Traveling around vintage San Francisco

I suppose I could fall into the category of a pseudo-dilettante. I was watching an old television show recently where a client who’s hiring Peter Gunn to find somebody who ripped him off, refers to the suspect as a “dilettante”. I looked the word up to see if it meant what I thought it did, which is a pseudo-intellect’s way of saying one isn’t sure of the meaning. The dictionary reads a dilettante is a person who takes up an art, activity or subject merely for amusement especially in a desultory way; a dabbler. That could be me pertaining to my picture taking. I wasn’t sure about desultory being accurate, so I looked that up too. The dictionary reads that desultory is lacking a plan, purpose, or enthusiasm. No, that doesn’t fit. My enthusiasm is a driving force when I’m tracking down picture locations, and my purpose is to enjoy myself. So, I looked up pseudo, which came to my mind, to see if I qualify for that slander. (This is all going somewhere, isn’t it?) Pseudo is being apparently rather than actual.  This brings me back to my opening. Today’s entry is a collection of vintage driving and parking pictures around San Francisco, posted by a possible pseudo-dilettante.

dandpmasonuseWe’ll start out on Mason Street next to the Mark Hopkins Hotel in the 1950’s. Parking here doesn’t look like an option in the 1950’s, but I see a couple of spots today that had better be grabbed quickly. (Hemmings.com)

dandpfbuildinguse Parking doesn’t look good here at all on Commercial Street near the Ferry Building in the 1950’s, and it’s impossible today; Commercial Street stops at Battery Street now because of the Embarcadero Center. Commercial was one of only two streets in San Francisco that ran straight to the Ferry Building, the other being Market Street.

dandpchouseuseParking in front of the Cliff House is “catch as catch can” as well, especially on holidays. The vintage picture is from the late 1950’s when the Cliff House was dressed in red. You can see the Sky Tram Cable Ride that ran through the 1950’s and into the 1960’s at the lower left of the vintage photo. (Flickr)

dandpusquareuseUnion Square in the 1960’s: You can drive around there for hours today, and probably back then too, looking for parking if the Union Square Garage is full.

dandpsutteruseOf course, if you get tired of driving around looking for parking, you can always take the bus like these people here are doing at the corner of Montgomery and Sutter Streets in the 1950’s. The two old buildings with the fire escapes on the right are still there. (Vintage Everyday)

octcolgreenuseGreen Street, where it meets Columbus Avenue and Stockton Street in the 1940’s: I took my picture while passing by from a bus on the Number 30 Muni Line coming back from Fisherman’s Wharf last October.

danpcstickuseCandlestick Park and its parking lot in the early 1960’s before it was enclosed to accommodate the 49ers in the 1970’s: My picture is looking across the parking lot toward an empty and lonely Candlestick Park in October of 2014 just before it was demolished. I went out there one last time to say good bye to a place filled with wonderful memories for me going back to childhood; memories of my family, especially my parents, and my friends, and all the wonderful times we had there. I felt as lonely as Candlestick Park on that last visit. (OldMotor.com)

langtonredouseLangton Street near Folsom in the 1970’s: It looks like they give you an extra minute on that Wednesday parking nowadays. That’s the old Empire Hotel Building in the background of the 70’s picture. “ATTENTION VANDALS – IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SHOT STAY AWAY FROM THIS STREET” Well, it appears like there may have been another case of “frontier justice” today in my picture. Another building has been put up next to the wall where they used to shoot vandals. (Janet Delaney)

dandp4thuseMarket Street at Stockton Street in the 1960’s: I got a “in the right place at the right time” on this one; those two old streetcars are almost identical! (Charles Cushman Collection)

 

 

 

 

 

8 thoughts on “Traveling around vintage San Francisco

  • I have not seen Unions Square in many years. It looks as if common date palms were added to replace Canary Island date palms. That is lame. The two should not be mixed. They look similar to each other, but because they do not match, one types makes it look like something is wrong with the other.

    • Touché! I’ve never been too happy with the remodeling of Union Square, and that’s just another example. But, I guess, it is a crowdpleaser now, even though it lost its character, like the Cliff House when it was remodeled around the same time.

      • Okay, so it is not just me. I do not mind those common date palms around here, or in a new landscape, but Union Square deserves better. The elegant old desert fan palms of the Palm Driveway at the Winchester House were replaced with cheap and common Mexican fan palms, which are likewise nice palms, but too cheap for the Winchester House.

  • Amazing that street cleaning on Langton is still on Wednesdays after all these years! Probably takes a lot of cleaning to get rid of the remains of the vandals shot in that alley. Is the Empire Hotel the four tier building peeking over the structure in the background of the 70’s picture?

    • Ha! Ha! I like your line about getting rid of the remains of the vandals! Yes, that is the Empire Hotel. They used to have a Sky Room Lounge at the top of the building that rivaled the Top of the Mark during World War Two. The building is still there, but it’s no longer a hotel. I didn’t like yesterday’s picture so I went back over today to do a redo.

      • Thanks- I checked out the history of the building. Would love to see that Sky Room Lounge, but sounds like I’d have to go to law school to have an opportunity!

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