Photoshopping in the City (For Kendrick)

Photoshopped then and now images are fun to look at, but I don’t post many because I’ve always felt that for the novelty of the images you give up a lot of the frame of both pictures to get a good overlap. Besides that, they’re also a lot harder to do! Still, they can make an interesting comparison. Here’s a few from some of my pictures I’ve previously posted.

PSCableuseThe Powell Street Cable Car Line: Pretty girls are pretty girls no matter what century.

PSCtownuse Chinatown in the 1940’s:

PSGGBuseThe Golden Gate Bridge Promenade in the 1940’s:

MLaneuseMaiden Lane in the 1950’s:

PSClipperuseClipper Cove at Treasure Island: When I took the recent picture of the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge the old cantilever bridge hadn’t been demolished yet.

PSGGBtwouseThe Golden Gate Bridge in 1940:

Ferrybridgetrainredo When trains and streetcars roared under the Ferry Building Pedestrian Bridge

PSMaritimeuseBathing Beauties at Aquatic Park in 1939:

PSDannyuseDanny and I at Ocean Beach, I think it was around 1898. I’m a lot older than I look!

Pit Stops (For Kim and Nate)

These are then and nows at places where I’ll often stop for breakfast, lunch or sometimes dinner when I’m out in the field working on a post.

PitTadsuse I like the breakfasts at Tad’s Steakhouse on Powell Street just north of Ellis and often get an early start on the day there when get off at the Powell Street BART Station. The vintage picture from was taken roughly at the same area looking back toward the Flood Building during the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.

PitPowelluseIt wasn’t a hangout of mine, but just up from Tad’s in the green building in the center was the world famous ‘Omar Khayyam’s’ Restaurant. The vintage picture from was taken in the early 1950’s. The restaurant was destroyed by a fire in the 1980’s.

PitRoxanneoneusePitRoxannetwouseThe top two pictures were taken at the southeast corner of Powell and Bush Streets. Right on this corner, just up from Union Square is Roxanne’s Café. They not only serve good breakfasts, but I often take advantage of their spaghetti and meat balls when I’m in the area. It’s nice to watch the cable cars clanging up and down Nob Hill while I’m having lunch there. The bottom photo is from my usual table when I stop there. The vintage picture from was taken in 1958.

PitSutteruseSometimes, I’m only in the mood for a fistful of French fries in one hand and some chicken nuggets in the other. I usually stop in at the McDonald’s here on Sutter Street between Stockton and Powell when that urge hits me. It’s often crowded, but there’s seating upstairs, and sometimes it’s all I’ll need to make it to dinner. The Sir Francis Drake Hotel is on the corner at the right. The vintage picture from was taken in October of 1948.

PitAliotosuseI used to go to #9 Fishermen’s Grotto for lunch when I was at the Wharf, but when they closed down for so long because of a change in ownership. I started going regularly to Alioto’s; either way you’ll do okay. The Grotto has recently reopened, but I haven’t checked it out yet. (Vintage photo from

PitGinsberguseIt was sad to drive by Mason and Bay Streets on Christmas Day and learn that they finally tore down the old Ginsberg’s Pub. What fun we had there during the 1980’s and 1990’s! In fact, I was in there at 5:04 PM on October 17th 1989. A buddy named Mike and I drove through the old Cypress Structure, crossed the Bay Bridge and headed to Candlestick Park to try to buy tickets from scalpers for the third game of the 1989 World Series. As I remember the lowest price was $300.00 dollars each, which was more than we had at the time. So, we headed for Ginsberg’s Pub. We had just settled in with a hot dog and pitcher of beer when the Loma Prieta Earthquake struck. I went outside of the pub after the shaking stopped and the first thing I saw was a dog running in panic north on Mason Street. Then I looked around at the eerie stillness at twilight of San Francisco with all of the power out. After that, was one of the longest nights of my life trying to leave San Francisco. All of the bridges were closed, I was out of gas, and San Francisco had no electricity. I’ll always think about that night when I pass this corner. I took the top photo on October 17th 2009 after Ginsberg’s had closed.

PitbowlingusePitPresidiouseAnother “quick fix” place I enjoy is the Presidio Bowling Alley. They serve a pretty good hamburger and a ton of fries at the grill there, and healthy stuff too! The bowling alley sits at the southern end of the parade ground of the old historic Montgomery Barracks. I took the top photo looking toward the barracks in December of 2009. That black Mitsubishi pick up truck is mine. It has close to 220,000 miles on it to date and I still drive it. I had a chance to talk with two more nice people here when I took the current picture, Kim and Nate, who work at the Presidio. It was great to listen to them talk about some of the history of the Presidio as well as some of the future plans for the historic army base.

PitLouisredouseI enjoy the area of the Cliff House Restaurant and I go there as often as I can. Although I love the Cliff House, more often I’ll have breakfast or a burger at the Louis’ Restaurant just up Point Lobos Road from the Cliff House. The views of the Pacific Ocean and the old Sutro Bathhouse ruins are just as good as you can get from the more famous restaurant. The vintage photo was taken in 1966 the day that Sutro’s burned down.

‘Death and Taxes’


Although, for about the third year in a row the Internal Revenue Service has found a way to postpone the second part of that famous axiom, temporarily. The latest update is that the IRS will not process any tax returns until January 29th 2018. That gives me a little time to catch up on my reading. While perusing through  Don Herron’s excellent book ‘The Literary World of San Francisco and its Environs’, I learned about a series of mysteries written by David Dodge from 1941 until 1946 featuring an income tax accountant named Jim “Whit” Whitney. In the first book, ‘Death and Taxes’ written in 1941, Whit and his partner of their accounting firm, George MacLeod, are promised a large bonus if they can gather information concerning an overpayment of taxes four years earlier by a murdered bootlegger, and file an amended return for a  refund for overpaid taxes due to the estate. Apparently, people had four years to amend tax returns in 1941, unlike the three years allowed today. After MacLeod is murdered in the 4th Chapter, Whitney becomes a clay pigeon for the murderer himself as he races around San Francisco and other Bay area locations to solve the murder, and also to collect the information he needs to amend the original return for the bonus of $50,000.00 that will now be all his. Whit is a likeable fellow, (well, most tax accountants are lovable characters) but he drinks an enormous amount of booze throughout the book. If I drank as much as Whit does, every one of my clients would be audited! I’ll go through some of the highlights for you without giving away too much information to spoil the ending.

DandTpagesuseThese are two illustrations from the most recent publishing of the book. The top image looks like it may have been from the first edition in 1941. Among the postcards from the back cover is one showing the Bay Bridge. The way the words “where murder, mischief, and menace await you” move across the bridge is prophetic concerning the denouement of the story.

DandTMerchantsuseWhitney and MacLeod worked on the eighth floor of the Merchants Exchange Building on the south east corner of California near Montgomery Street. The building is called “The Farmers Exchange Building” in the series. Built in 1904 and a survivor of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, the Merchant Exchange Building is the tall brown building second from the corner on the right in my photo.  The grey building in front of it is 300 Montgomery Street. This may have also been where their office was because the book often refers to its location as being at “Montgomery and California Streets”. Both pictures were taken near Kearny looking down California Street.

DandTCalifMontuseIn the second book in the series, ‘Shear the Black Sheep’ written in 1942, Whitney catches a cable car at Montgomery and California Streets heading up Nob Hill. He narrates one of the most descriptive accounts of a cable car ride I’ve ever read! (after ‘The Ballad of the Hyde Street Grip’) I don’t know if you can pack a hundred people on a cable car, but it’s nice to think so.

{A cable car was creaking up California Street. Whit stepped off the curb, dodged a delivery truck, broad-jumped a pool of water and caught the car as it rattled by at a steady six miles an hour. The Saturday afternoon exodus from the financial district was in full blast, and he had to squeeze to find standing on the step that ran the length of the open car. A hundred people clinging to the straps, railings and protuberances of a vehicle designed to accommodate forty left not much room for the next man, but Whit was an old cable car rider and managed to get a handhold and both feet planted on the step. By keeping all of his muscles tensed he could hold his head far enough inside the car so that the rain dripping from the edge of the roof hit the back of his coat instead of his face. In that familiar position he hung on as the car crawled up the thirty degree slope of Nob Hill, while the wind played merry hell with his coat-tails.}

The vintage picture was taken where Whit caught the cable car around the same period. (

DandTFirstexituseBack to ‘Death and Taxes’ and more of the story: In one of their trips back across the Bay Bridge from the East Bay in search of clues, Whit and the police exit at the First Street off ramp, now the Fremont Street off ramp.

{The police car turned down the First Street ramp, and its tires sang as the driver pulled it around the curb. At the bottom of the ramp they turned left, crossed Market and started up Front Street.}

In the vintage picture taken by Dorothea Lange you can see the Russ Building, the Standard Building, the Shell Building and Coit Tower, none which can be seen from the exit today.

DanTUnionLeavenuse Whitney is assigned a bodyguard by the police named Larson. After a dinner in North Beach they drive up Union Street to Russian Hill to visit Marian Wolff one of the main characters and suspects in the book. Heading up Union Street they turn left onto Leavenworth. As they park at Marian’s apartment a passing car fires a shot into their car seriously wounding Whitney. The vintage photo is looking west on Union street where they turned left onto Leavenworth taken in 1910. You can see some of the wooden boards on the building with the bay windows in the upper left in the current photo. (

DandT22nduseDandTdrugstoreuseOne of the highlights of the novel is a gunfight involving a car full of bad guys and police in the intersection of 22nd and Mission Streets. Lieutenant Webster in a car with Whitney riding along are tailing a car with suspects as it approaches 22nd along Mission from the north. A third car pulls along side of the car the police are following it enters the intersection. Suddenly, the number one suspect, an airplane pilot named Carpenter is spotted standing in front of a drugstore on the corner of 22nd and Mission by Webster.

{Webster held a gun in his lap and waited for a break. When the Buick was halfway across 22nd he saw the aviator standing in front of the drugstore. He said, “Jesus, it’s Carpenter” kicked open the door of the sedan and jumped into the street.”  “The Buick was opposite the drugstore and as the gunman in the rear seat leaned forward to shoot at Carpenter, the brown touring car speeded up and hit the Buick’s rear bumper. The bullet shattered the drugstore window two feet beyond Carpenter. The aviator pulled a gun from under his arm, fired twice at the Buick, and ducked back around the corner. He was running diagonally across Twenty-Second Street when Webster took careful aim and shot him in the leg.}

A long descriptive gun battle follows in the 22nd and Mission Street intersection between the cops and bad guys leaving smashed up cars and one of the hoodlums dead. The vintage picture from shows traffic heading into the intersection at 22nd Street coming north from Mission in the 1940’s. Another picture at 22nd and Mission Street taken in 1961 shows that there was a drugstore on the corner of the intersection once.

DantTBayBridgeuseThe finale of the book involves a chase between police and the murder (or murderess, I’m not giving anything away) east along the Bay Bridge. That was what I was referring to earlier about the old San Francisco postcard with the words racing across the upper deck of the bridge. They would be heading toward where I’m driving here, but on the left side because the upper deck was two-way traffic in 1941.

DandTCantiliveruseThe chase moves into the old cantilever span of the Bay Bridge heading toward the toll gates on the east side of the bridge. The vintage photo is of the cantilever bridge nearing completion in 1936, and a photo I took from the new eastern span of the bridge when they were demolishing the old section.

DandTtollboothuseThe chase ends at the toll gates on the Oakland side of the bridge. Back then cars paid a toll when they entered the Bay Bridge from Oakland and again when they left the bridge returning to Oakland about where I’m approaching.

{The siren wound up to an ear-splitting shriek. Men moved quickly at the toll-gate and a bar across one of the entrances swung away.” “Whit looked at the narrow passageway between the concrete pillars of the gate and closed his eyes. The siren howled, the car bucked suddenly and they were through. Whit swallowed and opened his eyes again. He looked back to be sure the gate was in one piece.}

I’d better close it off now before I reveal too much, but needless to say Whit ends up celebrating with a lot of highballs and a pretty girl.


Sometimes, I’ll find myself feeling smug about a little piece of San Francisco history that I’ve found all by my lonesome only to discover that covered a story about it long before I did. Their website includes not only some terrific vintage photos from San Francisco’s past, but also fascinating histories that accompany the pictures. These are some then and nows that I did today on some of the interesting pictures from their site.

FoundBridgeuseWe’ll start at the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park and the old stone streetcar bridge that used to span what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, circa 1910. Behind the bridge is the Murphy Windmill. The bridge was anchored into the hill on the left in my photo. Charlie Chaplin filmed a scene driving under this bridge in his 1915 comedy ‘Jitney Elopement’. (Vintage photo, C. R. Collection)

FoundtunneluseThe streetcar line ran along the western side of Golden Gate Park and passed through a tunnel under what is now John F. Kennedy Drive. The vintage photo is looking north toward the tunnel from the tracks in 1903. To the left can be seen the Dutch Windmill at the northwest side of the park. The buildings on the right side of the tracks are gone now. You have to get closer to see the tunnel from where the tracks ran today, as in my middle picture. The third picture at the bottom is looking back along where the streetcar line ran. (Vintage photo, C. R. Collection)

FoundGHighwayuseHey, those are two-built-for-bicycles! They were riding along the sand barrier between Ocean Beach and the Great Highway in 1955 just down from the Cliff House.

FoundFillmoreuseThis picture is looking north down Fillmore Street from Broadway in 1903. It’s still a breathtaking view today. (Vintage photo, C. R. Collection)

FoundMutinyoneuseOne of the historical essays on is about a sit-down demonstration by military prisoners in the Presidio stockade during October of 1968 that became known as the “Presidio Mutiny”. After a suicide-by-armed-guard by one of the prisoners that was classified as being justified, twenty seven of the stockade prisoners participated in a peaceful demonstration outside of the stockade. FoundSF points out that many of the prisoners were misfits who should never have been in the army, but their treatment by the guards was undoubtedly brutal. Here, one of the prisoners reads a list of their demands. Behind him is the old Fort Winfield Scott, seen from the stockade today in my picture. (Vintage photos, Steve Rees)

FoundMutinytwouseThe vintage photo here is of the prisoners being given orders to end their demonstration. This is the spot where the “Presidio Mutiny” took place. Three things can be seen in both pictures; the stairs, the Golden Gate Bridge, and the stockade building on the right.

FoundmutinythreeuseIn the end the prisoners were dragged back to the cells by other army soldiers. Some were given additional prison sentences ranging from six months to sixteen years. Over a year later their convictions were overturned and their sentences reduced to time served.

FoundstockadeuseThe Presidio stockade today, building 1213, empty and spooky to walk around:

Keeping in practice

We’re heading into tax season, 2018 now and getting everything set up and running is cutting into my picture taking time. Although the IRS might find it hard to believe, blogging is a lot more fun for me than preparing income tax returns. Anyway, I’ll still be posting updates as often as I can during the tax season. These are just a few throwaways to keep in practice.

WyattActress Jane Wyatt pitches in on construction work for the Golden Gate Bridge in a publicity photo from 1937. She did a good job! (Pinterest)

PracticeTeaGarden1966The main entrance to the Japanese Tea Garden from inside the attraction in March of 1966: (SF Gate, SF Chronicle)

PracticesprecklesuseThey still sail boats at Spreckles Lake in Golden Gate Park like they did in the 1930’s, but most of the boats aren’t as well crafted as those in a vintage picture from the Shorpy Collection.They’ve smoothed out the shoreline of the lake now, but I think it looked more natural before.

PracticeClement25thuseStefanie Powers has fallen right into Ross Martin’s trap as she races down 25th Ave. toward Clement Street in the Richmond District in the 1962 thriller ‘Experiment in Terror’. Powers believes that her sister played by Lee Remick has been hurt. When she nears Clement Street Martin kidnaps her.

PracticeNovakuse Kim Novak taking a break during filming of the Fort Point attempted suicide scene from the 1958 film ‘Vertigo’. One used to be able to get to the exact spot where the scene with Kim Novak jumping into the Bay was, however, since 9/11 the Golden Gate National Recreation Area doesn’t let visitors get that close to the Golden Gate Bridge anymore. (

Welcome, 2018

Nothing like a nice cold jump in the Bay on New Year’s Day to greet the brand new year. Well, I’m not going to do that, but I’ll start the calendar out with some more of the pictures I took over the Holidays.

2018VermontuseWe’ll start out at the crookedest of crookedest streets in the world, Vermont Street on Potrero Hill. This street has tighter turns than the more famous Lombard Street on Russian Hill. I drove down Vermont for the first time Christmas day and you do have to drive slower than when on Lombard. The vintage picture is by photographer Fred Lyon.

2018TillmanuseTillman Place, off Grant Avenue circa 1925: I’ll bet I’ve walked past this alley a hundred times and never paid attention to it. It’s interesting how they had crate-like stands in the vintage picture and fence-like stands today. (

2018CablecaruseYoung ladies hopping on a cable car in the 1930’s and these days: The hair styles and color may be a little different.

2018Moonbridgeuse The Moon Bridge in the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park, probably near when the attraction opened in 1894: Three of those four Victorian ladies were really pretty! Well, let’s face it, the one on the right wasn’t. She’s like one of those blind dates you get when friends describe your date as “She (or he) is really nice!”

2018teagardenuseSpeaking of the Japanese Tea Garden, here are a couple of ladies from the 1920’s in front of the old and now closed off entrance to the attraction in a photo from the Shorpy Photo Archive. I could easily spend time doing nothing but then and nows on the terrific pictures from the Shorpy collection!

2018deyounguseAn photo of the old de Young Museum taken from the California Academy of Science circa 1954: I could easily spend time doing nothing but then and nows on the terrific pictures from the collection! Oh, wait, I already said that about the Shorpy Archive in the previous picture. The statue the two pictures were taken behind is of Robert Emmet, an Irish patriot executed in Dublin in 1803.

2018FilmoreBroadwayuseHere’s another picture from the Shorpy Archives on Broadway near Fillmore Street. What intrigues me about the vintage picture most is how would the two cars in the middle have gotten out if the cars behind them didn’t leave first?

2018SFranciscouseOn a more solemn note, at Lands End near the Cliff House is the shell blasted part of bridge of the cruiser the USS San Francisco. In November of 1942 during a naval battle at Guadalcanal, Rear Admiral Daniel Callaghan and 76 other officers and sailors were killed aboard the San Francisco by shelling from ships of the Japanese naval force. The USS San Francisco made it back to port for repairs and the wings of the damaged bridge are now part of the memorial at Lands End. They point directly toward Guadalcanal. The vintage picture from the San Francisco Chronicle is of a ceremony at the memorial in 1956. You can see holes from shell damage to the bridge to the left of the flagpole in my photo.

2018memorialuse Here’s the story about the USS San Francisco on a marker at the site.