Another one of those Tim tours: History, mystery, a celebration, and love

Last week, I had a chance to take some more family visitors from Texas on another “not your usual” San Francisco city tour.

TourSundial “So what do you guys want to see, the Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, Golden Gate Park, the largest sundial in the world?”

“Where’s the largest sundial in the world?”

The mysterious Urbano sundial in the early Twentieth Century in the vintage photo: Legend has it that when you come here on a sunny day in the spring, summer and early fall the sundial is off time by one hour. (

TourBrooksuse“And you brought us to this boring spot, because?”

“Because I wanted to get a then and now, and it’s my tour.”

The old entrance to Brooks Hall on Hyde Street in the early 1950s:  The San Francisco Main Library now occupies the upper left of the pictures. (SF Chronicle)

TourDineruse“Hey, you said you were taking us to a famous movie location in San Francisco!”

“Well, there was the last time I was here.”

That Doggie Diner on the left at Townsend and 3rd would later become Burger Island where Dirty Harry would say to one of the bad guys in the 1983 film ‘Sudden Impact’ “Go ahead, make my day”. That was the old Southern Pacific Train Station across 3rd Street.

TourDiner2useTourdiner3useThe ‘Sudden Impact’ restaurant was still around as a McDonald’s last time I visited the spot, but it’s been knocked down now and a new building has replaced it. That didn’t “make my day”.

Normaldoggieuse Here’s a picture I posted in February of 2016 showing the McDonald’s.

TourFilbertuse“Uncle Tim, this isn’t Lombard Street!”

“Muah, ha,ha!”

18 year Erin had the same problem navigating this scary hill as drivers in the 1940s did! This stretch of Filbert Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets drops off so quickly it looks like you’re going over a cliff at first. If Steve McQueen would have raced over this part of Filbert in the movie ‘Bullitt’ he might have come down about a block away! (Fred Lyon)

TourSHillredouseuseSome of these locations were personal. The little tyke in the red jacket I took a picture of at the top of the waterfall at Golden Gate Park’s Strawberry Hill in the 1980’s is the grown up tyke with me at the bottom of the waterfall.

TourGGBridgeuseWe took in some of the main attractions too. Sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge in the summer is a lot easier than walking on the Golden Gate Bridge, and a lot more scenic. Here we were on our Red and White Fleet tour at near the same spot in the Golden Gate as the 1925 pre Golden Gate Bridge picture. (

TourWWoneuseA celebration for soldiers returning home after World War One at Market Street and 5th in early 1919: (San Francisco History Center)

Tour1943facebookuse“Kiss me once, then kiss me twice, then kiss me once again. It’s been a long, long, time.”

In front of the old bank on the corner of Market Street and Grant Avenue in 1943: Whoever they were, I hope World War Two turned out okay for them. (Life Magazine picture from Vintage Everyday)








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