A city in motion

MotionBBridgeuseYou have to enter San Francisco from the Bay Bridge pretty early nowadays to catch traffic as light as it was in this color photo from the 1940’s. (Vintage Everyday)

transpoferrytwo“All aboard for the Dramamine Express!” Those old buses, like the one these ladies are boarding at the Ferry Building during the 1950’s, may not have been as uncomfortable as I’m making them out to be, but I’m sure they’re not as comfortable as today’s Muni buses. (Lucian Rosca)

MotionccaroneuseA cable car crosses Geary Blvd. on Powell Street heading toward Market Street in the 1940’s:

MotionclockuseStreet and sidewalk motion in the 1970’s and today: That’s the old Samuels Clock, installed on Market Street in 1915. The clock, now a San Francisco Landmark, was moved a little from its original Market Street location in 1943. (24media.com)

hyderedo A scooter and cable car crossing paths on Hyde Street at Chestnut in the early 1960’s: The cable car in my photo was heading down Russian Hill unlike the vintage picture and I could have waited here for hours for a scooter, so I’ll just settle for the cable car. (Michael Bry)

MotionStocktonSutteruseSutter Street looking east at Stockton Street during the 1940’s: This is a wider angle of a clearer photo I posted on June 1st this month showing the location of the legendary Forbidden City nightclub on Sutter Street. (SFMTA)


CrossingsopenuseSometime near the end of 1985 or early 1986, I drove over to Fort Mason to visit the Liberty Ship, Jeremiah O’Brien. She was tied up at there back then and having recently learned about the ship, I had already visited her on previous occasions. Fort Mason didn’t have as much activity back then as today, (although nothing compares to the activity there during World War Two) so I parked in the parking lot and headed toward the Liberty Ship. It was a chilly day and I remember that I was wearing a red jacket with the words ‘San Francisco’ on it that I bought earlier that year in Fisherman’s Wharf. As I approached the ship I saw a number of 1940’s cars parked around the pier the Jeremiah O’Brien was docked at and a group of people in clothing from that period standing around or boarding the ship. I’m sure that the Jeremiah O’Brien charged a fee back then but as I mixed in with the crowd and headed up the gangplank nobody said any thing to me. When I got on board, it was obvious that a scene from some movie being produced was about to be filmed. By talking to some of the crew I learned that it was going to be a miniseries called ‘Crossings’, set during World War Two and starring Cheryl Ladd of ‘Charlie’s Angels’ fame. That was all I needed to hear to decide to hang around. Soon there she was only a few feet from me walking toward the starboard aft side of the ship for the filming of the burial at sea episode of the miniseries. I moved up a ladder to watch the filming, and since Cheryl was facing my direction during the filming I’m sure that she saw me, or at least I hope so. A number of scenes were filmed around or aboard the Jeremiah O’Brien and here are some then and nows from the movie. Keep in mind that while they were filming these scenes I was always hovering around nearby trying to look cool for Cheryl Ladd.

Crossingsburial1useThe first scene I watched them shoot was a burial at sea. I’m standing about where I was watching that scene long ago; it was filmed just past the lifeboat where the garbage cans are. The Jeremiah O’Brien is now located in Fisherman’s Wharf.

Crossingsburial2The bodies were laid to rest on the side she was docked at in the show so the crane cameras could capture this scene. That’s costars Cheryl Ladd and Lee Horsley in the center.

CrossingsladderuseThis scene was right up where I was at during the burial scene so I had to move back out of the way. Cheryl and Lee move down the ladder from second to first deck.

CrossingsstairsuseCrossingspassagewayuseThey headed to their romantic encounter through this passage.

Crossingsbeduse It’s been a trying day watching sailors buried at sea so even though Lee Horsley is married to Jane Seymour in the film, and Cheryl Ladd is married to Christopher Plummer, they go to Horsley’s cabin and play choo-choo in the tunnel.

CrossingshammockuseLee and Cheryl fool around a lot while aboard ship like here in a hammock on the starboard aft side. It didn’t seem to bother the crew much.

CrossingsFMason1useBack over at Fort Mason, this was the scene that they had just finished filming when I showed up of the ship arriving at port.

CrossingsO'Brienuse The Jeremiah O’Brien’s name was changed to Dorchester for the film. Here she is today at Pier 45.

CrossingsgoodbyeuseA time for, “Gosh, we shouldn’t have done that!” goodbyes. That’s the Van Ness Pier on the far right.

CrossingstearsuseThe inevitable goodbye kiss and tearful parting:

“Why are you crying, my dear?”

“I’m thinking about that cute guy in the red San Francisco jacket I saw on the ship. I may never see him again!”

And she never did!

CrossingsdriveawayuseCheryl drives away, but it’s only half way through the miniseries so they’ll be seeing each other again.

CrossingscloseuseLee Horsley looks back tenderly at Cheryl Ladd, and Cheryl looks back thinking, “I wish that guy I had to kiss would get out of the way so I can see if that fellow in the red jacket is getting off the ship.”


San Francisco in the 1950’s…. all in unnatural color

GBridgeredoBy the 1950’s, color photography was getting less and less expensive, although, the “natural color” had a little ways to go yet.

FairmontredoI’m not sure that I dislike the look of the Fairmont Hotel lobby back then, but it hurts my eyes!

Tpeaksredo When you make it up to Twin Peaks and the colors are as good as the old photo, you picked the perfect day to be there.

FStandredoGrant Avenue, down from Chinatown: Aw, hope he got a nice tip.

FWharfredo It was nice of that fellow to pose for me at Fisherman’s Wharf. He wasn’t crabby about it at all!

TMarkredoLooks like there’s more than just “natural color” on this old souvenir book, but I’m not going to guess what it is. Same view, different colors, both from the Top of the Mark.

More black and white photos (For Suzanne)

Well, we’ve moved into another month. With less than three weeks of spring left I’m wondering if,

the Giants can avoid a “June Swoon” – or the Warriors will be champions soon – as I update my blog this afternoon.

Yeah, I know. Sorry!

B&WStocktonuseThe southwest corner of Sutter and Stockton Streets in 1946: If you look down Sutter Street in the background of the vintage picture, you’ll see the Forbidden City night club, once San Francisco’s answer to New York’s Cotton Club. (Pinterest)

B&WUSquareuse Union Square in 1948: The I. Magnin Department Store is now part of Macy’s, the City of Paris Department Store behind the Dewey Monument has been demolished, and there’s so little grass in Union Square today it’s hardly worth the name. (Roger Sturtevant)


B&WArmoryuseThe old Armory Building in the Mussion District, seen from Woodward Street in the 1970’s:

B&WCtownuseWashington Street, looking west from Grant Avenue in 1944: The building with the Chop Suey sign in the old photo has been remodeled and was where the Golden Dagon Restaurant, the site of one of the worst massacres in modern San Francisco history, was located.

B&W4thuseIt was a lot nicer when I took my picture looking across Market Street to 4th Street than it was on this cold day in 1935 (SFMTA)

Memorial Day Weekend in Disneyland

Dland1966useHarbor Blvd across from the entrance to Disneyland in 1966: At least Denny’s is still there. (UCLA digital library collection)

DlandCinemause  The Main Street Cinema in the 1960’s:

Dlandoutfituse“What, this glamorous outfit that I wore to Disneyland so that I could show it off? Why, I’ve had it for years!”

I don’t know what this building behind her in Frontierland was in the 1960’s, but it’s a small restaurant today. Nothing much was open when I took some of these pictures because if you stay at one of the Disneyland Resort Hotels they let you into the park an hour before they open. (Galadarling)

DlandMStreet1983useMain Street USA in a slide I took in 1983: Well, at least you can still see Sleeping Beauty Castle through the forest.

DlandWOBrasuseThe Wizard of Bras ladies underwear shop on Main Street: I guess some things had to go. Hmmm, someone is peeking in the window. (DisneyShawn)

Dland1985useSome of my family in front of the Main Street Train Station in 1985:

DlandWaltuse“Uncle” Walt deep in thought on Main Street near the City Hall:

Dlandceremonyuse Disneyland remembered the real meaning of Memorial Day with a ceremony honoring fallen vets during the flag lowering at the end of the day at Main Street Plaza.


CAADventureredo California Adventure – 1983 and now: The top photo is the Disneyland Parking Lot where California Adventure is today from a slide picture I took in 1983. That was in “Section G as in Goofy”.

The Veterans Memorial Cruise, 2018

It’s a busy weekend in San Francisco, this one is. Today is the Bay to Breakers Race. This evening Kim Novak will be at the Castro Theater for a screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film ‘Vertigo’ celebrating the 60th anniversary of its release. And yesterday was the Veterans Memorial Cruise aboard the SS Jeremiah O’Brien. The cruise honors veterans living and dead and a wreath laying ceremony is conducted on the voyage each year for some of the veterans lost. Once again I relied on http://opensfhistory.org/ for vintage pictures to compare with some of the photos that I took along the journey.

CruiseopeneruseThere were a surprising number of World War Two veterans on hand and some interesting uniforms.

CruiseauthorsuseThere were also a number of authors who have written books on military subjects autographing their books.

CtuiseRussianHilluseWe departed Pier 45 on a windy but beautiful day. This is Russian Hill in 1955. The street climbing the hill in the center of both pictures is Hyde Street.

Thill1927redo We sailed around Telegraph Hill, seen in 1927 without Coit Tower.

Cruise1968useWe’re approaching the Ferry Building, seen in 1968. That’s the Bank of America Building going up in the old photo.  There was no Hyatt Regency and no Embarcadero Center yet. The Bank of America Building, not the “king of the hill” anymore, can be seen on the right along with the Alcoa Building in my picture.

CruiseFBuilding1906useWe’re lined up with the Ferry Building at the foot of Market Street seen in 1906 with scaffolding around the tower to repair damage from the earthquake.

CruiseBBridgetoweruseWe’ve sailed under the Bay Bridge and you’re looking at the western most tower of the bridge being erected in the 1930’s. The old Hills Brothers Coffee Factory can be seen in both pictures.

CruiseAT&TParkuseNow we’re at the China Basin, now called McCovey Cove after the San Francisco Giants slugger. The vintage picture is circa 1922. Just behind that ship is where AT&T Park is now. The baseball park was quiet and empty when we sailed past, but it was crowded and loud later in the evening when the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 9 to 4.

CruisePotreroHilluseNow we’re cruising past Potrero Hill. The gas and water towers are gone now, but the smokestack from the old Potrero Generating Station is still there.

CruiseceremonyuseWhen we reached Hunters Point a moving wreath laying ceremony was held. I noticed that none of the ships or boats on our horizon were moving as well, so I wondered if they were respecting the ceremony also. However, an old salt on the Jeremiah O’Brien said that they were just waiting to be guided into port by a port harbor boat. I don’t know about that though, the little boat among them didn’t need guiding in!

Cruiseferryboatredo We headed back to town by a different and interesting route. It was time to relax, like these ladies on a ferry boat were doing in 1954, and enjoy some of the free coffee, donuts, hot dogs, and beer.

CruiseEastspanuseOur return trip took us under the new Eastern Span of the Bay Bridge that replaced the old cantilever span, seen in 1960 in the vintage picture. The Eastern Span opened in 2013.

CruiseEastspantwouseAnd under the bridge we went! That’s the first time I, and probably most of the people on board the Jeremiah O’Brien, had ever done that.

Cruisecloser1964useSo, we headed back to Fisherman’s Wharf, guided in by tug boats. That’s the old sailing ship Balclutha that used to be docked at Pier 43 in the 1964 picture. There was no Bank of America Building, Transamerica Pyramid, or Salesforce Tower back then, and two of the more cherished buildings in the old photo, Coit Tower and Saints Peter and Paul Church, can still be seen.

The 70’s again (Can you tell?)

70sCalifoneuseLooking down California Street between Powell and Mason Streets in the 1970’s; no stoplights back then, and they don’t advertise Jim Beam Whiskey on cable cars anymore. The parking sign was where the old Crest Garage, then called the Rolls Garage, was located. It was demolished in February, 2018. (Vintage pictures from the photo researchers of Minerva S.A., 1977)

70sCalif2usePowell and California Streets: I had a nice line up on this one, I wish it had been a clearer day.

70sCTowngateuseAh, the entrance to the mystic world of Chinatown! You know that you’re in an exotic location when the signs read ‘Country Burger’ and ‘Coca Cola’ at the entrance.

70sCTownuse“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign”: There are still a lot of signs in Chinatown today, but they’re not “breakin’ my mind” like in that old 70’s song, and the red lanterns of nowadays are an added improvement.

70sMontgomeryuseThe old Crocker Bank on the corner of Montgomery and Post Streets: This was the bank where Lee Remick’s character Kelly Sherwood worked in the 1962 film, ‘Experiment in Terror’. Crocker Bank is defunct now and the top floors of the building were removed at the end of the 1970’s for a rooftop park.

70sHydeuseIt was a lot prettier of a day in San Francisco today when I finished this set than it was a few days ago. In fact, it was about the nicest spring day I’ve had in town so far. I was trying to figure out why Alcatraz Island seems to tilt so much in the older picture looking down Hyde Street after you pass Chestnut Street. Of course, it’s partly due to the photographer, but it actually does seem to slant as you move further down from Chestnut. Probably because Hyde doesn’t run directly toward Alcatraz. Or maybe Alcatraz does tilt occasionally and no one has ever been able to figure out why.

70sVictorianuseThey used to call this peaceful portion of Aquatic Park on Beach Street Victorian Park, but I don’t know if anybody calls it that anymore.

70sCanneryuseThe Ben Jonson Restaurant in the old Del Monte Cannery Building near Fisherman’s Wharf was very popular in the 1970’s. They served mostly recipes from England, but I’ll bet they didn’t serve Yorkshire pudding!

70sTurnarounduseIf I have critics, and nobody’s worth much if they don’t, “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you”, they’ll probably say, “He’s always posting pictures of the same spots.” There’s truth in this, but I always feel that the website isn’t about my pictures; they’re, at best, pleasant snapshots. However, the vintage pictures are what it’s all about. I’ve probably posted dozens of pictures at the Powell and Market Streets cable car turnaround, but I keep discovering new pictures from the past of this location and these are what make a then and now comparison fun to look at. In short, sometimes when I post these pictures, “this I do for me.” The long cable car lines of today hadn’t really started forming yet back then and, surprisingly, the line a couple of days ago when I took the current picture was smaller than they were in the 1970’s!