“Now, I’m standing on the corner of Third and Market. I’m looking around. I’m figuring it out. There it is, right in front of me. The whole city. The whole world. People going by. They’re going somewhere. I don’t know where, but they’re going. I ain’t going anywhere.” – From ‘The Time of Your Life’ by William Saroyan.
I ain’t going anywhere, either; especially when there’s a Ghirardelli Chocolate Store right down the street. San Francisco has many popular intersections; Grant Avenue and California Street, the heart of Chinatown, Broadway and Kearny, where more movie scenes have been filmed than any other crossroads in San Francisco, and Haight-Ashbury. The intersection at 3rd , Kearny, and Market Streets holds its place in history and photography along with Market and Powell, and Market and the Embarcadero where the Ferry Building is as being THE place on Market Street to meet up with someone.
The most historic thing about this intersection is Lotta’s Fountain, seen here around 1909: Survivors of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire met at this fountain every April 18th, the anniversary of the disaster, for over one hundred years!
Lotta’s Fountain from across Market Street at 3rd in 1956: The fountain was extended in height in 1916. Behind Lotta’s Fountain is the old Chronicle Building. The two photos are were taken from where the old Call Building is. Just across 3rd from here is the Hearst Building. The Chronicle, Examiner, and Call Bulletin newspapers printed here once led to this corner being known as “Newspaper row”.
Looking east on Market Street toward the Hobart Building in the 1940’s from a photo from the Cushman Collection at the Indiana State University:
I can’t find too much information about this tower shown in a photo from OpenSFHistory. It was known as the Liberty Tower and stood six stories high. Erected in 1918, it blocked out the view of Lotta’s Fountain from here. It may have even been erected over Lotta’s Fountain, I’m not sure. The clock at the top didn’t show the time, but showed the number of millions raised in contributions toward helping America’s involvement during World War One. There is a little piece written about it in Glen David Gold’s fictional book about the life of Charlie Chaplin called ‘Sunnyside’.
Another one of my favorite San Francisco pictures: It was taken before the 1906 Earthquake and has so much going on in it; from the family hand in hand stepping up to the sidewalk, to the cop bawling out the pretty girl, or giving her directions, or just flirting with her. I hope he was doing all three! In 1999 Lotta’s Fountain was restored, lowered back to its original height, and moved back to the fountain’s original location where it was dedicated in 1875.