Saturday, March 20, 2021

Vintage San Francisco

It's time for another visit to Sam Frank's Disco! Vintage style.

I love this first picture, from 1949, with what I assume are three generations of women (well, two women and one baby) standing in front of their very cute house with a thriving flower garden. I sure wish I knew where this was exactly - it would be fun to see if the house still exists.

Everyone loves the cable cars in SF; are there other cities in the U.S. that have similar cable car systems? These venerable conveyances helped people navigate San Francisco's considerable hills. This boy (in a photo from June, 1956) is about to hop on. He is wearing one of those change holders on his belt, but the cable car workers wore caps and uniforms, while this kid is wearing a jacket that he must have purchased in Chinatown. I wonder if he was involved in the Beat movement? Let's all go to a coffee house for folk music and poetry.

Speaking of Chinatown, here's a storefront featuring what appears to be Chinese fashions - I could almost see a Hollywood starlet wearing some of those outfits. Lots of silk! The colorful paper lanterns overhead must have looked lovely at night.

I hope you have enjoyed your visit to San Francisco.

Just a reminder that I will probably not be able to respond to comments much (or possibly at all) today. Thank you for your patience! Happy Saturday, everyone.


Nanook said...

Pepsi-Cola hits the spot,
Twelve full ounces, that's a lot,
Twice as much for a nickel too.
Pepsi-Cola is the drink for you.

You can shop for precious jade
or teakwood tables or silk brocade
Or see a bold and brassy night club show,
On the most exciting thoroughfare I know

I'm just full of 'em today.

Thanks, Major.


NANOOK: Grant Avenue, San Francisco : Flower Drum Song ( I almost accidentally typed “The World of Susie Wong” )

TokyoMagic! said...

Hey, look what I found. It's a 1956 advertisement, featuring artwork of a San Francisco cable car, in front of that same "Bank of America Day And Night Office" building. It looks like the Cable Car in that photo might have been sitting on one of the turntables.....or maybe it just came off of one:

TokyoMagic! said...

It looks like that building is still standing, but Bank of America has moved out and it's now the home of AT&T:,-122.4077646,3a,75y,330.75h,111.03t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1s-MjVaJFvSMj0NtsJzdioZA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Chuck said...

Neat photos! I love the flower garden in the first photo.

Cable car systems were pretty common in the US prior to and around the turn of the 20th Century, but they fell out of favor as electric traction and later internal combustion motors became more powerful and practical. An overhead electrical distribution system is cheaper to construct, maintain, and operate than in-street cable, and gas or diesel buses don't even require that infrastructure. The San Francisco system survived into the '50s because of the unique topography of the city (electric streetcars struggle with the steep grades) and has been kept alive ever since through a combination of civic pride and tourism.

In an odd coincidence involving the ad on the cable car, Rice-A-Roni is now owned by PepsiCo.

TM!, nice work! That's the turntable at Bay & Taylor, all right.

Nanook said...

Exactly-! A selection from Flower Drum Song (at its finest-?) Well, perhaps. FDS wasn't exactly one of R&H's best... But, in the meantime - as long as I was extracting lyrics to bolster The Major's description, I should've added this...

A western street with eastern manners,
Tall pagodas and golden banners
Throw their shadows through the lantern glow".

That first image sure looks right at home somewhere in Los Angeles - perhaps the Los Feliz or Mt. Washington areas - or the like.

Nanook said...

And speaking of Grant Avenue... What da'know - the shot really is from Grant Avenue-! LOOKIE HERE What a bunch of dumb luck. Pacific Imports is now the Bow Hon Seafood Restaurant.

"Lou and Sue" said...

I love the flowers in the first image, the lanterns in the last image, and everyone’s comments and discoveries!

Irene said...

Just thinking the baby in the first image is my age!!!
Love that you found the location on Grant St. Nanook :)

Omnispace said...

I'm not sure either if that first photo is in San Francisco, but it's sure a pretty garden! I'd love to now where it is as well - so many interesting neighborhoods.

I think that kid in the second photo is pretending to push the cable car on its turntable at Market & Powell (and Eddy). In fact, the area beyond is now Hallidie Plaza so those buildings in the background would be gone.

It seems that Chinatown has changed very little in the time I've grown up. It's still one of my favorite areas in San Francisco to walk through. Great job with the sleuthing, Nanook.

Narciso said...

I've enjoyed your blog for years but have never posted a comment. I've lived in the East Bay/Alameda County my entire life, I'm pushing 60. If that first photo is in the Bay Area, then it's likely Oakland/Berkeley/Albany, possibly a few other nearby places. The hilly neighborhood in the background and the close proximity of the bungalows give it away. Were it the flatlands I'd say Alameda, but it's Oakland/Berkeley/Albany. I have a lot of time on my hands, I'll play around with maps and see what I come up with.

Major Pepperidge said...

Narcisco, the slide is hand-labeled “San Francisco”, otherwise I would have had no clue where the photo was taken. But I admit that hand-written labels are often erroneous, and I bow to your expertise as a local! If you “strike gold”, please let me know.

Narciso said...

It's maddening. It could be SF itself, but gut-level first glance and a lifetime of driving says, Oakland/Berkeley/Albany. I searched a dozen East Bay cities with Google streetview for every 705 address and none matched; a few were wildly remodeled or the old had been replaced entirely. Parcels can be combined, demolished... I even tried parts of San Mateo, San Leandro and Hayward... I'll ask around; it's a fun thing to do. I did see the same model of home, but with a reverse facade, in the part of Albany I suspected, but every 705 turns up nuffin. I have plenty of time...