I often used to put my trusty old bicycle into the back of my trusty old truck, and head to San Francisco for a bike ride. However, like trusty old me, my trusty old truck isn’t what it used to be, so I don’t drive it over to San Francisco too much anymore. However, last Saturday, the last weekend of April, I did bring my old bike back to San Francisco again for a ride along the Embarcadero. As often, I relied on my “go to guys”, opensfhistory.org, for vintage pictures of the San Francisco waterfront to go along with my nostalgic mood. I rode from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Ferry Building and back on a beautiful and sunny, (too sunny) Saturday morning.
I started at the Franciscan Restaurant at the Wharf and headed south by southeast. No, not ‘North by Northwest’. The Franciscan has been remodeled since the 1960 picture, but it still has that odd shape.
Pier 43 in 1960: Pier 43 has been removed now, but the frame entrance is still there. The old Balclutha sailing ship, seen in the vintage photo, used to be docked there before moving over to the Hyde Street Pier. He’s thinking, “Hey, don’t look at me! I didn’t poop all over this fence!”
Whoa! Opensfhistory says that these cars were hit by a Belt Line train near Mason and Jefferson Streets during the 1960s. Let’s hope they were parked and empty at the time. That’s the old Fisherman’s Wharf Travel Lodge in the background of both pictures. The Boudin Bakery and Restaurant is here today where the crash was.
Here’s a Belt Line Engine running along the Embarcadero past Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower across from Pier 29 in 1957.
Filbert Street heading toward Telegraph Hill circa 1950: The portion of the hill past the boxcar in the old picture is where the wooden Filbert Steps of Telegraph Hill are. A bandaged Humphrey Bogart climbed the Filbert Steps three years earlier in the film ‘Dark Passage’. Levi Plaza is on the waterfront side of Filbert Street today.
An organized labor demonstration by dock workers at Pier 15 in 1937: This was organized three years after the 1934 waterfront strike where police fired on Longshoremen.
A fuzzy but likable picture of Pier 9 taken in 1966:
Broadway at the Embarcadero in 1965: This was a far north as the Embarcadero Freeway, built in 1957, reached. I had picture taking problems with the sun all day Saturday.
Almost underneath the Embarcadero Freeway way at Pier 1 in 1960: Did I tell you that I was one of the last people to drive on the Embarcadero Freeway on the day of the Loma Prieta Earthquake, October 17th, 1989, before it closed forever? “Yes, Tim, many times.” We’re getting close to the Ferry Building.
I arrived at the Ferry Building where this terrific picture was taken. (Not mine, I was shooting directly into the sun.) The vintage photo was taken on February 18th 1939, the day the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island opened.
A ferryboat chugs over to the Bay Bridge and the Oakland Mole in 1952: By that time the Golden Gate and Bay Bridges were making ferryboat travel across the Bay obsolete. By the 1960s the ferryboats were gone. The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake that shut down the Bay Bridge for one month jumpstarted new ferry boat Service across the Bay to the Ferry Building. One of the new ferryboats, sleeker and more environmental friendly, is heading toward today’s Ferry Building boat dock in my picture.