Snapshots from the past

“Mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.”

Paul Simon was playing at the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park this weekend while I was taking these pictures. These are a few stills around San Francisco from the 1940s to the 1960s. The colors on the old pictures may not all be as brilliant as the ones in Paul’s song, but maybe they faded over the years.

SnapsfirstuseA streetcar turns onto First Street from Market in the 1960’s heading toward the Transbay Terminal. Buses are returning into the new Transit Terminal this weekend, but no more streetcars. That’s the Crown Zellerbach Building with its novel turquoise blue shades in the background. (Market Street Railway)

SnapsCalifGrantuseCalifornia Street at Grant Avenue in the 1950s: You can have the patience of Job but I don’t think you’ll ever get a shot of two cable cars lining up here going up and coming down from Nob Hill. I don’t think they do that anymore; at least not while I waited. (Vintage Everyday)

SnapsHuntingtonuseHuntington Park on Nob Hill looking toward the Mark Hopkins Hotel in the 1958: (Vintage Everyday)

SnapsSLowuseGrant Avenue in Chinatown between Pine and California Streets in 1965: That’s Old St. Mary’s Church in the background. The sign from the old Shanghai Low nightclub and restaurant is still there. Orson Welles stumbled past Shanghai Low’s while hiding from the police in the 1947 film ‘The Lady from Shanghai’. (

SnapsCTownuseAlso in Chinatown, Grant Avenue between Sacramento and Clay Streets in the late 1940s.

SnapsClayuse Looking down Clay Street from Powell in the 1950s: (Vintage Everyday)

SnapsBayTayloruseChildren at the cable car turnaround at Bay and Taylor Streets in the late 1950s: (Vintage Everyday)

SnapsLombarduseLombard Street in 1959: (Vintage Everyday)

SnapsHydeuseLooking down Hyde Street between Francisco and Bay Streets in the late 1950s or early 1960s: Look at that spooky looking fog devouring Alcatraz in my picture. (









5 thoughts on “Snapshots from the past

  • Those trees in Huntington Park, even though I can not identify them, are good examples of how sustainable proper pollarding is. (ALL of my arborist colleagues insist that it is not arboriculturally correct.) The technique is still more accepted in San Francisco than any other region in California, perhaps because the sycamores (London planes) of City Hall and Golden Gate Park are so familiar. San Francisco also happens to have a few arborists who know how to do it properly.

    • You took the very words right out of my mouth! No, actually I’m just being facetious, Tony. I’m in awe of your knowledge concerning the plants and trees in the photos, and I always appreciate your insight. I don’t often pay much attention to the natural difference from the old pictures until you point things out.

      • Well, of all the places around the San Francisco Bay Area, Oakland and San Francisco happen to have most of the exemplary examples of ‘proper’ horticulture. There would be more examples of industrial horticulture in the Santa Clara Valley, but they were eliminated as the region became urban. We do have better roses though.

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