Monday, October 24, 2011

Blast From The Past - San Francisco 1940

 Arrived in Oakland a few hours ago and finally we're on our way to San Francisco.
We paid 25 cents at the Toll Plaza to enter this wonderful bridge that was opened four years ago. It took me awhile to get used to the traffic.


The Oakland Bay Bridge

 The bridge has two decks. The top deck is for automobiles and the bottom deck for trucks and electric trains. You can see the tracks at left. The trains are run by the Key System and Southern Pacific. They can take you all over the East Bay to wonderful places like Neptune Beach in Alameda.

  The Yerba Buena Tunnel

 We have just passed through the Yerba Buena Tunnel and can finally see San Francisco in the distance. Notice that the traffic has thinned out. Many of the cars got off the bridge at the island to go to the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island . The fair opened last year and will close for good later in 1940. I'm going to try and go there.
Right now we're heading for the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill for cocktails. It's a great place to see San Francisco ...

   Top Of The Mark

Isn't this a great view of San Francisco ? We're at the lounge called the Top of the Mark. The Mark Hopkins Hotel is one of the city's great hotels.
The Russ Building , by the bridge tower, is the biggest office building on the Pacific Coast . It's 31 stories high.
Near the Ferry Building is the Produce District made up of small beautiful, old brick buildings. You can go there early in the morning and watch the grocers come in to pick out all kinds of vegetables.


After leaving the Mark we walked down California to Grant Avenue . Here is San Francisco's world famous Chinatown . There are wonderful shops and the best Chinese food anywhere... and so reasonable. You can get a large bowl of pork noodles for 35 cents.
Do you see the Shriner's Flags at the top of the picture? They are having a convention in San Francisco . There is a Shriner's Hospitals for Crippled Children on Nineteenth Avenue . It provides treatment for many children every year without charge.
Every New Years Day the famous Shrine East West football game is held in Kezar Stadium.

Flower Stands on Powell

After leaving Chinatown we walked down to Powell Street . Around Geary Street there are wonderful flower stands.
 San Francisco is sure a different place. 

The Cable Cars

We're at Powell and Market where the cable cars get turned around to go to Fisherman's Wharf. There is a great cafeteria just a few feet from the turntable. It's called Clinton's and I hear the food is great but we plan to have dinner at Fisherman's Wharf and that's where we are heading.

Fisherman's Wharf

We walked along the docks to look at hundreds of fishing boats. The one coming in here is a crab-fisher. They are all painted wonderful colors and the fishermen are all Italian. They are very friendly, and we watched them sitting on the docks mending their nets and singing.

Dinner at Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf has to be one of my favorite places in San Francisco . The men who do the fishing bring them back to the restaurants and outdoor stalls. People can pick out a crab and it's cooked right there for you to take home.
One night we went to a great restaurant a man told me about. It's called San Remo's, near Fisherman's Wharf. You can get a wonderful Italian dinner for $1.00 from soup to dessert. Another  dollar gets a bottle of house wine. You go into the bar to pick it up.
Our waiter was very friendly. I think he had been sampling the house wine.

Playland at the Beach

San Franciscans love the beach. The water is too cold to swim in but Playland at the Beach has everything else; a wonderful roller coaster, the Fun House, Shoot the Chutes, and great food. A favorite is Topsy's Roost for delicious fried chicken and dancing. If you're eating on the balcony you go down to the dance floor on a slide!
My favorite was the Pie Shop... the best chicken and beef turnovers imaginable fantastic crust and wonderful gravy. San Franciscans take them home for dinner.

The Golden Gate Bridge

We left Playland and drove through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge . The Presidio is still an important Army Base and has been on active duty since Spain built a fort there in 1776.

The Golden Gate is my favorite bridge. We parked the car near the Toll Plaza and walked across the bridge for 25 cents. You can't walk on the Bay Bridge ..

Our trip to San Francisco is over too soon. I hate to say goodbye to this beautiful city. The people who live here are sure lucky.

Hope you enjoyed my letter and the photographs.
Say hello to everybody.
  ~  Henry Ford


Sherlyn said...

Whoops! 1940's San Francisco looks so different and everything else you've mentioned about it is so amazing.Back then things were cheap and compromise on quality was may be unheard. Today it's just the reverse! I think you were lucky enough to visit the place and thanks a lot for sharing your experience with us.:)
Reading about your experience in San Francisco back in 1940 made me feel as if I'm having a ride around the city but what I see now is surely not what you guys have seen back in the day.Old is actually gold:)
Check this -
Which City Do You Belong In?
Which big city matches your personality? You just may find your new home with this quiz!

LaPouyette said...

Very beautiful images! There is just something special in black-and-white old photos. So much more atmosphere. Love them all!


Paris Hotel Boutique said...

FABULOUS! Oh how I wish I could have experienced that that time...perhaps a time machine? Thanks for the adventure Terri and great seeing you the other day! XO Lynn

Beach House Living said...

Wow! What a fabulous treat to read and see these photos.

Pamela Hunt Lee said...

So glad the flower stalls are still there today even though they are not quite the size they were when Henry wrote this letter.

cjsullivan133 said...

That would be Hoogasian Flowers most likely at the corner. I went to school with the Geraldi's who own Grotto #9, I've listened to stories how my mom took the ferry to Marin before either bridges were built to visit her Grandparents in Fairfax. (You always wore a hat on the ferry.) And the Far East Cafe is one of the oldest remaining Chinese Food Restaurants in Chinatown. It's Chandeliers, (still there) withstood the 1906 Earthquake. These photo's are great.

Unknown said...

I loved reading this and looking at the photos and trying to figure out who was writing it!!! What a fun surprise. Aren't you grateful for those people who recorded their we can see things through their eyes. I feel that's what a lot of us are doing with our blogs. I envision my grandchildren having a glimpse into my world - what I liked, what was in style,etc...

And having lived in San Francisco, this has particular meaning to me.

xoxo Elizabeth

Blooming Rose Musings said...

Terri, this is a magnificent post! The old photos are absolutely fascinating and I loved reading the letter. Oh how times have changed! Between the words of the letter and the look of the photos there is so much texture to your entire post. Love it! XO

A Perfect Gray said...

what a blast from the past. love those looks - especially chinatown, a place I've always wanted to visit...donna

the modern sybarite ™ said...

Seems that the past was so romantic! I wonder if that will be the same feeling about today in another 100 years! Thanks for the the lovely pics.

debra @ 5th and state said...

that was mesmerizing and did not want it to end.

thanks for the road trip to another era, loved it!

cj said...

As a child of the 50's I remember being dressed in a sailor suit for a visit to the city. When I was a student at San Francisco State in the 60's we still wore leather gloves which were fitted by the "glove lady" at the City of Paris. Loved the blast from the past.

The Vintique Object said...

Where in the world did you find this? I absolutely loved reading it. How things change. Was Playland where Ocean Beach is now? I hardly recognize it.