‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, or is it the maddening crowd? (For Janise)

San Francisco is a quiet and peaceful town to visit on the 4th of July, as long as you’re out of the city by 6:00 PM. Weather permitting, San Francisco puts on a terrific fireworks show the night of the 4th, and I’ve checked it out a number of times.  However, it’s one of the most congested nights in San Francisco for people and traffic, and you have to have a lot of patience with the crowds. Nowadays, like yesterday, I spent a pleasant day taking pictures in San Francisco, and made it home before evening to watch ‘The Long, Hot Summer’ with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and at 9:00 PM, went out to catch the firework shows some of the neighbors put on. That’s my 4th of July tradition these days; yes, it’s come to this. These are a collection of vintage traffic and congestion pictures around San Francisco. I started out in 1937 and ended up in 1973.

4th3rd&MissionuseMission and 3rd Street, looking north toward Market Street in 1937: (SF Gate)

4th5thMarketuseMarket Street at 5th in 1946, looking toward the old JC Penny Department Store:

4thRemedialuseMission Street near 5th in 1948, looking west: Notice the Remedial Loan Company Building on the right in the vintage picture. That’s where Sam Spade made Brigid O’Shaughnessy hock her jewelry to retain him as a detective in the novel ‘The Maltese Falcon’. “You’ll have to hock them. The Remedial’s the best – Fifth and Mission.” Spade tells her. The Remedial’s still around, now named the Provident Remedial. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4tho'farrellstocktonuseO’Farrell Street near Stockton in 1948, looking east: You can see a cable car on the old O’Farrell Line in the background. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4thGearyStocktonuseGeary Blvd at Stockton Street in 1954, looking east: Watch out for the lol! The beloved City of Paris Store, demolished in 1979 is on the right; in the far back of both pictures is the Palace Hotel. (San Francisco Chronicle photo, courtesy SF Gate)

4thCalifuseRoadwork on the California Street Cable Car Line at Mason Street in 1957: On the left is the Fairmont Hotel, on the right are the Mark Hopkins Hotel and the Stanford Court. (hiveminer.com)

4thVertigouseAlfred Hitchcock filmed a scene where the cable work was being done in the previous 1957 photo in his movie ‘Vertigo’. James Stewart follows Kim Novak south along Mason Street, before turning east onto California Street around the construction area, seen here in the film.

4thMasonPostuseMason Street at Post in 1973, looking north: (SF Gate)

4thMasonGearyuseMason Street near Geary Blvd. in 1973, looking south and probably taken the same day as the previous picture: You can see the letters for the Mason, O’Farrell Garage, blocked by signs in my picture, on the right. (SF Gate)

4thSFTerminaluseBefore I left I stopped by to visit the newly reopened Salesforce Transit Center, closed since September of 2018. The top drawing is an artistic rendition of what the Grand Hall would look like before the transit terminal was built. They got it pretty close. (Tes.com)











2 thoughts on “‘Far from the Madding Crowd’, or is it the maddening crowd? (For Janise)

  • These are so fascinating. My great grandfather was born in 1899, so he was a year older than whatever they year happened to be at the time. In 1937 he was 38. In 1974, he was 74, etc. I can sort of imagine him being in San Francisco at particular ages, even though he was not there very much.

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