The Mysterious City

Just a few night photos I’ve posted, courtesy of Fred Lyon, to get in the mood for Halloween: (Thumbnail images)

The Fairmont Hotel during the 1950s, with the Mark Hopkins Hotel barely visible in the background: I need a fog machine.

Looking past the Fairmont Hotel toward Sacramento Street during the 1950s:

Mason Street at Turk Street during the 1950s:

A mysterious figure coming up Mason Street out of the fog next to the Mark Hopkins Hotel, it looks like the 1940s:

Two mysterious figures at Woodside Avenue and Portola Drive in the 1940s, and a mysterious figure wannabe:







These will keep me busy (Part four)

Around four years ago I found a website with a large number of vintage San Francisco pictures at I kept busy tracking down the locations and taking pictures for updates for three posts. Last week I found a website featuring vintage San Francisco photographs from the San Francisco Public Library archive. Seeing as how their archive has 39,395 vintage pictures of San Francisco, I’ll likely be scouting out some of these locations for a long time, as well. You know, like for the rest of my life. Most of the photographs aren’t dated, and some of them aren’t the best quality, but like, it’s as good as it gets for anyone interested in vintage San Francisco images. (Thunbnail images)

Where Greenwich Street used to cut into the Embarcadero in the 1950s, looking toward Pier 23: The Tin Angel looks like some kind of a jazz dive. Greenwich stops at Battery Street now at Levi Plaza.

The Tivoli Theater at 70 Eddy Street during the 1920s: Eddy Street here, another strēt interruptus, doesn’t cut through to Powell and Market Streets anymore because of Hallidie Plaza. The old Emporium Department Store, now Bloomingdale’s, is in the far background.

Union Square Garage parking attendants during the 1940s, the decade the garage was built.

A guard tower on Alcatraz during the island’s history as a federal penitentiary, and in July of 2021, the last time I was out there.

Some kind of auto parade on Market Street at Stockton during the 1950s:

Broadway at Montgomery Street, looking west during the 1940s: The Broadway Tunnel in the far background hadn’t been built yet. I got a pretty good line up on this, considering as how I’m not as quick running out of the middle of busy streets as I used to be.

One block west from the previous picture is Broadway at Kearny Street in 1929. Although I’m a block closer to the Broadway Tunnel than Montgomery Street, the tunnel looks farther away because I used my iPhone for the shot, which works better with shadows sometimes.

The Army Port of Embarkation at Pier 15, closing down at the end of World War Two: Job well done! So many soldiers passed through here to theaters of World War Two, and a lot of them never came back.

Kids in the City (Thumbnail images)

Victorian kids at the old merry-go-round in the Children’s Playground in Golden Gate Park:

Powell and Pine Streets in 1987: One of these days they’ll invent a kid who doesn’t stick their tongue out at the camera.

What’s this little guy on Grant Avenue in Chinatown up to? Hey, mister! Let me shine your shoes or I’ll shoot you.”


Kids playing together on Kearny Street at Fresno Alley: “Can we all get along?”

Kids annoyed by the photographer on Kearny Street in the 1950s: “Leave us alooooone!” I’ve seen this movie, when their eyes light up you kill yourself! Oh, wait that was ‘Village of the Damned’.

Beach Street, 2002: Then they grow up and move away, and you walk by places where they were at, and think about them.







Fleet Week Parade of Ships, 2022

Contrary to my previous post, I did get a chance to enjoy some of the Fleet Week, 2022 festivities. Friday morning I went over to Fisherman’s Wharf to watch the Parade of Ships as they sailed into the Bay under the Golden Gate Bridge. I took pictures of the procession, and as I did a few posts back, I looked for vintage pictures later that made a reasonable comparison to my pictures. Now and thens are always more challenging to do than then and nows, but still fun to try. (Thumbnail images)

I headed over to the World War Two Liberty Ship, Jeremiah O’Brien, seen here in the top picture looking through the old Pier 43 Arch. The bottom photo in the above set is another picture I took looking toward Fisherman’s Wharf from Pier 43.

The above photo from is looking toward Pier 43 and Fisherman’s Wharf in 1983, when the old sailing ship, the Balclutha, was moored at Pier 43. The actual pier of Pier 43 is gone now, as well.

The fog was moving out of the Bay as I approached the Jeremiah O’Brien. This 1962 picture of Pier 45, taken from Pier 43 where my picture was also taken, makes a pretty good line up. The section of Pier 45, where the cargo ship in the vintage picture and the Jeremiah O’Brien are berthed, was destroyed by a fire in May of 2020. (


Like a scene from an old war movie, the ships broke through the fog and headed into the Bay….. followed closely by Godzilla. Oops, wrong movie.

It wasn’t quite the fleet that sailed into San Francisco Bay in 1908, but it was still pretty impressive. (

It’s always great to see some of the crew standing at attention while the ships sail past. Alcatraz Island is in the background. An old steamship passes by not far from the same spot in 1930. (

One of my favorite views in San Francisco is looking toward the city from the Jeremiah O’Brien. Looking over the World War Two submarine, the USS Pampanito, from left to right can be seen the Bay Bridge, Telegraph Hill with Coit Tower, Downtown San Francisco, and the slope of Nob Hill. The bottom picture is from an old postcard from the 1960s that I have looking in the exact opposite direction from the picture above.

Fleet Week, 2022; which I’ll probably miss

This week is Fleet Week, 2022 in San Francisco. Ever since the city renewed the tradition of greeting the Navy Fleet as it sailed into San Francisco Bay in 1981, I’ve tried to go over there and join in the festivities. This October, I may not be able to. You see, as the Fleet is sailing in this week, Tax Season, 2022 is sailing out. (Oh, Gawd!) October 17th is the official end of the most convoluted and difficult tax season we’ve had since I took the practice over when my dad died in 1993. For so many years I was able to get most of the tax returns finished by the April 15th deadline, and had to file only a few extensions. That isn’t the case anymore. Due to a number of reasons, mainly because the IRS doesn’t process tax returns until mid February anymore, and the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017 did NOT simplify tax returns, I’ve had to file more and more extension in April each passing tax season. I always tell the clients that I have to file the extensions for to not wait until October to file, knowing that they’re going to wait until October to file. So, with the October 17th approaching, I still have scores of tax returns to finish, and may not be able to take a day off. Anyway, in honor of the occasion, I’ll post some updates of slide pictures that I took from Telegraph Hill during Fleet Weeks in the early and mid 1980s when it really was Fleet Week, and we were still in a “Cold War”. (Thumbnail images)

Blue Angels soaring past the Coit Tower parking lot in 1983:

The Aircraft Carrier, USS Enterprise, CVA(N)-65, cruises past in 1986. My view was from Chestnut Street.

The Enterprise passes Alcatraz in 1986:


Another from Chestnut Street in 1986: Look at all those ships!

Pier 35 from Chestnut Street:

The view from Lombard Street as it heads up to Coit Tower: I think this was 1986, as well.

Looking toward the Bay Bridge from Lombard Street in 1986:

The view from Calhoun Terrace at Twilight: I’m not sure if this was 1983 or 1986. The infamous Embarcadero Freeway can be seen.

The five terminuses

These are updates I’ve done of vintage pictures taken at the five remaining cable car terminuses. “They’re not trolleys!!!” The Downtown San Francisco map here, from, shows the routes of the three remaining cable car lines in the smaller orange dashes. The orange circled C, PM, PH are at the beginning and ending destinations of the lines, and represent the California Line, the Powell, Mason Line, and the Powell, Hyde Line. (Thumbnail images)

I’ll begin at the Aquatic Park turntable terminus of the PH Line. This vintage picture taken during the mid 1960s is a neat little time capsule, including the clothes, the old cable car signal light, and the gripman with the cigarette in his mouth. (Glenn Christiansen)

Another view from Aquatic Park in 1969: That’s the Ghirardelli Square Tower peeking out over the cable car in both pictures. (

Kids on the turntable at Bay and Taylor Streets on the PM Line in the 1950s: (Vintage Everyday)

I did this update from a piece of film, taken at Bay and Taylor Streets during the early 1970s, in December of 2020 when the cable cars were not running due to the Covid-19 shutdown. Cost Plus imports had just closed in 2020, but the old 76 gas station is still in business. (

Where the California Street cable car line comes into and out of Market Street on the C Line in 1960: (

A cable car leaving the California and Market Streets terminus during the 1960s: (San Francisco Pictures Blog)

No long queue lines at the loneliest cable car terminus of all five at California Street and Van Ness, seen in the vintage picture during the 1950s. You can’t see Grace Cathedral from here anymore. (Phil Palmer)

California Street and Van Ness in the 1960s: I just snapped this one yesterday, and it was as close as I could get to a comparison; if you step out into busy Van Ness and pause to take a picture, you just might wind up making the news. I probably was standing about where the manhole cover in the vintage picture is.

The busiest terminus of them all, PH, PM at Powell Street and Market, seen in the 1930s: The long lines are back here again, and they’re a welcome sight.

Another angle of the Powell and Market Street terminus in 1967: