All of the vintage images in this set were taken on Market Street seventy five years ago, August 14th, 1945. Forever known as V-J Day, victory over Japan, it was the day Japan surrendered ending World War Two. San Francisco went into an orgy of celebrating and some of it wasn’t pleasant, but you can’t tell from these images. Let’s go back to that day for a moment and remember how important it was. Although I took most of my pictures this past week, I plan to go over to San Francisco on August 14th and walk around again where my comparisons were taken. Almost certainly, most of the people in the vintage images are gone now, but they had their moment to be proud of and they enjoyed it. It will feel strange again standing in the same spots they did and thinking about their moment in time. San Francisco, and the United States, for that matter, will probably never experience anything like it again.
Celebrants climbing the Admission Day Monument at Turk, Mason, and Market Streets: The view is looking west along Turk Street. The monument was moved to Montgomery and Market Streets in 1977. (San Francisco Chronicle)
The opposite view of the previous picture of the Admission Day Monument from ground level, looking back toward Market Street: (West Virginia & Regional History Center)
A crowd passes by the old Paramount Theater between Jones and Taylor Streets in a scene from wonderful color footage by C. R. Skinner: ‘Junior Miss’ wasn’t getting that much attention that day. Eh, Leonard Maltin only gives the film two and a half stars anyway. The Paramount was just east of the old Crocker Anglo Building on the corner of Jones and Market Streets and is blocking out the view of the Golden Gate Theater, seen in my picture.
Looking past sailors and stalled streetcars toward Mason and Market Streets in more film footage from C. R. Skinner:
Revelers on top of a streetcar stopped at Market and Mason Streets: Behind them is the Golden Gate Theater. (SF Chronicle)
Looking southeast across Market Street toward 6th in more footage from the C. R. Skinner film: The streetcar on the right has the message KEEP FAITH WITH OUR FIGHT. Many of the buildings in the vintage image are still around, including the tall white building at 6th and Market Streets, remodeled and green today.
More Streetcar partiers on Market Street looking north toward Stockton Street: West Virginia & Regional History Center)
At the same intersection as the previous picture, a fellow picks up the rear portion of a streetcar, broken off and left on Market Street: (opensfhistory.org)
Looking east along Market Street from Grant Avenue: (worthpoint.com)
I’ve posted this series of images from C. R. Skinner’s footage in the past, but it really is a wonderful period piece. It took place on Market Street at Jones. In the top two photos, the girl in pink doesn’t seem too bothered when a lady near her is hugged by a passing sailor. In the third image another sailor grabs the girl in pink for a hug, placing a cap on her head. In the fourth image, the sailor has the girl in pink bent over in his arms and might being going a little too far. “Hey, buddy, no means no!” In the fifth and bottom picture, she breaks away and throws the cap back at him, angrily. “What’d I do? What’d I Do?”
Here’s the same spot today where “pretty in pink” valiantly fought for her honor.
Many people know about the famous Times Square New York picture of the sailor kissing a nurse on V-J Day. Well, there was a lot of kissing going on in San Francisco on August 14th 1945 too! This picture was taken at the intersection of Market and Taylor Streets with the Warfield Building in the background. They were a little farther out in Market Street, but if I took my picture that far out a tree would have blocked the Market Street entrance to the Warfield Building, seen in both photos. You can see part of the Warfield sign of Loew’s Warfield Theater that would later become the Fox Warfield Theater, and not to be confused with the glamorous Fox Theater, in the upper right of the vintage picture. I know, you may be wondering the same thing I was; did they get married? Maybe, but they likely never saw each other again after August 14th 1945. (West Virginia & Regional History Center)