The Veterans Memorial Cruise, 2018

It’s a busy weekend in San Francisco, this one is. Today is the Bay to Breakers Race. This evening Kim Novak will be at the Castro Theater for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film ‘Vertigo’ celebrating the 60th anniversary of its release. And yesterday was the Veterans Memorial Cruise aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. The cruise honors veterans living and dead and a wreath laying ceremony is conducted on the voyage each year for some of the veterans lost. Once again I relied on for vintage pictures to compare with some of the photos that I took along the journey.

CruiseopeneruseThere were a surprising number of World War Two veterans on hand and some interesting uniforms.

CruiseauthorsuseThere were also a number of authors who have written books on military subjects autographing their books.

CtuiseRussianHilluseWe departed Pier 45 on a windy but beautiful day. This is Russian Hill in 1955. The street climbing the hill in the center of both pictures is Hyde Street.

Thill1927redo We sailed around Telegraph Hill, seen in 1927 without Coit Tower.

Cruise1968useWe’re approaching the Ferry Building, seen in 1968. That’s the Bank of America Building going up in the old photo.  There was no Hyatt Regency and no Embarcadero Center yet. The Bank of America Building, not the “king of the hill” anymore, can be seen on the right along with the Alcoa Building in my picture.

CruiseFBuilding1906useWe’re lined up with the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street seen in 1906 with scaffolding around the tower to repair damage from the earthquake.

CruiseBBridgetoweruseWe’ve sailed under the Bay Bridge and you’re looking at the western most tower of the bridge being erected in the 1930’s. The old Hills Brothers Coffee Factory can be seen in both pictures.

CruiseAT&TParkuseNow we’re at the China Basin, now called McCovey Cove after the San Francisco Giants slugger. The vintage picture is circa 1922. Just behind that ship is where AT&T Park is now. The baseball park was quiet and empty when we sailed past, but it was crowded and loud later in the evening when the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9 to 4.

CruisePotreroHilluseNow we’re cruising past Potrero Hill. The gas and water towers are gone now, but the smokestack from the old Potrero Generating Station is still there.

CruiseceremonyuseWhen we reached Hunters Point a moving wreath laying ceremony was held. I noticed that none of the ships or boats on our horizon were moving as well, so I wondered if they were respecting the ceremony also. However, an old salt on the Jeremiah O’Brien said that they were just waiting to be guided into port by a port harbor boat. I don’t know about that though, the little boat among them didn’t need guiding in!

Cruiseferryboatredo We headed back to town by a different and interesting route. It was time to relax, like these ladies on a ferry boat were doing in 1954, and enjoy some of the free coffee, donuts, hot dogs, and beer.

CruiseEastspanuseOur return trip took us under the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge that replaced the old cantilever span, seen in 1960 in the vintage picture. The Eastern Span opened in 2013.

CruiseEastspantwouseAnd under the bridge we went! That’s the first time I, and probably most of the people on board the Jeremiah O’Brien, had ever done that.

Cruisecloser1964useSo, we headed back to Fisherman’s Wharf, guided in by tug boats. That’s the old sailing ship Balclutha that used to be docked at Pier 43 in the 1964 picture. There was no Bank of America Building, Transamerica Pyramid, or Salesforce Tower back then, and two of the more cherished buildings in the old photo, Coit Tower and Saints Peter and Paul Church, can still be seen.

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