Recently, I purchased a book on the internet entitled ‘Hills of San Francisco’, published by the San Francisco Chronicle in 1959, and with a Foreword by Herb Caen. I haven’t seen the book around for many years, and I remember it as being THE explorers guide to the forty two hills of San Francisco. Some of the hills I’ve never had a chance to visit, and some of them I’ve never even heard of. There’s a lot to read in this book, so I’ll post pictures from only a few of the hills, and let the descriptions from the book of the hills I’ve included speak for themselves. The double photos above are the front and back covers of the book. The back cover lists the hills described in the book with a map of their approximate locations. Some of the vintage pictures are from the book, and some I found elsewhere.
The view from Sutro Heights around the time the book was published and May of 2022: They’ve included a little cartoon drawing of Adolph Sutro at the bottom left of the vintage picture.
The vintage black and white photo from the book shows the northwest view from the steps of Coit Tower. Below that is a scene from the 1957 ‘Pal Joey’. Kim Novak leaves what is supposed to be the front yard of socialite Rita Hayworth. She’s frustrated over the fact that she’s falling in love with Frank Sinatra, but possibly losing him to Rita. That Hollywood garden is long gone, and so is the view from here.
Highway 101, on the western side of Potrero Hill:
The old Reservoir being constructed between Hyde Street and Larkin Streets on Russian Hill: When I took my 2021 picture, they were just beginning work on a new park replacing the reservoir. The park opened in 2022.
Looking across Huntington Park toward Grace Cathedral on Nob Hill: The building between Huntington Park and the church has been demolished, and the southern tower was completed in 1964.
Irish Hill: Well I guess I’m an “intimate”, as mentioned in the text, because I found the hill; or what’s left of it. This was the closest I could come to updating the 1950s picture. This is all that’s left of Irish Hill; the city has indeed “passed it by”.