Another “Themeless Thursday” tour. (For Laura F.)

When I have a bunch of pictures that I want to post and I can’t find a connecting theme, I just put them on the blog on a Thursday and declare it Themeless Thursday.

Themless1915useThe Ferry Building in 1915 and in 2015, both years commemorating the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition:

themelesslagoonuseThe Fisherman’s Wharf Lagoon during World War Two: I’m not sure why it was a restricted area by the U.S. Army and I wonder if the photographer was arrested. Also, I didn’t notice that little Minnie Mouse like doll on the pier when I took my picture. Good advertising for the sport fishing company that berths here! (Vintage picture from SF Chronicle)

ThemelessAlamouse“Painted Ladies” and a pretty lady at Alamo Square: The top picture taken after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire is hanging on the wall near the earthquake exhibit at the California Academy of Sciences.

ThemelesstotemuseA Totem pole at the Cliff House in 1983: There’s still a totem pole near this spot, but it doesn’t look like the same one, and when a totem pole has a nicer smile than mine I know it’s time to stop taking selfies.

SkyTramWe’ll stay out at the Cliff House for awhile. This is the old Point Lobos Sky Tram that ran behind the Cliff House and the Sutro Bathhouse from 1955 to 1965. The ruins of the Sutro Bathhouse that burned down in 1966 are on the left. (Vintage picture from SF Chronicle)

ThemelessbridgeuseThe old Rustic Bridge at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park was ERECTED AD 1893, and it’s as peaceful of a setting as you’ll find in San Francisco. A couple of movies have filmed scenes here, “Fatty” Arbuckle’s ‘Wished on Mabel’ in 1915, and ‘Scaramouche’ in 1952.

The Alameda County Fair 2017

The 2017 Alameda County Fair in Pleasanton is underway and I couldn’t be happier! It’s always one of the highlights of summer to me. The Fair kicked off with an old fashioned Texas cattle drive through Downtown Pleasanton. Last fall I visited the Pleasanton Fairgrounds. They were lonely and empty; it was like a ghost town. It’s a lot more fun out here in the summertime.

2017Cattledrive “Git along, lil dawggies.”

2017entranceuse Heading in.

2017midwayuse The Midway: I get dizzy just looking at it!

2017fairkidsredo The kiddie rides: You know, the ones I can handle.

2017fairtreesredo I stood here last fall dying for the smell of an Italian Sausage sandwich!

2017grandleftbloguse  2017grandrightbloguse Two views from the horse racing grandstand.


Went to the county fair and a Giants baseball game broke out! (In reference to the bench clearing brawl between Hunter Strickland of the Giants and Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals on May 29th) The little white one looks like it’s trying to be a mediator.
“Hey, what are you guys doing? You’re friends! Let’s have a beer and forget about this!”

Aquatic Park (For Mom)

AquaticeastuseThe Maritime Museum at Aquatic Park with Ghirardelli Square in the background in 1939: The old and now closed Art Deco restroom and snack bar is on the right. (

AquaticMaritimeuseThe WPA built Maritime Museum opened in 1936 as a casino. Here it’s seen in a picture from 1955. (

AquaticstepsuseThe steps behind the Maritime Museum with the Hyde Street Pier in the background in 1972: (

AquaticBeachuseHyde and Beach Streets in 1971: The Buena Vista Café sign can be partially seen on the right in both photos. (

Aquaticmomuse As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, in 1939 my 17 year old mother took a train from Grand Forks North Dakota to spend the summer with her cousin Frances. Here they are swimming in the Bay behind the Maritime Museum that summer. My mom is the teenager on the left, She also took a picture of “The Rock” that day. There were still some pretty rough characters out on Alcatraz at that time, including Alvin Karpis from “Ma” Barker’s gang, and “Machine Gun” Kelly.

Old St. Mary’s Cathedral

It sits on the northeast corner of what is probably the most photographed intersection in San Francisco, Grant Avenue and California Street in Chinatown. That’s not a bad location! Founded in 1854 in the most ungodly section of San Francisco, the “Cathedral on California Street” is still there today, although the brothels, opium dens, and shanghaiing days of Chinatown are long gone. While I don’t always “Observe the Time and Fly from Evil” when I’m in San Francisco, I stop in at Old St. Mary’s regularly if I’m in the area. It’s a holy and peaceful place to pray or meditate or to just admire the beauty of the church no matter what your denomination or religious beliefs are. It’s also as historical as any location in San Francisco, visited by such notables as Emperor Joshua A. Norton and Madame Chiang Kai-shek.

beforeaftertwo  StMarys1951useFour images of the church: The top photo is Old St. Mary’s before the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The church survived the earthquake in relatively good shape but was gutted by the fire that destroyed most of San Francisco, as seen in the second picture. The third photo is a rebuilt St. Mary’s in 1951 and the way the church looks today is the bottom picture

STMarysCalSTsouthuseLooking down toward Grant Avenue and a burned out St. Mary’s from the south side of California Street: “Old S. F. is a place of the past.” That was probably true; the tong wars and opium cribs of Chinatown were gone, some of the corrupt politicians that ran the town would be forced out of office or put in jail, and Bank of America was founded by a. P. Giannnini. (I used to work for them so I thought I’d throw that in.) Have you spotted the goof up yet? The picture isn’t looking up California Street, but down California Street.

StMarysCalnorthuseA photo from the Old St. Mary’s Church website shows the beginning of the rebuilding of San Francisco from the north side of California Street, although, St. Mary’s is still in ruins.

StMary'sQuincyuseJade Fon was a artist that I learned of when researching for this blog post. He painted a number of images around Chinatown in the 1940’s and 1950’s, but I haven’t learned the date of this painting from the collection I found on Pinterest. Jade took a little artistic license here with his image of St. Mary’s from Quincy Alley that runs past St. Mary’s Square between Pine and California Streets, but that’s okay. You can see Beniamino Bufano’s statue of Sun Yat-sen in St. Mary’s Square on the right in the painting. Only the pedestal of the statue can be seen through the trees from here today.

StMarysSunYetuseThe statue of Sun Yat-sen in 1959 and today:  (Vintage photo by Fred W. Clayton)

StMarysNortonuseOne of San Francisco’s legendary figures, “Emperor” Norton collapsed and died during the period of his “reign” In front of St. Mary’s on the corner of California Street and Grant Avenue, (then called Dupont Street) in 1880.

StMaryspaintinguseA painting of St. Mary’s Church looking up California Street, (this time we are looking up California Street) from 1981:

StMarysWW2useA picture at the west side of St. Mary’s on Grant Avenue taken in 1943 during World War Two from a blog entry I posted in October of 2016:

StMarysinsideuseInside St. Mary’s Cathedral in 1927: I couldn’t get a picture from the balcony because it was locked but it’s still just as impressive from pew level.

“Take the F Line” (For Duke Ellington)

The summer crowds are almost here and soon you won’t get a seat on any of the vintage streetcars that run along Market Street to Fisherman’s Wharf on the Muni F Line. I thought I’d take a ride to the Wharf for lunch today while there’s still sitting room in the cars. The vintage pictures are from No matter what part of San Francisco you’re exploring you’ll find wonderful pictures of that area from a different time on their site.

FLineopeneruseI hopped on the F Line in front of the Ferry Building, but not on this one. Like the cute girl in the old photo, I caught one going in the other direction.

FLineSPuseI waved goodbye to the old Southern Pacific Building as we started off; it may be hours before I return!

FLinePier15useWow, look at all of the people at Pier 15 heading out to Fisherman’s Wharf in September of 1937! It looks like I picked the right year to go there!

FLineBestseatuseI had the best spot in the house standing at the back of the old number 1895 streetcar built in Milan, Italy in 1928.

FLineGrottouseI jumped off at Fisherman’s Wharf, feeling slightly under dressed in my old Giants Jersey as compared to that femme fatale from circa 1960 in the center of the old photo.

FlineLagoonuseAfter taking a pleasant walk around the fishing boat lagoon, I headed into Alioto’s for lunch.

“I’ve almost got the picture lined up, just a little more to your left, lady.”

I think I’m over using that morbid joke. A little chapel for the fishermen is now where the large building at the far right in the 1950’s photo was.

The “Summer of Love”

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the “Summer of Love”. In honor of the occasion, I put on some heart shaped sunglasses and a tie-dye shirt, stuffed a couple of doobies in my pocket, and headed out to Haight-Ashbury today. That’s not true; the only person who looked good in heart shaped sunglasses was George Harrison. Also, I don’t have a tie-dye shirt, and I don’t smoke pot. Like Janis Joplin once said when someone offered her a hit from a joint, “No, thanks, it makes me think.”
These were pictures taken in Haight-Asbury during the “Summer of Love”.

SummerMasonicbloguse We’ll start at Haight Street looking west toward Masonic. (Vintage Everyday)

SummerDrogstorebloguse The northeast corner of Masonic and Haight: Drogstore!!! They were originally called the Drugstore Cafe, but had to change their name over objections to the obvious drug use in the area. (Vintage Everyday) 

Summernapoleonuse The northeast corner of Haight and Ashbury with Napoleon and Josephine: 

SummerHaightasbburybloguse The northwest corner of Haight and Ashbury: (Herb Greene)

Summerkeepoffbloguse 1418 Haight Street: Notice a lack of “Keep off the grass” signs. (Vintage Everyday)

Summerhippiechicksbloguse 1523 Haight Street: Hippie chicks sure were cute, even when they were sitting on the sidewalk stoned out of their minds! (Vintage Everyday) 

Summergrandaughterbloguse 1535 (now 1541) Haight Street: I wonder if that’s her granddaughter? (Vintage Everyday)

  Summercoleshraderuse Haight, between Cole and Schrader: I felt like taking my shoes off when I walked past here. 

SummerHippieHilluse During the Summer of Love George and Pattie Harrison flew to San Francisco (probably via Trans Love Airways). They walked through Haight-Ashbury to Golden Gate Park and sat with a crowd right here on “Hippie Hill”. George borrowed a guitar from one of the people gathered around them and sang a few songs. After a short time, they left, and I don’t know if George Harrison ever returned to San Francisco. The bottom photo is Hippie Hill today.


Fort Mason and the USS Hornet (For Willie of the Hornet crew)

While London and the rest of the world are fighting a new war, I was thinking about an older war this weekend. The scope and enormity of World War Two still staggers me! I once read where an author described it as, “The largest collective human endeavor in the history of mankind” yet most people living today know very little about it. On Saturday and Sunday, I visited a few key places historically involved in what the British call the Second World War.

Hornetopenuse Today, on the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, I visited the aircraft carrier USS Hornet CV-12 in Alameda. CV-12 was commissioned in November of 1943, nearly a year and a half after the battle of Midway, but she saw plenty of action from World War Two through the Viet Nam War. It was also CV-12 that picked up the astronauts Neil Armstrong, “Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins after their historic first trip to the moon in July of 1969. The previous Hornet CV-8 which was at the Battle of Midway was lost in November of 1942. It was at this same spot that Hornet CV-8 sailed out from Alameda with the Doolittle Raiders when they bombed Japan in April of 1942.

Hornetislanduse The command center of the aircraft carrier is called “the island”, seen in the top photo in April of 1945. I was able to take a tour of the island on Sunday.

Hornetaftviewuse World War Two fighter planes on the aft or rear section of the flight deck in 1945 and the aft of the flight deck with San Francisco in the background from the control section of the island:

Hornetforeaftuse A plane lands on the aft of the flight deck during World War Two: Notice another plane in the upper right preparing to land. The bottom picture is the fore or forward section of the flight deck seen from the island.

Masonopenuse Fort Mason from the air during the 1920’s and Fort Mason on Saturday: Fort Mason was a major embarkation point for the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, and the scope of activity that took place here during the war is hard to comprehend. (Vintage photo from

Masonentranceuse The entry gate to Fort Mason in 1953: (

Masontunneluse It was here at the old Fort Mason Train Tunnel that Clint Eastwood encounters three hoods while trying to deliver ransom money in one of my favorite scenes from 1971’s ‘Dirty Harry’. The bottom photo is where Harry entered the tunnel today. There has been much talk about reopening the tunnel for bicyclists or an extension of the F Line of streetcars, but nothing has come about yet.

Masonstoneuse The unveiling of the Fort Mason stone marker in 1925: The wording is different today and I’m not even sure it’s the same stone, but it’s still impressive.


Bestiesbakerstuse Besties in the 1950’s on the Baker Street steps in Pacific Heights:

BestieKearnybloguse An interesting picture showing the filming of a scene with sisters Katrin and Christine Hanson (Barbara Bel Geddes and Peggy McIntyre) walking down Kearny Street on Telegraph Hill for the 1948 movie ‘I Remember Mama’. I’m guessing that the guy looking out the window was just somebody living there at the time. (Vintage photo from Vienna’s Classic Hollywood)

BestiesCHouseuse Victorian besties above the old gingerbread Cliff House:

Bestiesteahouseuse 1940’s besties at the tea house in the Japanese Tea Garden. Period pictures like this are historical today; after Pearl Harbor the name of the Japanese Tea Garden was changed to the Oriental Tea Garden and all Japanese cultural artifacts were removed. The lady waiting on the two “besties” was probably Chinese. The teahouse is still inside the garden today.

BestiestopMarkuse Besties at the Top of the Mark: