Out Taraval way (For Susana)

My brief visit to Taraval Street last Saturday got me interested in exploring the area a little more. I headed back out there today on the old L Line through the Twin Peaks Tunnel, now known as the Metro L Line.

Taraval24eastuse 24th Avenue and Taraval Street looking east in 1962:


TravalLincolnHighuse What high school girls looked like in 1943 at the old Lincoln High School on 24th Avenue:


Taraval24thwestuse Taraval Street and 24th Avenue looking west in 1949: The old L Line survives.



THE place to see movies on Taraval Street was the old Parkside Theater near 19th Avenue. Although the theater building is still there, (the gray building in the center) it’s now the Parkside Preschool and Kindergarten. Below is the Parkside Theater summer schedule for 1962. (Joseph McInerney Collection)

Blissfully unaware

A lot of things happened in San Francisco yesterday and today. There was a power outage due to a fire that left nearly 90,000 people without electricity on Friday. Some people were stuck elevators! A hiker was stranded on the cliffs of Lands End on Friday, and had to be rescued by helicopter. Actually, I was behind the Cliff House near that area at the time and saw the helicopter hovering around where I was at, but I thought it was just somebody watching me! On Saturday, tens of thousand of people marched down Market Street to celebrate Earth Day. However, I was out at the ocean on both days, and I was “blissfully unaware” of the events until I got home.

BlissYBuenaTunneluse Coming and going, the east and west side of Yerba Buena Tunnel: Traffic was a lot lighter on the bridge when they took the old picture.

BlissLodgeuse Headed out to the ocean through Golden Gate Park past the McLaren Lodge:

Blisswoodsuse I’m taking “the road not taken” in Golden Gate Park. It looks like there was a lot of storm damage in this part of the park!

BlissPointLobosuse Rounding Point Lobos I was lucky to find a parking spot at the beach. Once again had the same idea that several million other people had! (OpenSFHistory.org)

BlissSRocks1use The tide behind the Cliff House was as low as I’ve ever seen it!

BlissSRocks2use The old photo is how it usually looks at Seal Rocks, but yesterday I was able to get as close to Seal Rocks as I’ve ever been, maybe about a hundred feet! I hope they aren’t radioactive like the Farallon Islands are supposed to be!

BlissChouseuse.jpg You don’t get a chance to walk completely around the Cliff House that often.

Blisspooluse Saturday I spent time mostly around the southwest side of town. There’s a lot of interesting things to enjoy around there; the Urbano Sundial, Fort Funston, and the San Francisco Zoo to mention a few. What was once the largest swimming pool in the world is now buried beneath the San Francisco Zoo Parking lot.

BlissTaravaluse The most commercial street in the lower Sunset District is Taraval Street but I don’t get over there too often, and it has its own flavor. This is looking east at Taraval and 21st Avenue. (Vintage photo from the Jack Tillmany Collection)

The 49 Mile Scenic Drive


Who says that you can’t see all of San Francisco in one day? In 1938 the Downtown Association of San Francisco established the 49 Mile Scenic Drive. The drive still exists today although it varies in several locations from the original route. Above, is a 1939 map of the Scenic Drive from Elizabeth Gray Potter’s book ‘The San Francisco Skyline’. Let’s take a drive along the forty nine miles and I’ll point out where the route differs today.

49CityHalluse The old map starts a City Hall and that’s where we’ll start. Here, victorious army soldiers march along Grove Street past Larkin at the end of World War Two. The Owl Drug Store building on the right in the vintage photo is now where the San Francisco Main Library is. The old route heads north on Van Ness turning east on Post, but today the drive heads along Larkin Street turning west at Geary Blvd. to Japantown before heading back east along Post.

49PostStuse We’re traveling east along Post St. past Union Square. At Post and Stockton there was a military display in 1943.

49Montgomeryuse We’ll turn north on Montgomery Street and then double back into Chinatown. Here, we’re at Montgomery Street, the “Wall Street of the West”.

49Chinatownuse We travel awhile through Chinatown, seen here at Pine Street and Grant Avenue, but the old route doesn’t appear to climb up Nob Hill after leaving Chinatown as it does today.

lombardbuiltuse Next, we visit Lombard Street, the “Crookedest Street in the World”

49Coituse Both then and today, the 49 Mile Scenic drive heads up to Coit Tower. The top photo is from a 1960’s postcard. Either the trees have grown bigger or Coit tower has gotten smaller!

49FWharfuse We continue north for a stop at Fisherman’s Wharf, the busiest tourist attraction in California after Disneyland. (They spelled it wrong!)

49Janisuse Now the drive route heads west past the Marina and enters into the Presidio at the Palace of Fine Arts Building, the only survivor of the Panama Pacific International Exposition of 1915. It’s a long drive so we’ll stop and rest here with Janis for a moment.

49GGBridgeuse On to the Golden Gate Bridge! The top image above is from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film ‘Vertigo’. Kim Novac throws a bouquet of flowers into the Bay before jumping in herself only to be rescued by Jimmy Stewart. This is as close at you can get to the spot today since 9/11.

BakerBeachredo The Scenic Drive skirts Baker Beach seen here in a vintage picture of a wounded soldier with a child after World War Two.

49Legionuse We’ll continue west through Lincoln Park past the Palace of the Legion of Honor.

49CHouse Along Point Lobos Drive we turn south at the Cliff House and head down to the Great Highway.

Playlandredo Playland-at-the-Beach was apparently still referred to as Chutes at the Beach in 1939. The early 1970’s picture from the San Francisco Chronicle shows children at the Funhouse shortly before Playland was demolished. The Funhouse was where the building with the Wise signs on it is today. Scenes from the 1948 move ‘The Lady from Shanghai’ starring Orson Welles and Rita Hayworth were filmed here.

49GHighwayuse We’re traveling down the Great Highway now along with Charlie Chaplin in his 1915 movie ‘Jitney Elopement’ Here, Charlie backs into the car of a villain pursuing him on an unpaved Great Highway. Here’s the spot today.

49FPooluse Both the 1939 route and today’s travel past where the old Fleishhacker’s Pool, the largest swimming pool in the world when it was built, once existed. That’s my seventeen year old mom on the left swimming with her cousin Frances in the pool during a visit from North Dakota in 1939, the same year as the old Scenic Drive Map. Fleishhacker’s Pool closed in 1971 and was filled in. It is now under the parking lot of the San Francisco Zoo. They spelled Fleishhacker’s wrong on the old tour map too. Oh, well, nobody’s perfect! “Tell us about it, Tim.”

49dueluse As we circle around Lake Merced we’ll travel past the spot where the last duel in California took place in 1859. Senator Broderick came up with the short end of the stick. The concrete markers are where the two men stood before firing.

49Sunsetuse After Lake Merced the 49 Mile Scenic drive heads north along Sunset Blvd. to Golden Gate Park. Let’s stop for a breathtaking view of the Sunset District at Quintara and 15th. The vintage tinted photo is from Bill Yenne’s terrific collection of then and now San Francisco pictures.

49DeYounguse The 49 mile drive enters Golden Gate Park and passes many of the park’s attractions including the De Young Museum seen here in the old photo with my mom on the right during her 1939 visit. The old museum building was demolished and rebuilt and this is entrance to the De Young Museum today.

4919thAveuse The first major variation from the 1939 Scenic Drive is in leaving Golden Gate Park. Back then the drive exited the park at 19th Ave. going south to Sloat Blvd. then follows Portola Drive to Twin Peaks. In the vintage picture an unfortunate driver is getting a ticket in front of the original Shriner Hospital Building on 19th Ave. I wonder how much it cost him. Today’s Scenic Drive exits the Park at Stanyan traveling past the Haight-Ashbury area then follows 7th Ave. to Portola Drive and up to Twin Peaks. Lovely Stern Grove is forgotten.

49TwinPeaksuse The view from Twin Peaks, one of the best shows in the house, during the 1950’s and today:

49MDoloresuse After leaving Twin Peaks, the tour drive follows basically the same route to Mission Dolores, seen in the top picture in Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’.

49DoloresParkuse After Mission Dolores none of the original route is used today. The Scenic Drive travels past Dolores Park to Cesar Chavez Street to Highway 280, passes AT&T Park and the Ferry Building, and then doubles back to City Hall by way of Howard Street completely bypassing Market Street. In the top photo from Hannah Clayborn’s collection Roman Rodriguez, sitting on the lawn, reconstructs his murder of 16 year old Hilda Pagan to the police at Dolores Park in 1952. I can’t get much information on this murder today and I wonder who the lady with her hands to her face was? I hope it wasn’t Hilda’s mother. A top portion was added to the small building they sat at, and it was a restroom and snack bar when I took my photo several years ago. It was demolished during the 2015 remodeling of Dolores.

49MarketStuse Back to the 1939 route: We’re on Market Street, near the Palace Hotel. The top picture is from the famous 1906 film ‘A Trip Down Market Street’. A portion of the old Palace Hotel, destroyed during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, can be seen on the right in the film photo.

49Terminaluse The 1939 route bypasses the Ferry Building, (How rude was that?) for the more traveled by that time Trans Bay Terminal. The top pictures are of a bus leaving inside the terminal in a scene from the 1973 film ‘The Laughing Policeman’ and a bus leaving the terminal on the day the building closed in August of 2010.

49BBridgeuse From here we’re on our way to the Fair across the Bay Bridge, seen in the opening shot of the Humphrey Bogart movie ‘The Maltese Falcon’.

49Tislanduse We’ll end up at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. The top picture is from a short color film entitled ‘The Cavalcade of San Francisco’ narrated by James Fitxpatrick. That was a long drive, I’m tired!

49milemaptoday I’ll close with a photo of today’s 49 Mile Scenic Drive for comparison.

I wasn’t the only person with that idea! (For Ken on the Hyde and Lombard corner)

I thought that I’d sneak over to the City today to enjoy the beautiful weather, but I wasn’t the only one with that impulse; it was crowded from one side of town to the other! Still, just for today, I was able to enjoy this crowd instead of the ones that visit the office.

IdeaLombardUse It might have been nice to have Lombard Street all to myself like in the 1957 photo at the top, but this is one spot where crowds make it more fun; unless, of course, you live on Lombard. (opensfhistory.org)

IdeaFillmoreuse Fillmore Street above Vallejo Street when cable cars climbed the hill:

IdeaWindmilluse.jpg The old Dutch Windmill at the northwest corner of Golden Gate Park: It’s a lot tidier here today.

Ideatunneluse I’ve covered in previous posts the old stone bridge at the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park where streetcars crossed over, but on the northwest corner across the park from where the stone bridge once stood there can still be found a little known tunnel that the trains passed through as they made their way across the western side of the park. (opensfhistory.org)

IdeaBroadwayuse “Been there, done that!” At the top is a slide picture that I took in 1983 looking down Broadway from Russian Hill and the same spot today. It’s weird how little this view has changed!