If you think traffic and crowds are bad in San Francisco today, look at some of these wonderful old pictures from SFGate and OpenSFHistory.org.
Fifth and Market Street in early January, 1945: They were probably returning all of those unwanted Christmas gifts, like that ugly sweater with the hearts on it from grandma. (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)
Hmmm, this must be Fourth and Market! Actually, the curved windows of the old Pacific Building on the right, built in 1907, would give it away, anyway. The vintage picture was taken on Christmas Eve, 1945. The girl on the far left doesn’t look like she’s in a very festive mood. (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)
Looking east on Market Street from Fourth in April of 1960: The old State Theater on the right was getting ready for a visit from St. Francis, the patron saint of San Francisco. That must have been a special show! (OpenSFHistory.org)
Looking west on Ellis Street between Powell and Stockton in the 1940’s: The historic John’s Grill is on the left in both photos. Opened in 1908 at this spot, the restaurant will be forever connected to Sam Spade and the Maltese Falcon because of a line from Dashiell Hammett’s book.
“Sam went to John’s Grill and asked the waiter to hurry his order of chops, baked potato, and sliced tomatoes.” (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)
Sutter Street looking west from Powell in the 1940’s:
Hey, buddy, you’re in the street!”
That’s what they yelled at me too! (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)
Bush Street at Grant Avenue as it crosses over the Stockton Tunnel in the 1940’s: This spot is mentioned in the ‘Maltese Falcon’ as well.
“Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill into Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxi.” (SFGate San Francisco Chronicle images)
A Parade on Montgomery Street just north of Sutter in April of 1960 welcoming Charles de Gaulle: “Viva la France!” (OpenSFHistory.org)
Kearny and Market Streets, 1910:
“Goodness, Officer! It certainly is crowded today!”
“Lady, if you think this is crowded, wait until you see it a hundred and seven years from now!” (OpenSFHistory.org)