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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • PAN AMERICAN TO GUATEMALA, 1938

Baron's Cocktails: 1958

Baron's Cocktails: 1958

Somewhere in San Francisco circa 1958. The film is Anscochrome and the colors are well preserved. Note the Billy Graham Crusade Headquarters on the second floor! View full size.

Wonderful Town

I was going through U.S. Navy Electronics School out on Treasure Island throughout most of the summer of 1958. Used to go on liberty in San Francisco and always thought that, if I had to live in a big city, I would choose S.F. as my first choice. I didn't leave my heart there but will always remember that city as such a vibrant place. Many happy memories.

Lefty O'Doul's vs Lefty's

The only thing I know for sure is that Lefty's and Lefty O'Doul's were two different establishments. Both Lefty's Cocktail Lounge on Powell and Lefty O'Doul's Restaurant are listed in the 1960 San Francisco City Directory. Seeing the baseball sign, you would think that both were owned by Frank O'Doul.

GMC Contact Truck

The contact (pusher) truck is a circa 1950 GMC not a Dodge. The GMC logo is visible just above the grille. A 1951 example with a set of extra lights and windshield visor is shown below.

Lefty O'Doul's

Lefty O'Doul's is on Geary now. Does anyone know when it moved?

Lynch's isn't Baron's

The interesting 1940 photo of Lynch's and its link shows the competing California Street Cable Railway Company's Jones St. Shuttle car at the corner of O'Farrell and Jones Sts.

Hotel Manx

I stayed at the Hotel Manx for one night with a college friend in 1976; it was dingy and scary! We were on our way to a summer of indentured servitude at a summer stock theatre in Santa Rosa. We had just received our BAs in Drama from UC Irvine, and as college graduates we were happy to make $40 per week. What, and give up show business?!

Locally known

Frieda Benz Oakley was a professional organist who, in the late 1940s, had an organ music studio in San Francisco. By 1952 she had moved her studio and home to San Mateo. As a professional in the mid-1950s, she gained a not inconsiderable reputation as a regular performer at the famous Domino Club in San Francisco, playing popular and semi-standard tunes. She was also sought after for more public venues, such as the San Mateo Fair. This slide shows her still playing local gigs in the late 1950s, and also tells us that Baron's had a Wurlitzer organ on the premises.

In the early 1960s she was living in Southern California and teaching in Glendale and at the Hammond Organ Studios in Pasadena. She also was accepting invitations to play for such groups as the San Gabriel Organ Club, the Women's Association of the Congregational Church of the Chimes, and for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Theater Organ Enthusiasts—of which she was a member. Her last public performance on record seems to be at the grand opening of the new Baldwin Piano & Organ Center on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, in July, 1966.

The decadent '70s

I can't help but note that the same office that housed the "Billy Graham Crusade" in 1959 had by 1973 been transformed into the "Executive Suite Sauna & Massage"!

Photogenic Corner

A few more historic photos of this street corner I found via google image search. Baron's cocktail bar was still there in 1973. In the 1940s it was Lynch's. Jimboylan points out above that the 1940s photo is a different corner. Higher resolution images available at the linked sources: 1940s (the Tender), 1959 (roger4336), 1973 (Leroy W. Demery, Jr.).

Hitchcock

The image has the feel of the film Vertigo.

Alas, I admit defeat

I was hoping someone would post info on the cocktail lounge names. I found Baron's was owned and managed by S. Baron Long. There was a vintage ashtray on line with his image in the center. He also became owner manager of the Hawaiian Garden's Restaurant in San Jose in 1938. They had floor shows and trained bullfrogs. There is also a mention of Baron Long's Ship Cafe in Venice Beach but don't know if it is the same person. However, I had to admit defeat on the sign front and center advertising someone named Benz and the last three letters of the first name "eda", I was thinking Freida, at the organ. Guess that was one organ player who never made it big.

[Googling "Frieda Benz" + organist returns hits relating to a performer who had some California appearances during this general period. - tterrace]

Rail remnants

I noticed the remnants of other trackage crossing in the middle of the intersection. Was this all that was left of the O'Farrell-Jones-Hyde Street line?

When the city was cool

Until the mid 60s, the fare was the same as for buses -- fifteen cents.

All still there

Surprisingly, every building visible in the photo -- and both streetlamps -- still stand.

Push me pull you

The red Dodge truck following the cable car is almost certainly a repair vehicle sent out by the Municipal Railway (MUNI). Check out its oversize pushing bumper and tool boxes at rear. It appears to be assisting cable car 502, which has undergone some type of mechanical mishap and is now out of service. Witness the "Take Next Car" sign in the front window..

The cable car is headed for the Powell Street turntable, and if it can't be fixed there the Dodge will most likely have to push it all the way back to the car barn at Washington and Mason Streets. It will be a long push -- mostly uphill.

Cable cars were (and still are) notoriously finicky and tend to go flooey at inconvenient times. This car could have 'lost its grip,' meaning the mechanical device that grips onto the moving subsurface cable that pulls the car along. Alternately, it might have suffered some sort of brake malfunction. Whatever the case, MUNI didn't want any riders on this trip.

On The Street

In the foreground we have what looks like the right front fender of a 1958 Buick.

On the right hand side of the street appears the taillamp and bumper of a 1957-58 Mercury.

On the left hand side of the street is a red 1947 (Third Series) - 1953 GMC cab over engine (COE) truck.

The white over green vehicle behind the GMC looks like a 1957 Ford Custom 300. The black car behind might be a 1956 Ford.

What's following the cable car?

Check out the red (Dodge?) truck immediately behind the cable car. It seems to have an unusual bed and a red beacon on the roof. Perhaps it's a fire truck or tow truck?

DAVE - The photo was taken by my father. We lived just south of SF, in San Mateo, from ~ 1954 to 1961, and this is from that era. I have cases of color slides that were a part of his estate and I'll try to find the best and most interesting to scan and post. Thanks very much for hosting the venue that allows others to enjoy them!

Baron's corner today

tterrace beat me to it. The net's pretty remarkable. I found out that the Manx Hotel is now the Villa Florence, then used Google Maps/Street View to get a picture of the actual intersection. The facing on the building above Baron's (now above Starbucks) is still the same.


View Larger Map

Hits the Spot

That's the last really good logo for Pepsi. The next two were OK, but it's all quickly downhill after that.

Make mine a double

Very nice. Who took the picture?

Cocktail location

This is Powell at O'Farrell. Baron's is now a Starbucks, and Lefty O'Doul's big baseball is gone, too.

 
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