Pure escapism (For Brad)

That’s what I needed to recover from the results of the first round of the 2021 baseball playoffs, pure escapism therapy. The Shorpy Photo Archive has a stunning collection of high density vintage pictures, many taken in San Francisco, that are a lot of fun to browse through, or if you’re like me, to visit the locations and update some of the photographs. (Thumbnail images)

Market Street at Street ay 6th, looking east in 1963: Many of the buildings from the vintage picture can still be seen today. The building on the right being remodeled is the old David Hughes Building that housed the Western States Life Insurance Company for many years. The building, with a completely different look today, was built in 1908.

The California Street Stairs to Huntington Park on Nob Hill in 1923: The late October shadows were sort of haunting me in this one, but it’s a reasonable facsimile. The Pacific Union Club Building is on the right in both pictures.

“Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You ain’t heard nothing yet!” And so Al Jolson effectively made silent movies obsolete in the first talkie, ‘The Jazz Singer’ from 1927. Much maligned today for his many black face routines, Al Jolson was still an important part of film history. Jolson is the one with the hat next to the car in the 1927 picture on Powell Street in front of the St. Francis Hotel. Ironically, Jolson died of a heart attack at the St, Francis Hotel in 1950, twenty three years after this picture was taken.

Jones Street, between California and Pine Streets in 1923: This is one of the steepest and scariest streets to drive down in San Francisco; for a brief moment as you head down from California Street, it looks like you’re going over a cliff! The apartment building in the vintage picture is still there behind the trees.

608 Commercial Street, site of the first U.S. Mint in San Francisco: When they decided to put up an office building here, in respect to the historic building they built the skyscraper on top of it. They vintage picture is from 1940.

There’s a large collection of 1906 Earthquake pictures in the Shorpy Archives, as well; this one on Market Street at Kearny looking toward the old Palace Hotel. The Palace Hotel was completely destroyed by the earthquake and fire, and was rebuilt in 1909. The old Chronicle Building survived the earthquake and is on the left in both pictures.

Market and 1st Street in 1947: I wonder how this old photo survived. True, it’s an interesting vintage location shot taken from inside an auto, and as such, it turned out well, but I don’t think it can be considered as a good picture. Now, my goal was to try to take a picture that was equally as bad as the 1947 picture, and I think I pulled it off. Note, FIRST ST. then and 1ST ST now.

One thought on “Pure escapism (For Brad)

  • Just like the Canary Island date palms on Union Square, the trees in Huntington Park seem to be the same trees in both pictures, but in different locations. (I believe that the trees that remain are in a row that extends from side to side, and that the tree in the foreground of the older picture is now gone.) I can not identify them from the picture. The trees in front of the apartment building on Jones Street are Ficus microcarpa ‘Nitida’, or more simply, Ficus ‘Nitida’. There were very popular in the Los Angeles region prior to the 1980s, and were somewhat popular in San Francisco at about the same time. I never saw them here because they do not do well here.

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