Dong Kingman was a Chinese American artist who first gained recognition as a Works Progress Administration painter during the 1930’s. Wikipedia writes of him as “one of America’s leading watercolor masters.” In 1967, “Kingman”, as he preferred to be called, co-created a book about San Francisco along with columnist Herb Caen entitled ‘San Francisco – City on Golden Hills’. In the preface Caen writes, “It is entirely appropriate that Don Kingman should be my collaborator on this book, for San Francisco – the city of his heart and mine – has been spiced and enriched by the strong flavor of China ever since it came of age as a world metropolis.” The text by Herb Caen is accompanied by paintings from Dong of a modern San Francisco, many that now seem nostalgic. Dong Kingman died in May of 2000. These are then and nows of some of his paintings from the book.
California Street, looking down toward Chinatown and Old St. Mary’s Church before the skyscraper boom of the late 1960’s:
Maiden Lane, looking toward Stockton Street and the St. Francis Hotel: Dong has the Dewey Monument in Union Square a little closer to the south side of Maiden Lane than reality, but that’s art.
Market Street at the Embarcadero across from the Ferry Building looking south: Some of the structures in the background are the Bay Bridge, the Embarcadero Freeway, and the YMCA Building. The block of buildings where the Ensign Café was at were demolished at the end of the 60’s.
You can see the Ensign Café in a scene from the 1957 film ‘Pal Joey’ where Frank Sinatra dodges from the police across the street at the Ferry Building.
Candlestick Park before it was enclosed in 1971 to accommodate the San Francisco 49ers football team moving in:
Another view of Candlestick Park from the hill behind it taken during the year it was demolished in 2015. Ah, what fun we had at that place, family and friends!
When you stand on Hyde Street between Chestnut and Bay Streets looking toward the Bay and Alcatraz Island, you’re looking at one of the most beautiful views in San Francisco.
Ocean Beach at the Great Highway, looking toward the Cliff House and the long gone Playland-at-the-Beach: Playland was where the condominiums on the tight are today.
The eastern side of the now remodeled Broadway Tunnel on the edge of Chinatown: That’s a Mason Street cable car, a line that still exists, passing by on the right in Kingman’s painting.