San Francisco is a city of hills, and walking around it can tire you out quickly. Herb Caen once said that if you get tired of walking around San Francisco you can always lean against it. These are some vintage pictures a few spots, most of them still around, where you could take a breather when those long days on your feet in San Francisco started to catch up with you.
The northwest corner at the Top of the Mark, “Weeper’s Corner”, looks like the 1940’s or early 1950’s: “Weeper’s Corner” got its nickname during World War Two when mothers, wives and sweethearts sat in this corner watching their loved ones sail off to the Pacific Theater of the war. The Top of the Mark is still a special place to take a break; visitors are no longer required to dress up to come up here, and as far as I know, weeping in this corner is still allowed.
The old Redwood Room at the Clift Hotel, seen here in the 1950s, is another historic place to relax with a cold one and try to forget about all of the money you’re spending on your visit to San Francisco. (hippostcard.com)
Checking out a flick on Market Street to get away from it all, like here at the State Theater at 4th and Market Streets in 1952, isn’t going to work anymore; all of the theaters in this area have been demolished. (tumblr.com)
Now, if you really want to make it a special afternoon, lunch in the Garden Court of the Palace Hotel is one of the best ideas for a breather; although, sometimes it’s prettier and cheaper just to sneak upstairs and take a picture of the hotel court. (ebay)
A relaxing cable car ride at Powell and Market Streets might bring the energy back to your feet, but the problem is that the wait standing in the long line to catch a car can sometimes be longer than the walk you took around San Francisco.
Hotels like the Fairmont, St. Francis, and here at the Sir Francis Drake lobby, seen here in 1928 in the vintage picture, usually don’t mind visitors sitting awhile to relax in their lobbies. Sometimes, they even encourage people to stop and browse on occasions like holidays. (North Point Press)
And if you need a long rest, you can catch a play at the Geary Theater on Geary Blvd. near Mason Street, seen here in 1910, the year the theater opened. The Curran Theater, west of the Geary Theater, had not been built yet in the vintage picture. (San Francisco Theaters / blogspot.com)
The Geary and Curran Theaters looking west in 1958: Notice what was playing at the Curran Theater. (blogspot.com)
“He’s a what?”
“He’s a what?”
“He’s a Music Man!”
I’ll pause for five seconds while movie buffs spot what’s going on here….. Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) in attempting to search the office of Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) in the 1941 film ‘The Maltese Falcon’ is knocked out by Spade. In searching through the pockets of the unconscious Cairo, Spade finds, among other things, that Joel will be attending a play that evening at the Geary Theater. This was where Cairo was planning on being that night in the novel by Dashiell Hammett, as well. (Flare Books / Richard Anobile)