Trying for a perfect line up


In order to achieve a perfect line up redoing a vintage photo I would have to be standing in the same spot the original photographer was standing when I take my comparison picture, which might be almost impossible to determine. Anyway, I gave it a good try over the Memorial Day Weekend, and came pretty close at times.

PerfectUSquareuseThis one looked perfect, at first; the gap between the Dewey Monument and The St. Francis Hotel on the left matches up, as does the gap between the monument and the Chancellor Hotel to its right in the picture. The St. Francis Hotel in my photo lines up nicely with the vintage picture, and the angle of the two crosswalks in the photos line up close, although they’re probably not painted today exactly where they were in 1953. However, on a closer look, the Dewey Monument is a little higher up in the vintage picture. Maybe a few steps farther forward might have done it. The 1953 picture from the Charles Cushman Collection was taken at the southeast corner of Geary Blvd. and Stockton Street looking toward Union Square.

PerfectPacificClubuseHeading up to Nob Hill, I thought my quest was going to be short and sweet. When I put them together, this 1961 photo looking toward the Pacific Union Club on California looked perfect, until I got to the roof; the remaining cornice on the roof balustrade is out of line with the building in the background in the my picture. (San Francisco Pictures Blog /

May24powellWalking down Powell approaching Pine Street, I got another one pretty close. The cable car tracks aren’t laid out exactly where they were in the 1970s picture posted on Pinterest, so my picture wouldn’t line up very well standing directly between the tracks, as in the vintage picture. Also, I needed to be closer so it doesn’t count.

PerfectPinePowelluseThis 1967 picture is looking back up Nob Hill from Pine and California Streets toward the Fairmont Hotel.  I’m close here too. However, if those are the same manhole covers in both pictures, I’m a little off. That’s what people usually say about me anyway. (San Francisco Pictures Blog /

PerfectEllisuseI’m back downtown and looking west on Ellis Street from Stockton. Notice the John’s Grill Restaurant in the two photos. Both pictures were taken on the corner of 4th and Markets Streets. The Crocker Anglo Building, remodeled, is still there but the building between it and John’s Grill has been replaced. The angle and width of the Crocker Anglo Building are good and it lines up with the windows on the Flood Building on the background, but the two buildings and John’s Grill in my picture aren’t directly beneath the three buildings in vintage picture. Conclusion, I’m not standing quite in the same spot as the photographer in vintage photo. Duh! ( and

PerfectGrantMarketuseWandering down Market Street to Grant Avenue in the mid 1950: I liked my chances with this one, but it didn’t work out. I tried to get the old Hearst Examiner Building on the right to line up close with the even older Call Building across 3rd Street, but it looks like I was too far back. You can’t see the Palace Hotel in the background from here today through the trees, so I’m safe there. However, back across Market Street where the old Wells Fargo Building on Grant Avenue is, well, like Eli Wallach said to “The Man” in the 1958 film ‘The Lineup’ “that’s where the job went to pieces.” I’m too close! Yet when I moved farther back to get a good angle on the old bank building, the previous mentioned buildings across Market Street were  way out of sync. Oh, well.

PerfectPowellSutteruseI’ll end my journey here because I don’t think I’ll ever get a perfect line up, but this one matches up about the closest. The old blurry picture was taken on the southwest corner of Powell and Sutter Streets in 1949. The Sears Food Restaurant has moved one block behind me between Sutter and Post Streets. (San Francisco Pictures Blog /









Collective endeavors

In an introduction to a World War Two almanac I read years ago, the author, (and I can’t remember who it was) refers to the war as the greatest “collective human endeavor in history”. That’s been true for seventy five years, but the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 might rank alongside, if not surpass, that title. It has effected almost everybody in the world in an effort to combat the virus, the United States government has spent more money as a result of the illness than it did during the entire Second World War, and like that war, people are dying all over the world because of the plague, although the death toll hasn’t approached anywhere near the scope of World War Two yet. The expression ‘globally united” in the fight against the virus is becoming a popular expression. I haven’t been out of the Bay Area since the shelter-in-place order was implemented, so I don’t know about the rest of the world, but the people of San Francisco seem to be working together to overcome the crises, as they have in the past concerning other issues. I’m sure the rest of the world is, as well. These are a collection of pictures that I’ve posted in the past showing San Franciscans working together for a cause that involved other situations, concerns, or disasters from the city’s past, including World War Two.

CollectiveAlamoSQuseA peace, love, and end the Vietnam War rally passes Alamo Square along Fulton Street in 1967. Demonstrations like this helped to make that war unpopular and may have contributed to its ending, although there were some disasters along the way, such as Kent State, Ohio.

CollectiveGiantsredoWorld War Two wasn’t unpopular in the United States, although, it wasn’t all that welcome, either. Servicemen and women packed San Francisco on their way to, and coming from the battlefronts, as seen in this 1943 photo from LIFE Magazine taken at Mason, Turk, and Market Streets. 71 years later, San Franciscans were united again in celebrating a parade at this spot in honor of the San Francisco Giants third World Series victory. Even rain on the parade didn’t “rain on the parade”.

CollectivePier45useIn 1937, six years before the previous picture was taken, citizens from the Chinese community in San Francisco demonstrated in front of Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf. They were calling on the United States Government to stop importing products to Japan, after Japan’s invasion of China. (Vintage picture from

CollectiveTIslanduseTwo years later in 1939, San Francisco invited countries from around the world to participate in the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island. A few years after the groundbreaking for the fair, the United States would be fighting against some of the countries represented in the vintage photo, such as Nazi Germany and Japan.

CollectiveeclipseuseNow, we’ll go back 105 years to when San Francisco celebrated the Panama Pacific Exposition of 1915. In August of 2017, I did a comparison picture of the photo taken on Market Street in front of the Ferry Building, when people from around the Bay Area gathered there to view the solar eclipse occurring that day. It never got as dark as my picture implies, I just touched it up a little bit for effect.

CollectivebondsuseFast forward back to World War Two, (Does that make sense?) and a community war bond drive at Ocean Avenue and Junipero Serra Blvd. in the Sunset District. “We’re all in this together!” That was true then and now.

CollectiveGGTheateruseWorld War Two ended in victory for the Allies and San Francisco celebrated the occasion big-time; although, these nitwits on top of a streetcar on Market Street in front of the Golden Gate Theater, dangerously close to the electrical connection, may have been carry things too far!

CollectivecablecarsuseIn June of 1984, San Francisco united again to celebrate the return of the cable cars after nearly two years of a shut down for repairs. The current shut down of the cable car system is the longest stretch of non operation since then. The top picture is a slide photo I took on Powell Street in front of the St. Francis Hotel.

CollectiveearthquakeuseBut San Francisco’s greatest collective human endeavor has to be the rebuilding of the city after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The vintage picture from the San Francisco History Center was taken looking down Kearny Street toward Broadway.


Prowling around the Port (Part two)

Well, it was four years ago this month that I posted Prowling around the Port, part one, so I guess I’m overdue for a sequel. Friday, I took another walk along the Embarcadero, my favorite street in San Francisco. On paper, it looks like a long walk but it goes by real fast, which is good because the Muni F Line of historic streetcars that run along the Embarcadero and are easy to hop on if your feet run out of gas, isn’t in service at this time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

PortFreewayFBuildinguseThe start of construction on the Embarcadero Freeway that would eventually cut the Ferry Building off from the rest of San Francisco, seen in a November of 1957 picture from

PortYMCAuseThe old YMCA Building on the Embarcadero near Howard Street in 1928: The building was erected in 1926. This area of San Francisco had become pretty seedy by the 1950s. Eli Wallach, “Dancer”, commits his first murder in this building in the wonderful crime movie ‘The Lineup’ from 1958. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

PortEFreewaysouthuseThe southern portion of the Embarcadero Freeway ended at Howard Street, seen here in the late 1980s. (

PortEFreewaynorthuseThe northern portion of the freeway stopped at Broadway, seen here in a 1990 picture shortly before it was demolished. Construction on the freeway was originally planned to go all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, which would have destroyed the entire Bay waterfront of San Francisco. Cooler heads prevailed and stopped that ridiculous idea, eventually. (Flickr)

PortundeerpassuseThe best picture I’ve seen of the automobile underpass that allowed cars driving along the Embarcadero to cross under the streetcar turnaround at Market Street in front of the Ferry Building. This 1935 picture from was near where Clay Street entered the Embarcadero. This is a great little picture; the southern wing of the Ferry Building and one of the towers from the Bay Bridge are on the left, and I wonder what that little kiosk was for; possibly, a signal to regulate when the streetcars could proceed.

PortNWinguseThe northern wing of the Ferry Building with the passenger footbridge on the right in 1939: The embankment at the top of the Embarcadero underpass is behind the cable car that ran along the Sacramento Street line from the Ferry Building. (

PortColombouseNot far from the Embarcadero is an area once called the Produce District that thrived around the Colombo Market on Front Street and Pacific Avenue. The Produce District and the Colombo Market are gone now, but the archway of the Colombo Market entrance remains. The best look you’ll get on film of the old Produce District is in the 1949 movie ‘Thieves Highway’, starring Richard Conte and Lee J. Cobb. ( and Found SF)

PortBLineuseWe’ll end our prowl at Pier 29 because I had to walk back and that was good enough for one day. Here, an old Belt Line Railroad engine passes Pier 29 along the Embarcadero in 1977. The railroad line officially went out of operation in 1993. (










Golden Gate Park at 150

Last month was the anniversary of the day that Golden Gate Park opened on April 4th 1870. There was scheduled a major commemoration of the anniversary, but, of course, this was cut back due to the shelter-in-place still in effect. Restrictions have been lifted slightly, so last Sunday, Mother’s Day, I visited the park to take some pictures for this post. I’ve also included a few pictures of Golden Gate Park from previous posts that I’ve done. Rae Alexandra, a member of the PBS television station KQED, wrote an interesting article concerning movies that have been filmed in Golden Gate Park and was kind enough to include a few of my pictures in her story. I’ll include the link to her article at the end of this post.

GGPLodgeuseMcLaren Lodge in 1907: (eBay)

GGPKezaeuseLooking south across Kezar Stadium toward the old Polytechnic Gym Building on Frederick Street during a 49ers football game in 1957: Kezar Stadium was demolished in 1989, but the playing field is still there. (An SF Gate photo posted on Pinterest)

GGPRusticuseThe old Rustic Bridge at Stow Lake, erected in 1893:

LongagoStowLakeuseA vintage picture from the Shorpy Collection at Stow Lake with the old Rustic Bridge to Strawberry Hill in the background: Wow, that’s a really classy looking Nissan Versa!

GGPStowbridgeuseThe lesser photographed bridge that crosses Stow Lake over to Strawberry Hill from the north, seen here in 1955, (the Rustic Bridge crosses over to Strawberry Hill from the south). Boats aren’t available to rent at Stow Lake right now so this was the closest comparison I could get to the vintage picture. (

GGPBoathouseuseA postcard of the old Boathouse at Stow Lake in 1908 (eBay)

GGPTGardenuseThe Japanese Tea Garden was changed to the Oriental Tea Garden after Pearl Harbor. The name was changed back to the Japanese Tea Garden in 1952. Both pictures are looking toward where the old entrance to the Tea Garden used to be.

GGBPlaygrounduseThe Children’s Playground after the 1906 Earthquake: The roof of the Sharon Building had collapsed.  (SFMTA Photography)

GGPWhitneyuseThe fellow with the glasses may not look that imposing, but from the late 1920s through the end of the 1950s he owned The Cliff House, the Sutro Bathhouse and Playland-at-the-Beach. George Whitney poses with his family out the Portals of the Past on Lloyd Lake in Golden Gate Park. (

GGPWMilluseThe old Murphy Windmill at the southwest corner of Golden Gate Park in disrepair in the 1970s: The restored windmill was reopened in 2012.

GGPPhandleuseLooking past the children’s playground in the Golden Gate Park Panhandle toward the corner of Oak and Ashbury Streets in a San Francisco Chronicle photo from 1966: The playground is still there, but closed right now due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here’s the link to Rae Alexandra’s article about movies with Golden Gate Park locations. GGPKQEDuse









Between two hills (For Tricia)

I’m never sure where Nob Hill ends and Russian Hill begins, or where Russian Hill ends and Nob Hill begins, if you’re coming from that direction. The boundary that separates Nob from Russian Hills is generally considered to be Pacific Ave, but the zip code directory that includes Russian Hill extends to Jackson Street. Yesterday was a really pretty day in the Bay Area, so I took a few hours off to drive over to San Francisco with one of the girls who helps out in the office. I let her drive and found out that she’s a maniac behind a steering wheel. I used up my whole day’s supply of Hail Marys getting to and from San Francisco. Tricia also got to drive down Lombard Street for her first time, and I’ve included a silly video of that adventure at the end of this post. She also helped out as a wheel lady, double parking while I took these then and nows somewhere on or between Russian and Nob Hills. The vintage pictures are from a website called the San Francisco Picture Blog, hosted by

MayJacksonPowelluseJackson and Powell Streets, looking west in 1952:

MayJacksonLarkinwestuseJackson Street at Larkin, looking west in 1918:

MayJacksonLarkineastuseThe exact opposite view from the previous picture of Jackson Street at Larkin, looking east in 1920:

MayLarkinUnionuseLooking west down Union Street from Larkin Street in 1948:

MayHydePacificusePacific Avenue, looking south along Hyde Street in 1956: They’re doing lots of road work around San Francisco right now during the coronavirus pandemic, but not here at Hyde Street, like in the vintage picture. That’s obviously work along the cable car track.

MayBroadwayTayloruseLooking east down Broadway from Taylor Street in 1964:

MayVallejoMasonuseMason Street, looking east along Vallejo Street in 1968:

MayUnionGrantuseGrant Avenue, looking west down Union Street toward Russian Hill in 1966: We were geographically starting to climb Telegraph Hill here.

The following video is a rare drive down a practically empty Lombard Street, between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets.









Easing into May….. and holding our breaths

As I have mentioned in the past, I love to explore San Francisco in May more than any other month of the year; the weather is usually accommodating, and the City is so pretty in the spring. Of course, this won’t be the case this May; the shelter-in-place order due to the coronavirus pandemic has been extended to the end of May, for now. This is causing a lot of people worry and concern, and I’m no exception, but it might also be saving our lives. The reports that some of the restrictions may be eased up a little brought a lot of people out of their shelters on “May Day”, May 1st, possibly in honor of International Workers Day. I took a drive through Golden Gate Park to the coast on May 1st and walked around Downtown San Francisco on the 2nd. Outdoor picture taking has been officially sanctioned now, which isn’t a bad idea because you’ll get to see a San Francisco you’ve never seen before, and hopefully, never will again.

MayBBTolluseThe Bay Bridge Toll Plaza on opening day, November 12th 1936: There was only one camera taking my picture when I crossed the bridge yesterday, and I’ll be getting a pay ticket bill soon. Sadly, this reminds me of a missing man formation; the number 14 toll booth where a lady toll collector was killed in an accident in 2017 is still missing. (Vintage picture,, posted on Pinterest)

MayLaPlayauseA view of Playland-at-the-Beach, then known as Chutes-at-the-Beach, looking along La Playa from the south side of Sutro Heights in the 1930s: You can see the Dutch Windmill in Golden Gate Park in both pictures. (

MayCabrillouseThe Cabrillo Street turnaround at the Great Highway in the 1950s: The Playland Funhouse is in the background.

MayCHouseuseWork on the Ocean Beach Seawall near the Cliff House in the 1920s: The Sutro Heights cliffs looked so barren back then. (

MayTelenewsuseThis May 8th will be the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe, V-E Day. Here, San Franciscans and military visitors are celebrating the news in front of the old Telenews Theater on Market Street. The Telenews was approximately just west of where the corner of Market and Cyril Magnin Streets is now. The roof of the Number One Powell Street Building is in the upper right of the vintage photo. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

MayMarketand5thworthpointMarket Street near 5th in 1966: I’ll redo this one when the vintage F Line Streetcars are running along here again. My picture was taken on another busy day for the police on a Market Street left mostly to vandals and deranged street people during the shelter-in-place. (Pinterest)

MayBrownuseA rally to reelect Governor Pat Brown on Grant Avenue at Clay Street in Chinatown: Well, this is an election year in the United States too. I’m not sure if this was when Brown was elected for a second term in 1962 or when he lost his bid for reelection in 1966 to Ronald Reagan: My picture was taken today in a depressingly empty Chinatown.  (Street Scenes of San Francisco)

MayCaiforniaStuseNormally, I’d wait for a cable car to come along before updating this 1966 photo on California Street between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue, but not I nor anybody else knows when the cable cars will be running again. (ebay)