Saturday, October 31, 2015

San Francisco, 1943

I had some old color slides of San Francisco already scanned, so that's what is on the menu today. 1943... there was nothing historically significant going on then. Well, George Harrison was born that year, but other than that... zilch.

Almost every group of photos from Sam Frank's Disco includes a few from Chinatown; I like this colorful shot of a woman point in front of "Pacific Importers", adorned with paper lanterns. I'm sure it looked great at night. In the window, western-style mannequins (probably all that was available) wear the latest (?) fashions from Asia.

This photo appears to have been taken at a farmer's market, or something like that. Maybe this is Fisherman's Wharf? Anyway, I love the little "reading room" just for children, who presumably were supplied with copies of "Classics Illustrated" comics - famous tales such as "Robin Hood", "Huckleberry Finn", "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", "Robinson Crusoe", and more - in easy-to-read comic book format! I wish we could see what those girls were reading.

And lastly, we have a giraffe's-eye view of Market Street (near Powell), where one of the famous cable cars is being manually rotated in its turntable. In spite of the dark shadows, you can still see some awesome cars!


Nanook said...


I love these images. Interesting in the first one how madame's glove-covered right hand seems to be hanging unattached from her upper arm - looking almost as if it is a prosthesis. Strange. (Maybe she's a magicians assistant - or one herself...)

And certainly pictures 2 & 3 could be from 1943, but I'm afraid picture #1 couldn't possibly be unless a time machine was employed. The front, right corner of the vehicle which we can just see ain't from 1943 - or even 1944. It gives every indication of being a 1949 Chevrolet. Sorry. I know - I'm such the party-pooper.

Am fairly certain the "woodie" in the last image is a Ford. And the tan baby behind it, in front of the Leed's Shoes store, just could be a 1940 Plymouth Coupe.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Well, I was just too tempted to see what the street looks like today. I also wanted to know if that clock was still out on the sidewalk (in front of Samuel's Jewelers). Not only is the clock not there, but that building is also no longer standing.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I had a slight suspicion that #1 might not be from ’43; the other two are carefully hand-dated, while that one is not. #1 was in the same box as the ones from the 1940’s, so I assumed it was from the same lot. And we ALL know what happens when we assume!! Plus it just didn’t have the same “feel”, even without any knowledge of cars. Oh well, it’s still a fun image.

TokyoMagic!, I am not surprised that the building is gone; with San Francisco real estate being so valuable, I’m sure many old buildings have been replaced with steel and glass.

K. Martinez said...

I grew up with San Francisco. It's the "big city" that's closest to where I live. All I know is that it has changed so much, that it doesn't even feel like the city I knew. Still it has the most beautiful geographic views of any American city I've seen.

I wish all of you a safe and fun Halloween!

Scott Lane said...

I wonder if that poor person waiting for that transplant ever got that heart? Or maybe it's still dancing the night away...

K. Martinez said...

Oh, and about the Powell Street turntable. I remember back in the day when the tourists would wait in long lines for a ride on the Cable Car at the turntable (begin/end point) at Market and Powell while I would just walk up a few blocks and hop on it when it stopped with no wait at all.

I used to love the multi-level Woolworths (out of view to the left of the turntable). Me and a friend would walk in there and sit down and eat at the diner bar and half a vendor wash our eye glasses for free. Woolworths was such a cool old-timey place. I really do miss the San Francisco of the 60's and 70's.

Irene said...

I just love old photos like this! It's more common to see photos from the early '50's than anything from the '40's. And the colors are so rich.

Chuck said...

In the second photo, you can see the four-track electric streetcar line - by the late '40s owned by the city's San Francisco Municipal Railway - marching down the center of Market Street.

Originally a cable car operation known as the Market Street Railway, it was converted to an electrified streetcar railway after the 1906 earthquake. These four tracks originated at the Ferry Building and continued to Castro Street, where they split, with two tracks heading south on Castro and two entering the Twin Peaks Tunnel to the west.

Daily streetcar traffic on Market Street was gradually replaced by underground light rail via the Market Street Subway in 1980-82, although the two remaining streetcar tracks were left in place in Market Street. Used annually from 1983-1987 for Historic Trolley Festivals, they were returned to daily service in 1995 with the inauguration of the F Market & Wharves heritage trolley line.

You can also see the 31 Balboa line as it splits from Market and heads to our right up Eddy Street. Opened in 1932, the 31 ran from the Ferries to 30th & Balboa and was the last streetcar line built in the US until the 1960s. Streetcar service on the 31 was replaced by buses on July 2nd, 1949.

I love the fact that almost every person in that photo is wearing a hat.

This one's a keeper, Major.

K. Martinez said...

Great stuff there, Chuck! Thanks! I've ridden many of the routes and lines you mentioned. Sometimes when I go up there on business it's cool to see the BART trans, Muni-Rail, street cars and other various rail transportation systems operating up there. Where I live, 75 miles south, it's just cars and buses and one train.

Dean Finder said...

I remember bringing my dad's copy of a Classics Illustrated to English class in high school when we were studying A Tale of Two Cities.

The teacher was not amused when I steered the discussion to the color of Charles Darnay's clothes.

Major Pepperidge said...

K. Martinez, I have only been to San Fran a couple of times, but thought it was very neat. I need to go back - especially to see the Walt Disney Family Museum.

Kenneth Lane, they shouldn’t leave things laying around unless they want to lose them.

K. Martinez, oh you locals and your inside knowledge! Part of the deal for tourists might have been watching the turntable turn. But I get your point! Woolworths… it makes me sad that it isn’t around anymore, though I honestly have no personal memories of ever visiting one.

Irene, I love them too, for just the reasons you mentioned!

Chuck, you sure know a lot about those cable cars! Are they a special interest of yours?

K. Martinez, I probably only rode a San Francisco cable car at Knott’s Berry Farm.

Dean Finder, you were just asking for trouble!

Chuck said...

Major, they sure are - wonderful memories of living north of the Bay Area in the early '70s. Oddly, I only rode one once - and never at Knott's.

But truthfully, I didn't have ALL of that info locked in my brain case. I'm generally familiar with SF's rapid-transit system and its history and know just enough to know where to start looking for the juiciest details and look smrt.

Anonymous said...

I remember shopping in that Woolworths too, it was on the ground floor corner of Powell and Market. The building is still there, but different shops inside.

More trivia, Dashiell Hammett's office was in that building over Woolworths when he wrote the "Maltese Falcon" novel. Many dramatic locales in that book are only steps away from this location.

Construction of BART created what is now called Hallidie Plaza here, named after the inventor of the cable cars, the turntable is now further up the block to the left and behind us (from the photo viewpoint).

The locale is quite different now, the buildings across the street were replaced by San Francisco Center, a gigantic Westfield Mall, which is notable primarily for it's elliptical escalators, and not much else.

Cool pics, Major. Old SF is always a favorite.