Usually when I take comparison updates of vintage pictures I try to get my contemporary pictures as close as possible in a line up to the older photos. It doesn’t always work out that way for different reasons, but I try.
Mason and Sacramento Streets looking west in 1956: I think I’m far enough out in Sacramento Street with my picture; the traffic lanes were just different back in 1956. (San Francisco Pictures)
New Montgomery Street, looking north toward Mission Street in 1911: The Palace Hotel, which is the prominent building on the left in the vintage photo, can just barely be seen from here today. The Number One Montgomery Building, built in 1908 and seen in the far background in my picture, had its top portion removed in the 1970s. It angles differently and appears farther away than the old building on the corner of Market and Montgomery Streets in the vintage picture because they’re not on the same block. The old Crocker Building in the background of the old photo was demolished and Number One Montgomery is actually on the corner of Post and Montgomery Streets, which cuts in a different direction. (San Francisco Pictures / SFMTA Photo Archives)
Grant Avenue at Washington Street: The blog lists the vintage picture as from 1920. I’m sure I’m standing in the same spot, but the old and same buildings on the west side of Grant Avenue on the left don’t line up. I’ll put it down to an optical illusion. (San Francisco Pictures)
Mason and Sacramento Streets looking east in 1956: Sometimes I’ll do an update photo and think I got the picture at just the right spot, and then when I put it together with the vintage picture I’ll say to myself, “Darn, I should have been more to the left!” or “Darn, I should have been more to the right!” or “Darn, I should have been closer!” or “Darn, I should have been farther back!”. I don’t always say “darn” either. I missed this one, alright. I should have been farther out in the intersection, but it’s a busy crossing and I never get a good line up when I’m looking back over my shoulder while I take the picture. (San Francisco Pictures)
Washington Street at Hyde looking east in 1957: I got a pretty good line up on this one, but that’s not the interesting thing about the picture. The Washington Street cable car line used to run west past Hyde Street all the way to Steiner Street. The line had been discontinued by 1957 but you can still see the cable car tracks at the bottom of the vintage picture. (San Francisco Pictures / SFMTA Photo Archives)
Looking north along Hyde Street in 1957 from the same intersection at Washington Street as the previous picture: Trees block most of the view along Hyde Street today. The vintage picture was probably taken from the back of a cable car, and the tracks curve a little differently today due to the O’Farrell Line that used to continue south along Hyde as far as Pine Street once, and the cable car overhaul of 1982 and 1983. (San Francisco Pictures / SFMTA Photo Archives)
A cable car plunging down Washington Street from Jones in 1947: I gave it a try; “Close but no cigar”, or cigarette, or even a vape! (San Francisco Pictures / SFMTA Photo Archives)
Jones Street looking south toward Post Street in 1913: This one was a pleasant surprise; usually I’m not far enough out into traffic when I take my picture, on this one I was too far out in the street. The construction work on Post Street was probably for the laying of streetcar tracks that by then began to replace cable car lines. However, you can still see the Jones Street cable car lines heading up Nob Hill. Good 1913 advertising; I suddenly have a craving for a stick of Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum! (San Francisco Pictures / SFMTA Photo Archives)
3 thoughts on “As close as I could get them”
Great comparison photos!
Not only are the pictures remarkably close, but there are cable cars right where they should be.
Thanks, Tony! I think I got the cable car close to the same spot but I wasn’t standing in the same spot as the old picture. Anyway, it was fun to try.