4th, 5th, and 6th Streets

Last November, I posted a collection of vintage pictures from 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Streets. On last Sunday, I took BART over to San Francisco to do some updates of vintage pictures from 4th, 5th, and 6th Streets; not necessarily an upgrade. This was actually a historic day for BART because this was the first day since the transit system opened in 1972 that all five of the BART lines were running on a Sunday. (Thumbnail pictures)

Looking across Market Street from 4th Street to Stockton and Ellis Streets in 1942: The old Flood Building at Powell and Market Streets is on the left in both pictures. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

Looking the exact opposite from the previous picture is Market Street and Stockton, looking toward 4th Street in 1979. (San Francisco Picture Blog)


4th Street at Natoma, looking toward Market Street in 1941: Natoma, on the right, doesn’t cut through to 4th Street anymore. Minna Street, where the car is turning into on the left in the vintage picture, still does. The old Roos Brothers building at Stockton and Market Streets, built in 1907, is in the far background of both pictures. (SFMTA Archives)

A streetcar turns south on to 5th Street from Market Street in 1941: The view is looking north across Market Street to where the Hallidie Plaza BART Station is today. (opensfhistory.org)

The crown jewel of 5th Street is the old U.S. Mint Building on 5th and Mission Streets, built in 1874. To the left of this view, and out of the picture, is the San Francisco Chronicle Building. Herb Caen wrote so many passages in his columns and books about activities he witnessed at this intersection. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

Looking west on Market Street toward Twin Peaks from 6th Street in 1945, with the old Paramount Theater on the right.  (San Francisco Picture Blog)


6th Street at Natoma in 1985: This is not a pleasant walk from Market Street to here nowadays; enough said. The old Golden Gate Theater, on Golden Gate Avenue and Taylor Streets, is in the far background of both pictures. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

Backyard history

Not far from where I work, Heritage Park, bounded by C Street, D Street, Mission Blvd. and Watkins Street in Hayward, opened up last summer. The block was originally a park before the 1950 Hayward Library was built in the middle of it. The library was demolished several years ago, and the block is now a park again. Recently, commemorative markers were placed on the Watkins Street side of the park in remembrance of Executive Order 9066, signed by Franklin Roosevelt February 19th 1942; eighty years ago this Saturday. Japanese families were rounded up and sent to internment camps after Pearl Harbor. More than 600 members of these families were shipped off by bus here on Watkins Street. (Thumbnail images)

This is the spot on Watkins Street where the families, with the belongings they gathered, were taken away by bus.

“Life imitates art” (Sorry, Oscar, I just don’t buy it)

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” That’s probably Oscar Wilde’s most famous expression, but I don’t agree with it. For example, how many girls want to look like Pablo Picasso’s ‘Girl before a Mirror’? No, to me it always seems the other way around. Anyway, these are a collection of paintings and drawings where the artists are clearly imitating life or landscape, and sometimes taking artistic licenses with their work. (Thumbnail images)

This one is a 1950 program guide of a pending San Francisco 49ers playing the Los Angeles Rams football game at Kezar Stadium, posted last Sunday on the San Francisco Remembered Facebook page. I wonder how that game turned out! This picture, painted at Market and Montgomery Streets, is a lot more accurate than it looks; including the Pig ‘n Whistle and Hoffman Grill.

Looking east down California Street from Stockton Street in a 1940s TWA Advertisement. This poster was spot-on accurate. (Amazon.com)

On the opposite side of California Street from the previous update is a United Airlines poster showing a disproportionate view down California Street.

I’m not sure where the artist was going with this travel poster. Based on the cable car line, the grade of the hill, and what looks like the Hyde Street Pier near the end of the line, it appears to be looking down Hyde Street from Russian Hill. It is curious that the painter put the Bay Bridge in the background, which doesn’t come anywhere near the northern view from Russian Hill, but left out Alcatraz. (Pinterest)

The view east on Market Street from Stockton Street on a rainy pre 1906 Earthquake setting by Thomas Kinkaid, and the same view on a rainy nowadays: The crowned Call Building on the right, and the Gothic looking Mutual Savings Bank Building on the left are still around


The Palace of Fine Arts; just as beautiful to visit as it looks in the 1960s painting by Tom Hone:

A lonely fisherman fixing his nets at the Fisherman’s Wharf Boat lagoon, with Telegraph Hill in the background: You can’t see the spires of Saints Peter and Paul Church from here today, but the walkway in the background actually did have an uphill loop for boats to pass under during the 1930s. (Ted Lewy)

This one of the cable car turnaround at Powell and Markets Streets in an old postcard from the 1950s is about the most accurate drawing of this set. That’s the old Bank of America, Number One Powell Street Building behind the turnaround. (ebay.com)

E. H. Suydam was an artist whose drawings appeared in two 1930s San Francisco history and guide books; ‘San Francisco, a Pageant’, and ‘San Francisco’s Chinatown’. This sketch is at Grant Avenue and Washington Street in Chinatown, looking north.

Another E. H.Suydam drawing looking south along Spofford Alley in Chinatown: The stairs being used by people on the right in the sketch are gone now.