These are comparison photos of illustrations drawn by Floyd Hildebrand and Edward H. Suydam. Although this post is lighthearted, I would like to mention something; I took my pictures yesterday, November 10th, and many of them appear hazy. That’s not the famous San Francisco fog in my photos, but smoke from the Camp Fire wildfire that as of this posting has taken at least 23 lives and is still not contained.
The first drawings, such as the above one at the Powell Street cable car turnaround, are by Floyd Hildebrand. A client and friend of mine named Joanne Gonzales found a collection of his works sponsored by the California Savings and Loan Company of San Francisco at an estate sale, and she picked them up for me. The California Savings and Loan Association was originally founded in 1887. After several name changes during the 20th and 21st Centuries it ended up as the Pacific National Bank. The bank failed in October of 2009. Floyd Hildebrand died in 1984. These drawings of his are dated from 1961.
California Street, looking down toward Chinatown:
The Fisherman’s Wharf Boat Lagoon:
Commercial Street was one of two streets in San Francisco that ran straight to the Ferry Building, the other being Market Street. In 1971, the eastern portion of Commercial was closed off by construction of the Embarcadero Center, and this is as close to the spot in the drawing as you’ll get today. That’s the Embarcadero Freeway running past the Ferry Building in the sketch.
The northwest corner of California and Montgomery Streets in 1887: Well, I’m sure glad that I got everything else in my picture in focus except the cable car! The gradient of the street on the left in the drawing suggests that it was probably the northeast corner of California and Montgomery Streets looking west and endorsed wrong, but I went with what the artist wrote.
This spot has a special place in my heart. I’m usually alone nowadays when I visit Telegraph Hill, but once on a long ago October night, I sat at this same spot behind Coit Tower looking toward Russian Hill with “a girl with moonlight in her eyes” and we fell in love…… for awhile, anyway. That girl died three years ago and there isn’t a time that I come up here that I don’t think about her. The telescope, concrete circle and stairs weren’t there when we sat here, and the telescope has to be a practical joke, you’re not going to see anything through those trees!
The next group of pictures, including the above illustration of Lotta’s Fountain, were drawn by Edward H. Suydam during the 1930’s. He often picked less known areas in San Francisco that weren’t as popular for his work. Edward H. Suydam died in 1940.
Looking west along McAllister Street where McAllister, Jones and Market Streets meet. The beautiful building with the columns is the Hibernia Bank building, closed for years.
Sacramento Street, looking past the Pacific Union Club toward the Fairmont and Mark Hopkins Hotels:
The Joice Steps off of Pine Street, on the south side of Nob Hill: One day I’ll have to climb those and see what’s up there.
Tillman Place on Grant Avenue just south of Chinatown: This was a bustling little alley once, filled with little shops, but it seems quietly forgotten now.
Chinatown, looking north from Pine Street: I saw a lot of people wearing safety masks in San Francisco yesterday.