I haven’t been able to take the Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday off very often since I took over my dad’s income tax practice 25 years ago after he died. The holiday usually falls on what is a busy day preparing tax forms. However, since the Internal Revenue Service has once again postponed the inevitable for the fourth or fifth year in a row and won’t process any tax returns until near the end of January, I decided to take the day off yesterday and head to the Coast; the west coast of San Francisco. A trip to the coast may conger up images of the Lewis and Clark Expedition or the Joad family in ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ but when traffic is light, like on holidays, I can get to the San Francisco coast from the office in less than an hour.
We’ll start where I did looking south along the west coast of San Francisco from Sutro Heights. This is one of the oldest pictures from this viewpoint that I’ve seen. I couldn’t get a date on the vintage photo, but it was taken before Playland-at-the-Beach, and the Golden Gate Park Windmills, the Dutch Windmill, built in 1903, and the Murphy Windmill, completed in 1908, haven’t been put up yet. (Bold Italic)
We’ll walk down to the Cliff House from the Sutro park. Walking down to the Cliff House from here is easy, walking back to Sutro Heights, well….. This is a 1920’s picture looking down Point Lobos Road to the famous restaurant. The CIGARS shop with the ‘R’ missing was where the glass entrance to the Cliff House is now. (cliffhouseproject.com)
The cigar store in the previous vintage photo was updated later in the 1920’s to selling hot dogs, probably a more profitable enterprise considering the location. (The Shorpy Archive)
There were “Dangerous Waves” warnings all along Ocean Beach yesterday, and a number of beach locations were closed. My picture was taken from right behind the Cliff House.
The view along the coast south of the Cliff House in 1865: You can see the two peaks in the ridge that runs down to the beach from here in both pictures.
The view down Point Lobos Road looking toward Playland-at-the-Beach during the 1940’s:
Playland in 1949 and all that’s left of Playland-at-the-Beach today, the historical marker: (SF Gate, SF Chronicle)
The northern most portion of Playland shortly before it closed in 1972. My picture is just about where the vintage photo was taken. (SF Gate, SF Chronicle)
There’s some interesting San Francisco history you can read about just south of Golden Gate Park on La Playa between Irving and Judah Streets. At the beginning of the Twentieth Century some discarded horse drawn streetcars were being sold to families who moved them out to this location and renovated them to live in. The area became known as ‘Carville’. The eastern side of La Playa, here in my picture, is where Carville was. (sfhistory.org)
I think that the only known survivor of Carville is in the center top of my picture on the Great Highway between Lawton and Moraga Streets. Those are two old streetcars side by side in the frame of that building behind the garage.
You know, it’s always sad to see old time “moms and pops” grocery stores like this one from the 1950’s on 48th Avenue gone from this area forever. Oh, wait a minute, it’s still there! Never mind. (Images of America)
Bathing cuties in front of the pool house at Fleishhacker Pool in 1927: All that’s left of the swimming pool today is the entrance to the pool house that the girls were in front of. They were about where the cars parked on the right are in my picture. (Shorpy Archive)
The pool, built in 1924, closed in 1971, when the vintage picture here was taken, and was filled in. It’s now beneath the parking lot to the San Francisco Zoo. I took my picture of the pool house in September of 2012, just before it burned down in a fire caused by homeless people living in the abandoned building.