Drumm Street

Drumm-de-Drumm-Drumm! That’s the theme to the old television show ‘Dragnet’. On the first Saturday I took off work since December, I rode BART into San Francisco and got off at the Market, California, and Drumm Streets stop at Embarcadero. Drumm Street used to extend six blocks from Market Street to the Embarcadero at Broadway, but most of the buildings built on Drumm, except for the Western side between California and Sacramento, have been demolished for the Embarcadero Center, Maritime Plaza, and the apartments between Jackson Street and Broadway. The street may have lost its character, (Herb Caen once wrote that there was a building called the Fife Building on Drumm Street) but it’s a lot more people friendly today. (Thumbnail images)

There was a cool picture of a drawing in the San Francisco Chronicle recently of a 1961 artist’s rendition of what the BART Transbay Tube was going to look like.


Looking down California Street toward Drumm Street in 1948: That’s the Southern Pacific Building in the background. (opensfhistory.org)

Pedestrians crossing Drumm Street at Market Street in 1925: (opensfhistory.org)

A cable car passing across Drumm Street, heading to Nob Hill in 1961: I did an update of this picture last year, but I felt like redoing it on Saturday. (San Francisco Picture Blog)


General De Gaulle’s motorcade turns of Drumm Street onto California Street during his 1961 visit to San Francisco. All of the buildings in the background, other than the Southern Pacific Building, peeking over the top on the left, have been demolished.






Vintage San Francisco

There’s a Facebook page that I found recently titled, aptly, Vintage San Francisco. They’ve posted some wonderful long-ago San Francisco pictures, but they haven’t updated their page recently. I hope they continue posting. Here are a few updates I’ve done of some of their vintage photos. (Thumbnail images)


Market Street at Grant Avenue, circa 1917: “The Largest American Flag in the World” flies above Market Street.


A 1909 postcard of the Sharon House at the Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park:

The White House Department Store on the corner of Sutter Street and Grant Avenue in an undated photo: the building was built in 1908, and now houses the Banana Republic Store.


Just two days ago, April 18th, a crowd, including Mayor London Breed and former Mayor Willie Brown gathered here at Lotta’s Fountain at 5:12 AM to commemorate the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The vintage picture, with the Chronicle Building on the left, and the Palace Hotel on the right, is from 1909.


A mother and her two daughters pass the Cliff House heading up to the Sutro Bathhouse, circa 1900: Looks like there was some bullying going on between the big girl in the dress on the right and the little girl with her mom, looking back.


409 Laguna Street in 1908: Maps of the 1906 Fire show that the blaze extended to three blocks west of Van Ness to Octavia Street. The Laguna Apartment Building here is one block further west past Octavia, and if it was around two years before the vintage photo was taken, it just missed destruction.






Tax Day, 2022

Tomorrow is April 18th, Tax Day, 2022. It’s also the anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. I’m trying to figure out a clever connection there, but like any of the tax returns I’m supposed to finish by April 18th, I’m still working on it. Anyway, in honor of the occasion, here are some updates I’ve posted in the past of vintage pictures from the disaster.(Thumbnail images)

Looking down Market Street, near 5th: The Flood Building, center left, is among several buildings in the vintage picture that survived.

Looking across Union Square toward Union Square:

The foot of Market Street where the Hyatt Regency, on the right, is today:

Kearny Street, up from Broadway, looking south:

This photograph by Arnold Genthe, looking down Sacramento Street from Powell, is often listed as one of the ten best photographs ever taken.

The fire approaching the Ferry Building, in a view from the Bay: The width of the Embarcadero prevented the fire from destroying the historic building.

Looking east on Market Street: The gothic looking Mutual Savings Building in the center, and the now remodeled Call Building on the right are still around.

The Ferry Building from where the Embarcadero Center is today:

The Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park:

Looking northeast from Alamo Square, long before ‘Full House’:

A southeast view of Downtown San Francisco from below Nob Hill: