‘Hills of San Francisco’ (Thumbnail images)

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”.

‘In Love and War’ (For Tom and Robin)

I found ‘In Love and War’ from 1958 to be a very enjoyable romance during a war movie. Set toward the end of World War Two, the plot concerns three Marine buddies, Robert Wagner, Jeffrey Hunter, and Bradford Dillman on shore leave in San Francisco before going overseas for fighting in the Pacific. Their three love interests are Hope Lang, unmarried and pregnant with Jeff Hunter’s child, Sheree North, Robert Wagner’s girl, who isn’t too sure about Wagner, seeing as how he’s a drunk and possibly a coward, (girls can be so particular sometimes) and Dillman’s squeeze, Dana Wynter, who’s not only an alcoholic as well, but obviously a slut! Dillman’s not too sure about their future either. The war scenes are action-packed and realistic, although nothing like the drama they’ll face on shore leave. Just kidding, the island fighting scenes are very well done. (Thumbnail images)

The film is presented in Cinemascope, so the characters are slightly elongated during the opening credits.

The three buddies enter San Francisco on a ferryboat from Oakland.

The credits fade out as they approach the Ferry Building.

As the ferryboat docks, the audience is told it’s 1944, although the island fighting episode shows film that looks like it was shot during the Battle of Tarawa, which was in November of 1943.

This was the most interesting San Francisco location in the movie. Robert Wagner pulls up to the home of his mother at Connecticut Street near 20th on Potrero Hill.

The house on the left is where his mother lives. She’s remarried to a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t like Wagner. I was able to meet the folks who live in the house on the right, and they were surprised to learn that their house is shown a number of times in the film. Tom and Robin told me that the house has been in their family for generations, and they had undoubtedly had another generation of their family members watching the film shooting.

Bob hesitates before going in. The Catholic Church, St. Teresa of Avila, is in the background at Connecticut and 19th Streets.

As a nun with a group of children pass by on their way to the church, Wagner decides that he’s not ready to go see mama yet.

He decides to stop by for several quick ones at Moran’s Bar and Grill before going home.

The building that Moran’s was in, on the northeast corner of 20th and Connecticut Streets, is still there.

When he comes out, I thought there might be a rumble, especially since one of those punks has a skull and cross bones on his jacket, but there’s no trouble, Hey, don’t mess with a Marine, even a cowardly one! (You just know that later on in the movie Robert’s going to come through when the poop hits the stoop) Fortified with necessary medicine, Wagner goes in to visit his mother, but it turns out just as awkward as he imagined it would.

A cable car heads up California Street on Nob Hill at sunrise on the last day of shore leave for the three Marines, and the film includes the obligatory view from the Top of the Mark. Other locations in the movie that I wasn’t able to include are the Hoover Tower in Palo Alto, Monterey and Carmel.















For Mom

My mom would have been one hundred years old today. She got to San Francisco long before I did. (Thumbnail images)

My mom, on the left with her cousin Frances, at the house at Anza and 24th Avenue, when she came out by train when from Grand forks, North Dakota:

Fisherman’s Wharf, where Joe DiMaggio’s Restaurant on Jefferson Street used to be:

Mom, on the right, at the old De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park:

At the old Sloat Blvd. entrance to the San Francisco Zoo, then known as Fleishhacker Zoo:

The Cliff House and Ocean Beach:






Alameda County Fair, 2022


Ah, the first day of summer, and a pleasant reminder that life’s not always where “little cable cars climb halfway to the stars.” About 39 miles southeast of San Francisco, the Alameda County Fair, interrupted since 2019 because of Covid-19, except for a week in October of 2021, began its 110th run. This IS what county fairs are all about. I got a chance to go out there last weekend to update some of those old pictures taken at the fairgrounds from the Images of America’s revised edition of its Alameda County Fair volume.(Thumbnail images)


Most visitors still enter the fair at the same location that they did here in the 1960s.


Audrey Hepburn wannabes at the Midway in the 1950s:


The Model Train Exhibit has come a long way since this 1948 picture was taken.

They still have plenty of the picture booths where visitors take those silly pictures of themselves. Yeah, that’s me; I was just as silly once too.


Dressed up visitors entering the old Floriculture Building, looks like the 1960s:

Tipsters at the old horse racing grandstand in the early 1960s: This grandstand was replaced in 1965.

A beauty contest on the Court of Four Seasons stage during the 1960s: This was about the only entertainment stage in the fair up until the 1970s. This is where the Court of Four Seasons stage once was.










The Chinatown Dragon Gate

Originally, the general consensus was that the southern border of Chinatown was Pine Street. By the 1920s, Bush Street had become more accurate. Even Dashiell Hammett points that out in his classic mystery novel ‘The Maltese Falcon’ when Sam spade takes a cab to the spot where his detective partner Miles Archer was murdered. {Where Bush Street roofed Stockton before slipping downhill to Chinatown, Spade paid his fare and left the taxicab. San Francisco’s night-fog, thin, clammy, and penetrant, blurred the street}. In 1968, construction began on the Chinatown Dragon Gate at Grant Avenue and Bush, a gift from Taiwan, permanently establishing Bush Street as the southern gateway to Chinatown. The gate was completed in 1970, and is probably the most photographed spot in Chinatown. Yesterday’s post Pandemic visitors were back here with their cameras, including me. (Thumbnail images)

This is where {Bush Street (roofs the Stockton Tunnel) before slipping downhill to Chinatown} and Grant Avenue where the Dragon Gate is. (San Francisco Pictures Blog)

These two pre Dragon Gate pictures show the view from Bush Street looking up Grant Avenue to Pine Street. They show a lively, although not completely Chinese in theme, stretch of block. The first picture is the cover of a recent book, definitely on my bucket list, and the second one is from the San Francisco Pictures Blog.

Before the Dragon Gate, there was another gateway erected here at Bush Street, as seen in this picture from the 1930s, but I haven’t found a lot of information about it yet.

The rest of the vintage pictures were taken by photographer, Vince Maggiora, for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper during construction of the Dragon Gate from 1968 to after its completion in 1970. Here you’re looking northeast from Bush Street and Grant Avenue in 1969:

The view from the southeast corner of Grant Avenue and Bush Street: I’ll bet there was a lot of burger and soda breaks among the crew.

Looking back through the gate to the southeast corner of Grant Avenue and Bush Street during construction:

Looking south down Grant Avenue toward Bush Street in 1971, after the gate’s completion:

Driving and walking through the Chinatown Dragon Gate, seen here in Vince Maggiora’s 1972 picture, has become another San Francisco must-do.









Muni Heritage Day, 2022

Muni Heritage Day, 2022: Great fun for everybody and a chance for me to update some slide pictures I took in the 1980s. (Thumbnail images)

The festival was held here between Steuart Street and the Embarcadero, in front of the Muni Heritage Museum. The Muni Heritage Museum building wasn’t around when I took my 1984 slide with the infamous Embarcadero Freeway in the background.

The free streetcar rides took the less traveled route down Steuart, and left on Mission to the Embarcadero. My picture of the intersection is from 1984; you can see the Bay Bridge and the Embarcadero Freeway in the far background.

I headed over to Market Street to hitch a bus ride up to the Civic Center. The older image is from 1983; the Embarcadero Freeway would have been behind me.


8th and Market Street, looking toward the Orpheum Theater in 1985: This would have been around the time the F Line started running vintage streetcars on a regular basis.

Market Street at Powell, looking toward the Ferry Building in 1985: The streetcar in the vintage picture was in Saturday’s festival and maybe the bus next to it too. There are a lot of vintage buildings in these shots too; the Flood Building on the left, the Phelan Building, the Call Building, the Humboldt Building and the Emporium Building across Market Street, among others.

I even got a chance to update my picture from Muni Heritage Day, 2016. I haven’t changed a bit in six years; I mean, except I got older, and more tired, and have less energy, but other than that…..







7th, 8th, and 9th Streets

This is a follow up to my 4th, 5th, and 6th Streets post, which was a follow up to my 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Streets post. It doesn’t getting any lower than that, (in street numbers). Most of these updates are where the streets intersect with Market Street; you don’t want to wander too far down 7th, 8th, or 9th Streets from Market Street, unless you enjoy seeing “the (bitter) angels of our nature”. (Thumbnail images)

7th Street at Mission Street, looking west along Mission in 1915: In a SOMA area heavily developed now, at least two buildings on the left have survived. (SFMTA Archives/San Francisco Picture Blog)

The old 7th Street Post Office Building, between Market and Mission Streets, circa 1905: They wouldn’t have had too many new-fangled automobiles on the old stone 7th Street back then. (opensfhistory.org)

Looking east along Market Street at 8th in 1941, where the much loved Crystal Palace Market was. Horse Doovers were a MacFarlane Candy confection, with a play on words for the French appetizer expression hors d’oeuvre. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

8th Street, looking toward the old City Hall near Market Street in 1905: The City Hall Building, located where the San Francisco Main Library is today, crumbled within minutes after the 1906 Earthquake. (opensfhistory.org)

Very little has changed looking east along Market Street since 1931; except for the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America Buildings peeking out over the top on the picture right of the old Empire Hotel Building. (SFMTA Archives/San Francisco Picture Blog)

Looking west along Market Street at 9th in 1985; they were just beginning to run the old streetcars along Market Street back then. Twin Peaks are in the far background of both pictures. (San Francisco Picture Blog)

Only motorcycle parking is allowed now in front of the old Wells Manufacturing Company Building on 9th Street, south of Howard Street. The vintage picture is from 1951. (opensfhistory.org)








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’ (opensfhistory.org)

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

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. (opensfhistory.org)

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. (opensfhistory.org)

The Bay Bridge under construction in the mid 1930s: (opensfhistory.org)

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.