Another one of those “different” tours of mine

“Get your walking shoes on, folks. Today we’re going to take a tour that travels through and skirts along the edge of the Tenderloin.”

TourMasonuseWe’ll start at the corner of Turk and Mason Streets; and where else could you hope for a tour to start? The vintage picture is from 1955. All vintage pictures in this post are from the San Francisco Pictures blog and the SFMTA Photo Archives. In the far back is Nob Hill with the Mark Hopkins Hotel, looking like another world from where we’re at.  We’ll pass the vagrants on the Turk Street sidewalks as quietly as possible and head over to Turk and Leavenworth Streets.

TourTurkLeavenuseTurk and Leavenworth Streets in the heart of the Tenderloin, seen in the vintage photo in 1962: I got you into this and I’ll get you out. We’ll walk two blocks west on Turk to Larkin Streets and catch Muni #19 to Sutter Street. Unfortunately, it will be two of the most uncomfortable blocks you’ll ever experience in San Francisco.

TourSutterPolk1931useSutter Street at Polk Street looking east in 1931: From here on in you’re going to find that a remarkable number of buildings in the vintage pictures are still around.

TourSutterLarkinuseOne block east of the previous picture at Sutter and Larkin Streets, seen in 1931: They were doing a lot of work on Sutter Street that year.

TourJonesGearyuseWe’ll move over to Geary Blvd. at Jones Street, seen in 1957. Geary Blvd. used to be considered the northern border of the Tenderloin, but I don’t know if that’s accurate anymore. They’re still selling Mexican food and booze in the same two places they were in 1957.

TourTaylorPostuseOne block east and one block north and we’re at Taylor and Post Streets looking south down Taylor. The vintage picture is from 1937

TourSutterTayloruseWe’ll continue north up Taylor Street to Sutter Street looking east in 1931.

TourSutterPowelluseFrom the Taylor and Sutter Street intersection we’ll head two blocks east to Sutter and Powell Streets, looking east down Sutter in 1931: When you get to here you’re out of the Tenderloin, but you’ll often think back about that area with a definite…… viewpoint. On the right in both photos is the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, and at left center is the 450 Sutter Building.

TourPostuseWe’ll be closing the tour at Union Square. This is the northeast corner of the Square at Post and Stockton Streets in 1940. That’s some pretty antiquated construction equipment those guys are using.

TourGearyStocktonuseThis is at the southeast corner of Union Square looking down Geary Blvd. toward Market Street in 1951. Ah, the City of Paris Department Store; what a wonderful place that was until it was demolished in 1979. The Neiman Marcus Department Store is there now. This area is going to be ground central for “Black Friday” in less than two weeks. I’ve covered that hectic day for the past few years in posts on my blog, but I think this year I’ll just stay home and watch ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. If you enjoyed the tour, please be sure not to tell your friends; I don’t want to go through that again!









“The shadows follow me”

That’s a line from a song written by Don McLean of ‘American Pie’ fame called ‘And I Love You So’. The November shadows certainly did seem to follow me around on the little trek through Downtown San Francisco I took yesterday. The vintage pictures are from a blog succinctly called ‘San Francisco Pictures’. The blog has many terrific vintage pictures of San Francisco, but the site doesn’t identify who the collector is.

ShadowsMarketKearnyuseI started out at Kearny and Market Streets looking west along Market Street to update a photo taken in 1971.

ShadowMarketStuseI headed west on Market Street on block to Grant Ave to get this comparison from 1970 looking up Market Street towards Stockton. “The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

ShadowSutteruseI doubled back to Kearny Street and walked two blocks to the corner of Kearny and Sutter Streets looking west along Sutter. The vintage picture is from 1958.

ShadowsCTownuseFrom Kearny I headed over to Powell and Bush Streets by way of the Stockton Tunnel steps. I passed Burritt Alley, where Miles Archer was “done in” by Brigid O’Shaughnessy, for another breakfast at Roxanne’s Café, and headed back down Bush Street to get my obligatory Chinatown picture. The vintage picture is at California Street and Grant Avenue in 1959.

ShadowsPowellOFarrelluseThe shadows were still following me, so I snapped one more picture at O’Farrell and Powell Streets before heading back to the office. The vintage picture was taken in 1967. On the building just to the right of the front of the cable car in the 1967 photo, although difficult to read, is the entrance sign to Tad’s Steak House, another place on Powell Street I like to stop regularly for breakfast or burgers. After some 67 years at this location, Tad’s closed in October of this year and will be relocating around the corner on Ellis Street, although I’m not sure where or when. That left a cloud over me too.









Looking for parking in the City

Even more frustrating than driving around San Francisco sometimes is parking in San Francisco most of the time. These are a collection of pictures pertaining to parking around Downtown San Francisco.

ParkOFarrelluseThere are all kinds of driving infractions taking place at the Mason and O’Farrell Streets Garage in 1973; gird locking, signal jumping, near collisions, and probably a lot of honking. (San Francisco Pictures)

ParkingPowelluseParking anywhere along Powell Street south of Nob Hill, seen in the vintage picture from 1958, is only a memory today. (Pinterest)

ParkMasonuseMason and Pine Streets, down from the Mark Hopkins Hotel, in 1964: There were still a few parking spots available here on Mason Street back then. KYA Radio brings back memories of when I was a kid in the 1960s. I’ll bet I heard my first Beatles song on KYA. (San Francisco Pictures)

ParkUSquareuseUnion Square with its parking garage under the Square seen in 1980 from Geary Blvd.:  I’ve never parked in the Union Square Garage. Herb Caen used to say that people who try parking there during a busy day in Downtown San Francisco are a “Sorry / full lot”. (flickr)

ParkPineusePine Street east of Powell Street in 1982: This is probably not where you want to go to practice your parallel parking skills. (San Francisco Pictures)

ParkDiMaggiosuse“Excuse me. Can you tell me where DiMaggio’s Restaurant is?”

I guess “Joltin’ Joe” didn’t want anybody to have a hard time finding his place on Jefferson Street at Fisherman’s Wharf. DiMaggio’s, built in 1937, was where the Supreme Crab is today. The DiMaggio letters on the right in the vintage picture were above the entrance to the parking lot of his restaurant and were behind where the PARKING sign on the right in my picture is. My photo was taken this Sunday morning during today’s Veterans Day Parade along Jefferson Street. (ebay)

ParkDiMaggiolotuseTwenty years later, in 1957, the letters above the DiMaggio Restaurant parking lot were still there, and can be seen in a 1957 episode of the television show ‘Harbor Command’. Here, a thug “on the spot” is trying to hide from the bad guys in the DiMaggio parking lot. The scene is looking across Jefferson Street toward the Fisherman’s Wharf Boat Lagoon. DiMaggio’s parking lot, seen in the bottom picture, is still there but blocked from Jefferson Street by buildings now.

ParkPier45useParking in Fisherman’s Wharf can often be an expensive nightmare unless you have connections. I don’t have the clout of San Francisco’s Mayor London Breed, but I have a brother who works on the World War Two Liberty Ship, the Jeremiah O’Brien, and when I go to the Wharf I can usually get a pass to park in Pier 45 where the ship is berthed. That came in handy today to view the 2019 Veterans Day Parade. The vintage picture is Pier 45 in 1960. (

ParkPier452useBuilt in 1926, Pier 45 with its two sheds was the largest pier in the world when it was built. Commandeered by the army during World War Two for moving troops to the Pacific Theater of fighting, Pier 45 is indeed historic. Two survivors of World War Two, the Liberty Ship the SS Jeremiah O’Brien and the submarine the USS Pampanito are berthed here.









Segue to November and football weather

I seem to be weaving a weather pattern lately. It’s probably a lack of imagination on my part, but it allows me to post a number of unrelated pictures and categorize them all under a weather theme. With college football games every Saturday in November and NFL football games on Sundays, and with work piling up in the office during the week, it might be difficult for me to get away to do some picture taking as often as I’d like to. I snuck over yesterday, the first Sunday of November, and took a walk from Nob Hill through Chinatown to get these pictures. After a late breakfast at Roxanne’s Café on Powell Street, I still made it back for some afternoon and evening football games.

NovCalifPowelluseA wonderful picture looking down California Street from above Powell Street during the 1940s: Ah, look at the old cable car signal box and the Crest Garage on the right in the old photo. The Crest Garage Building was demolished at the beginning of 2018. (Ebay)

NovCrestuseI probably should have left this one out, mine wasn’t a very good picture, but what the heck; the vintage one is a picture of the old Crest Garage during the 1960s when it was called Rolls Garage. All that’s left of the Crest Garage right now is scaffolding around a building going up and portable bathrooms. (Vintage Everyday)

NovPineuseA foggy Fred Lyon gem looking toward Grant Avenue from Pine Street during the 1950s:

NovStMaryuseIn my last post I showed a picture of two ladies from the late 1950s making a telephone call from a phone booth next to Old St. Mary’s Church that was designed to look like a telephone booth in Chinatown should look. This picture taken in the early 1960s is the only other picture I’ve seen yet of that old telephone booth with the red roof on the far right. The telephone booth was just behind where the cement potted tree is in my picture.

NovCTownuseLooking north on Grant Avenue from Sacramento Street in 1958: I’ve seen pictures of that Bakery sign in the center of both pictures that go back to World War Two, and it still lights up in neon at night. (

NocClayuseI’ve written in the past that this blog isn’t about my pictures, but the vintage photos. I don’t pretend that any of my pictures have any lasting quality, but a picture like this one from by Fred Lyon taken during the 1940s certainly does. What I do take a small pride in is often being able to locate where vintage pictures were taken when the location isn’t described. However, probably anyone with any knowledge of San Francisco history might be able to track this spot down too. Bail Bond businesses were located all around the old Hall of Justice Building on Kearney Street like this one on Clay Street, just east of Kearny. The old Hall of Justice Building was demolished in 1967 for some stupid reason and a Hilton Hotel now occupies the spot. Films like ‘The Lady from Shanghai from 1947, ‘Impact’ from 1949, and ‘The Man Who Cheated Himself’ from 1950 filmed scenes at the old Hall, as well as television shows like ‘The Lineup’ and ‘Ironside’.