathroom, (I wish!) it’s a control box that regulates which cable car has a green light to go into the intersection before stopping to pick up or unload passengers when they get there together. The old Crest Garage that goes back to the 1920’s is still there behind the cable cars, only now it’s a parking garage.

Fleet Week

fleetweek2016 Tomorrow is the start of Fleet Week, 2016 in San Francisco. That’s the U.S.S. West Virginia coming into the Bay before the United States entered World War ll, and the U.S.S. Iowa going out in 2012. The West Virginia was sunk at Pearl Harbor; the Iowa will, probably, be the last battleship to sail under the Golden Gate Bridge.

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.

opensfstfrantoweruse http://opensfhistory.org/Display/wnp25.1103.jpg

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.