The SS Jeremiah O’Brien Memorial Cruise, 2022

Two Mays ago, May 23rd 2020, a horrific fire destroyed one fourth of Pier 45 at Fisherman’s Wharf, and nearly destroyed the historic World War Two Liberty Ship, the SS Jeremiah O’Brien, docked at Pier 45. Only the quality action of firefighters saved the ship from destruction. Last Saturday, the Jeremiah O’Brien was able to take visitors on her traditional May Memorial Cruise for the first time since May of 2019.(Thumbnail images)

A dramatic aerial photo from WTOP News shows a fireboat, not only trying to put out the fire on Pier 45, but also, desperately trying to save the Jeremiah O’Brien. The aft section of the Liberty Ship is at the top of the photo.

Firefighters at the intersection of Jefferson and Taylor Street, stretch hoses through Fisherman’s Wharf to try to reach Pier 45: Due to the Covid 19 shelter-in-place order issued two months earlier, Fisherman’s Wharf was nearly empty when the fire broke out. The crowds were back at the Wharf for the Memorial Day Weekend of 2022. By coincidence, I got a fire truck in my current picture looking north on Taylor Street past the Fisherman’s Wharf sign.(WTOP News)


Firefighter run hoses past the Musee Mecanique arcade attraction, closed at the time of the fire. (WTOP News)

A hose from the crane of a fire truck pours water on the destroyed Shed C section of Pier 45. Rigging from Jeremiah O’Brien can be seen on the right in the earlier picture. The ruins of Shed C in the background have been completely removed now. (WTOP News)

An ABC TV drone photo shows Pier 45 before and after the fire.

With the Jeremiah O’Brien getting up steam for her 2022 Memorial Cruise, we logged in at 9:A.M.

Crew member, Kevin, explained to a few guests how the ship operates.

“It’s like a Tesla self driving car. You push this button here, and it cruises around the Bay by itself.”

They weren’t buying it.

Some of the ladies were dressed in period costume. You folks aren’t buying that either.

Looking back to the destroyed Shed C section of Pier 45 as we pulled away and headed out to the “high seas”: That’s not as inaccurate as it sounds: we didn’t quite make it into international waters, but we got out into the Pacific Ocean.

As we got underway, the guests relaxed to enjoy the cruise.

We circled around Alcatraz, seen a 1960 picture, from a near angle as the current picture, and headed out to the Golden Gate. Although not as many as the earlier days, there were still quite a number of prisoners on the “Rock” when the 1960 picture was taken’ (

A view of the north Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge as we passed under from near where the 1950s picture was taken: (

When we sailed out into the Pacific Ocean, flowers and wreaths were tossed over the port side of the ship for veterans and crew members of the Jeremiah O’Brien lost since the last Memorial Cruise, and Taps were played.

After the ceremony, we headed back for a cruise under the Bay Bridge, seen in 1961 in the old photo. (

The tugboats hooked up with us again as we neared Pier 45, and pushed us back into port. With a little editing, my picture lines up pretty good with the old 1958 picture looking toward Pier 41. The sailing ship, the Balclutha, now tied up at the Hyde Street Pier, is in the left in the vintage picture.

A city in motion, part two (Thumbnail images)

Motion on the Bay Bridge in the 1970s: I should have been one more lane over to the center, but I have two excuses; the truck in my picture would have blocked out the Bay Bridge towers. Also, I took my picture before I found the 70s picture, and it made a good match up.

People in motion at Market, Ellis, and Stockton Streets in 1947: No, it’s not your imagination; there definitely aren’t as many people in my picture at this corner as there was in the old photo. In fact, I’m not sure there were that many people in all of San Francisco on the day I took my picture! Both pictures are looking across Market Street to the old Pacific Building on Market Street and 4th, built in 1907. (SF Gate/San Francisco Chronicle)


The motion of mass transit; the Muni Metro Powell Station in the 1980s: The Muni Metro Subway System is another one of the things that “The city that knows how” gets an A+ on. (SFMTA Archives)

Traffic in motion near the Embarcadero Freeway entrance at Broadway and Sansome Street in the 1970s: I used this entrance often before it was demolished in 1991, and I have to admit that made getting to the Bay Bridge easier. However, that said, I don’t miss the Embarcadero Freeway one inkling. (Redditt)

The motion of a parade: “When Johnny comes marching home again. Hurrah! Hurrah!” Doughboys marching past 5th and Market Streets in 1918; back from the World War One battlegrounds of Europe: (SF Gate/San Francisco Chronicle)





The new Treasure Island Ferry Service

I should have posted this yesterday after I took the ride; it would be a great place to take your mom for lunch on Mother’s Day. They have a restaurant out there that gets favorable reviews called the Mersea Restaurant, which probably isn’t going to be crowded today. The fifteen minute boat ride cost five bucks out and five bucks back, and is well worth it with the spectacular views of San Francisco and the Bay along the ride. (Thumbnail images)

The skyline view of San Francisco is a lot different now than it was in 1970. You can still see at least three buildings from here  now, The Ferry Building, the Southern Pacific Building, and the Bank of America Building. (

The Bay Bridge under construction in the mid 1930s: (

You dock across from the old Administration Building, one of the only three surviving buildings from the 1939/1940 Treasure Island International Exposition on the island.

Inside the Administration Building:


In the 1939 film ‘Charlie Chan at Treasure Island’, staring Sidney Toler as Chan, there’s a great aerial view of the fair from the Pan Am flying boat that  Charlie Chan arrives at Treasure Island from Hawaii on. It passes over the Administration Building and the Sun Tower.

Docking at Clipper Cove, Chan is hot on the trail of another murderer. That’s the new and old eastern span of the Bay Bridge in the background.

The old Clipper Cove, where the China Clipper Flying boats used to take off and arrive overseas to and from the Philippines.

The mutiny trial from the 1954 film ‘The Caine Mutiny’, starring Humphrey Bogart, takes place in the Administration Building. Here, Jose Ferrer passes the checkpoint in a Jeep on his way to the Administration Building to prepare for his defense of the mutineers.


The jeep pulls up to entrance to the Administration Building.

Pulling away from the island, and heading back to the office just in time to catch the Kentucky Derby Race on TV.

Chinatown, 2022

Some people spend their leisure time golfing, and some people spend their leisure time on their yacht; that second one’s still in the planning stage for me. Some people spend their leisure time climbing tall mountains; I’ll get around to that someday too.  Me, I spend my leisure time taking pictures in San Francisco, especially in Chinatown. What is it about this ancient ghetto that draws me to it? It’s not really ancient, most of it only goes back to 1906, and it’s not really a ghetto (marginal community) although I’ve read it being described as one by some urban scholars. My interest in the area goes back to when we were kids; going to Chinatown seemed like going to a different part of the world. Then, as I read more about the history of the community, the shanghaiing, opium dens, sexual slavery, tong wars, villains like “Little Pete”, it became more adventurous to go there. I think Telegraph Hill is the most romantic place in San Francisco to walk around at night, but Chinatown is the most intriguing. Chinatown is rebounding nicely from the COVID 19 Pandemic, and it’s good to see the crowds coming back. (Thumbnail images)

Grant Avenue at Commercial, looking south in the 1960s: (Pinterest)

The Willie “Woo Woo” Wong Playground in 1969. The playground has been recently renovated. The alley running alongside it from Sacramento to Clay Street is called Pagoda Place and Hang Ah Street. (Vintage Everyday)

Jackson Street at Ross Alley, looking west in 1969: The old Grandview Theater Building is on the right. This one turned out better in black and white. (Vintage Everyday)

Grant Avenue, looking north toward Clay Street in the 1960s: (Pinterest)

Jackson Street between Stockton Street and Grant Avenue, looking east in 1972: Even if the truck wasn’t blocking the view in my picture, you can’t see much of the old Appraisers Building in the background from here anymore. (Vintage Everyday)

Waverly Place, looking north from Clay Street in 1982: In the background, at the far end of Waverly Place, is the spot where the tong lord, “Little Pete” was assassinated in 1897. (Vintage Everyday)