My last day at the terminal, Terminal

I not only wanted to be there, I had to be there in August of 2010 on the last day of service at the Transbay Terminal on Mission Street. Built in 1939, this transportation hub was my introduction to San Francisco at age 15 when my buddies and I learned how to take a bus from Castro Valley into the City. It was always a long trip there and back, involving a transfer of buses, but the magic feeling at the sight of the inside of the Transbay Terminal was as exciting as the view of the Disneyland Matterhorn was as a kid after a long drive with my family from Northern California. From the Terminal, my friends and I discovered Golden Gate Park, Playland-at-the-Beach, the Cliff House, Chinatown, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Embarcadero, Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower, cable cars…… oh, don’t get me started. Too late! The building was already old when I discovered it, and it’s amazing that it still lasted for decades after that. These are then and thens of pictures I recently found from the San Francisco Public Library archives in comparison to some of the pictures I took the day before the Transbay Terminal closed forever. (Thumbnail images)

The view of the Transbay Terminal during the 1950s from the northeast corner of Mission and Fremont Streets:

The third level of the terminal where the trains and buses loaded and unloaded passengers, showing the tracks of the Key System Train Service:

Passengers boarding one of the Key System trains that traveled to and from the East Bay Area by way of the lower deck of the Bay Bridge:

One of the ramps leading up to the third level of the Transbay Terminal: There must have been something pretty exciting going on in the East Bay when the vintage picture was taken.

Long ago ladies going down the stairs to the first level of the terminal, and my picture I took of one of the stairs leading down to the mezzanine: I’m assuming that they got off the train; when you’re dressed like that you don’t have to take a bus.

People packing into one of the buses on the third level, looks like the 1960s or early 1970s, and one lonely looking passenger boarding a bus on the last day of service in August of 2010:


Some of the people who’ll miss the Transbay Terminal posted comments on the Market Street Railway internet page, like this person.

Taking the long way to Tad’s (For Tad’s Steak House)

Yesterday, I headed over to San Francisco on BART for a breakfast at Tad’s Steak House on Ellis Street. If I get off at the Powell Street BART Station, I’m only about two minutes on foot to Tad’s. Knowing that I was planning on tackling a high cholesterol and unhealthy breakfast, I decided to take a roundabout way to Tad’s to get a little exercise first, and take a few pictures I’ve wanted get along the way. I got off BART two stops early at the Embarcadero Station, walked along Drumm to Sacramento Street, and caught the Muni #1 bus up the hill to Grant Avenue, Chinatown, and started heading back to Tad’s. (Thumbnail images)

At California Street I was able to update a 1950s picture of the St. Mary’s Square Garage. Some of the buildings you can see behind the garage in the vintage picture from left to right are the tall Russ Building, the Hobart Building, and the Hunter-Dulin Building with its Gothic looking roof. All of these are blocked now by buildings I couldn’t name if I had to. (San Francisco Public Library Archives)

I doubled back to Grant Avenue through St. Mary’s Square, the most peaceful spot in Chinatown. I love that little park, and I’ve never seen it as crowded as in this photo that looks like it’s from the 1940s. During World War Two, Madame Chiang Kai-shek, easily the most famous Asian woman in the world at that time, paid a visit to St. Mary’s Square. . (San Francisco Public Library Archives)

Leaving Chinatown, I moved down Grant Avenue to Maiden Lane, cut through to Stockton Street, and double back to Post Street to get this update of a 1940s picture taken at the northeast corner of Union Square. . (San Francisco Public Library Archives)

I crossed through Union Square to Powell Street, and walked down the west side of Powell to update this late 1950s picture from the San Francisco Remembered Facebook page of two ladies passing by Tad’s Steak House at 120 Powell Street, where the restaurant originally opened in 1955. In 2019, Tad’s closed on Powell Street, and moved around the corner to Ellis Street. Tad’s was right behind where the couple with the child in my picture were.

Ah, I’m getting closer and hungrier. I’m happy to say that the neon Tad’s Steaks sign made the move to Ellis, as well.

When I finished my breakfast and left Tad’s, I crossed over to Ellis Street at Powell, doubled back along Ellis to Market Street, and walked back along Market to the Powell Street BART Station. On the way, I did an update of the old clock across Market Street from the Emporium Building where the Bloomfield Shopping Center is now. The clock is not accurate nowadays, it was not 8:40. Before I left, I looked at the walking tracker app on my iPhone and found that I covered 2.6 miles on my journey. That ought to be enough exercise to offset eggs over easy, link sausages, hash browns, and toast.

‘Tis the season

Union Square is getting all decked out for the Holiday Season again. Once again, this little park will become probably the busiest shopping area in Northern California. Police presence will increase to deter smash-and-grabbers, and even those who avoid San Francisco because they fear the city is full of Commies and heathens, will come to Union Square to revive that Christmas feeling. After Fifth Avenue in New York City, Union Square may be the best urban area in the country to capture that ‘Miracle on 34th Street’ atmosphere.The vintage pictures are from the San Francisco Public Library Archives (Thumbnail images)

Dazed people gathering in Union Square just after the 1906 Earthquake: The Dewey Monument is on the left. The steel framed building under construction in the center of the old photo was completed after the disaster and is still there. The crown of the Call Building can be seen peeking out over the top of the original City of Paris Building, and is now the remodeled Central Tower behind Neiman Marcus.

The southeast corner of Union Square at Geary and Stockton Streets during World War Two: Hmmm, would I have bought War Bonds or Old Sunny Brook Whiskey?

The north side of Union Square, looking toward Maiden Lane during the 1940s:

Looking toward the St. Francis Hotel and some temporary Alpine Village on display during the 1970s:

Looking over the eastern side of Union Square toward Stockton Street and Maiden Lane during the 1950s: The November shadows kind of screwed my picture up a little, but it was the closest I could get to where the vintage photo was taken from. The ice skating rink on the left in my photo is getting ready to open for the 2022 Season.

Segue to November, 2022

All of these updates, except the black and white California and Sansome one, I did during the last week of October. The weather was perfect; “Second Summer” weather, in what used to be called an “Indian Summer”, made for a pleasant wrap up of my October, 2022 posts. The last update I did on November 1st, was when the weather turned suddenly cold and ugly. I took that to be nature’s way of warning us that winter is coming, but we still have nearly two more months of autumn, so I’m not going to take yesterday too seriously. The vintage pictures are from the San Francisco Public Library Archives. (Thumbnail Images)

The old Steinhart Aquarium and the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, demolished in 2005. I don’t know when the vintage picture was taken, but it was before the Sutro was built in 1973. I first visited Steinhart Aquarium on a field trip in the 6th grade. I bought a baby octopus preserved in a jar of formaldehyde and water. While the rest of the kids bragged about their new bike or skateboard, I had an octopus! The kids on the block “got nothin’ on this baby.”

The Number One Powell Street Building, originally the Bank of Italy Building, completed in 1920: The cable car turntable here is not in the same location today as it was when the vintage picture was taken, so I had to use a wider picture to get a cable car in.

Bush Street, between Sansome and Battery Streets, in the 1920s: I’ve always been intrigued by that thin little building with the advertising at 130 Bush Street, but I don’t know much about it, except that it was probably build in 1910, and the rumor isn’t true that only skinny people can work there. You can just see it today, squeezed in even more by the Shell Building that was constructed in 1930.

The old Audiffred Building on the corner of Mission and Steuart Streets, originally constructed in 1889: On “Bloody Thursday” during the 1934 water front strike, two strikers were shot to death on the Mission Street side of the building, which is around the corner on the right side of the pictures.

I got a pretty good line up on this one at Geary Blvd. and Powell Street, next to the St Francis Hotel looking toward Union Square. I’m not sure what those marks on the old photo were all about.

California Street at Sansome in the 1940s: Black and white’s better when wet; rain doesn’t color well. Fortunately there was a regular break in traffic on California Street due to street lights, so I was able to get a shot between the cable car tracks. Although not a ghost town, the Financial District still hasn’t come back all of the way from Covid 19.

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: