More Wharf wandering

I read somewhere that Fisherman’s Wharf is the second largest tourist attraction in California after Disneyland, and I believe it. During the summer, you often can’t tell the difference by crowd size of either. But winter is closing in and Fisherman’s Wharf has quieted down a little. ‘I Wonder as I Wander’; that’s an old Christian folk song from the 1930’s, popular around Christmastime. I had the song stuck in my head as I was taking these pictures. I sometimes wonder as I wander around San Francisco too, although not always with religious bewilderment, like the person in the song. Today, I was wondering what makes Fisherman’s Wharf so special, and it is special. True, the views of the Bay from certain spots here are stunning, but I doubt if most of the tourists ever see them. Sometimes it seems that the majority of the crowd accepts an hour or two of overpriced parking just to linger around the north end of Taylor Street past Jefferson. That’s okay too, it’s good for business. Me, I usually like to wander around where the bilge rats (the real ones) take their shore leave. Sometimes, it’s kind of  fun to explore the back areas of Fisherman’s Wharf and pretend that you’re a scalawag just off of a ship looking for an opium den, or something like that. However, most vintage pictures were taken at the tourist spots, like the pictures in this set, and they’re fun to visit too.

WharfTayloruseTaylor Street, looking south toward Nob Hill from Jefferson Street: I couldn’t get a date of this picture from skyscrapercity.com, but it looks like the mid to late 1950’s: Notice the Standard Station on the left in the vintage picture. There was a gasoline station on the northeast corner of Jefferson and Taylor Streets from the 1930’s until the mid 1970’s. Originally it was designed to look like a ship, as you’ll see in the next picture.

WharfstationuseThis was a photo I took a few years ago looking northeast across Taylor Street toward where the SS Fill ‘Er Up, or whatever it was called in the 1930’s, once was. By the mid 1960’s the station was remodeled into a more modern and less interesting look.

WharfredandwhiteuseDon’t let the locals fool you; the Red and White Tour Boats are not just for tourists.  Like the Blue and Gold fleet, they are a relaxing boat ride with beautiful views of San Francisco that anybody can enjoy. Here’s a boatload of people getting ready to sail in 1950. (redandwhite.com)

WharfRWticketuseThe old ticket office for the Red and White tours in 1940:  (redandwhite.com)

WharflagoonuseFisherman’s Wharf Boat Lagoon in 1940: This is not only my favorite from the Charles Cushman Collection, but it’s also one of my favorite San Francisco pictures.

WharfGrottouse In 1935, Fishermen’s Grotto Restaurant at Stall Number 9 opened up on Jefferson Street. This view is at the front of the old restaurant looking toward Pier 45 in the 1930’s. (Gene Gallagher Photos)

WharfKinkadeuseJefferson Street looking west from Taylor Street: Life is not a Thomas Kinkade painting, unfortunately.

WharfeatsuseThis view has changed little since 1958 in this picture from opensfhistory.org, and I think it’s a fitting photo. Possibly, most people do come to Fisherman’s Wharf for the food.

 

Back to the real world

Every once in a while I have to go down to Disneyland and pretend that this is what life is all about. Oh, well, for a couple of days this IS what life is all about! These are some Disneyland attractions from the opening day of July 17th 1955 that are still around:

DisnSWhiteuseSnow White and Her Adventures in Fantasyland, only now it’s Snow White’s Scary Adventures: (Pinterest)

DisnMTwainuse The Mark Twain Steamboat in Frontierland: (Flickr)

DisnSbookuseThe Storybook Land Canal Boats in Fantasyland: (Pinterest)

Autopiaredo Danny Kaye clowning around on the Autopia in Tomorrowland: The Autopia looks more like the Los Angeles Freeway now! (Disney Parks Blog)

DisnMToaduseTwo original survivors in Fantasyland; The King Arthur Carrousel on the right, and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on the left: (Disney Parks Blog)

DisnTrainuseThe Disneyland Railroad, here at the Main Street Station: (Timeout)

Disn2018useThe Main Street Cinema: (Cinematreasures.org)

DisnTCupsuseThe Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland: That’s Vice President Richard Nixon in the center of the vintage picture. The Chicken-of-the-Sea Pirate Ship in the background is gone now.

DisnCastleuseSleeping Beauty Castle: They decorated it really cool for the Christmas Season. That’s the Matterhorn in the background. (Laughing Place)

 

 

 

A few more vintage memories from the Chronicle

I’ve subscribed to the San Francisco on and off since college. Now I’m down to only the Sunday edition from the supermarket I stop at, but occasionally I still subscribe to it on a daily basis. It never was the same after Herb Caen died, but what really bothered me was when the replaced ‘Blondie’ from the top spot in the Sunday comics with ‘Doonesbury’! Still, it’s the best newspaper available for articles on San Francisco history, and their vintage pictures of San Francisco are among the finest. Many of them can be seen at the website SFChronicle.com/vault, where these vintage photos are posted.

CronUSquareuseMime artists Lorene Yarnell and Robert Shields getting married at the southwest corner of Union Square in October of 1972: Robert Shields did a cameo at Union Square in the opening scenes of the 1974 film ‘The Conversation’ starring Gene Hackman.

CronGroucho1useGroucho Marx clowns around with twin students from Washington High School on Powell Street in front of the St. Francis Hotel in July of 1940. My picture would be about where they were walking; the front façade of the hotel has been remodeled since the 1940 picture. On the right in my photo are hotel workers who have been striking against the St Francis and other hotels in San Francisco for employment benefit upgrades.

CronGroucho3use Groucho Marx, sans mustache and glasses, is obviously enjoying his July of 1940 visit to San Francisco as he climbs a light pole south of the entrance to the St. Francis Hotel.

CronPowelluseThe SANTA CLAUS EXPRESS, pictured in my previous post, arrives at the Powell and Market Street cable car turnaround in late November of 1949.

CronBeatlesuseIn August of 1964 the Beatles stayed on the 15th floor of the newly opened Hilton Hotel on O’Farrell Street, technically in the Tenderloin District. Remodeled since 1964, it’s the largest hotel on the West Coast, according to Wikipedia. In the vintage picture, Beatles fans are waiting across the street from the hotel on the Ellis Street side of the Hilton for the Beatles to arrive from the airport.

SealRocks1943Seal Rocks at Ocean Beach in 1943: I’m sure that Seal Rocks are somewhere in that old picture, but I can’t quite focus in on them!