Russian Hill revisited, 2023

Rounding out my trilogy of San Francisco’s three most famous hills, I visited Russian Hill yesterday. (Thumbnail images)

I took Muni #45 up to Hyde Street, and walked one block north to Filbert Street, seen here in the 1920s. I’ve taken many visitors for a car ride down this portion of the block between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets. With the rollercoaster at Playland-at-the-Beach long gone, it’s one of the most thrilling rides in San Francisco now. (

Looking down Hyde Street from Lombard at someone’s sweet mom, who I’m sure that by now is being lamented every year on her birthday by her children: “Gee, Tim, do you have to be so fatalistic?” (San Francisco Public Library Archives)


I tried numerous attempts with parked cars to redo this 1960s reverse image mirror view as a cable car crossing Hyde Street at Lombard without success; mainly because you’d probably have to be in the car with the side view mirror, and anyway I don’t know how it was done. (San Francisco Public Library Archives)

Cable cars passing the building that used to look like an Alpine tavern at Hyde and Francisco Streets, heading up to the top of Russian Hill: (

Kids watching a cable car pass by on Hyde Street in 1959: Down below them is the old Russian Hill Reservoir. In 2022, a new park opened up where the reservoir used to be. The old photo is on the Hyde Street Steps leading down to the park. In the far background is the Golden Gate Bridge.


I crossed over to Francisco Street and walked east to Leavenworth Street. The view of northeast San Francisco from the Leavenworth, Francisco Streets ramp is stunning! You can see, from left to right, all the way from Angel Island and Alcatraz to Coit Tower and Saints Peter and Paul Church in my panoramic picture. The vintage photo from is looking toward the same direction from a house on Francisco Street in 1934.


Before heading back to #45, I stopped at Leavenworth and Lombard Streets to get a picture looking back up what the used to call the “Crookedest Street in the World”. It’s not only not the crookedest street in the world, it’s not the crookedest street in San Francisco; Vermont Street on Potrero Hill is crookedester. The crowds are back here again, so I had to wait awhile to get a clear photo of the famous street. The vintage photo is from 1923. (








One thought on “Russian Hill revisited, 2023

  • Lombard Street is not as bad as it looks. I drove down that section of it in a 1979 Electra. It fit just fine. A friend from Los Angeles wanted to see it, so we waited in line to get to it, but when we actually got there, she jumped out to take pictures of me driving on it from the sidewalk stairs. It was funny.

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