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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 • EAT MORE FISH, 1917

Market Street: 1957

Market Street: 1957

Looking east on Market Street in San Francisco from the Old Federal Office Building. Note the electric buses. This is quite a bustling scene, but I wonder if the poor pedestrians caught in the center island ever made it all the way across the street. 35mm Anscochrome. View full size.

Market Street neon

What an amazing photo of Market Street neon. I'm trying to start a movement to save some of San Francisco's iconic neon signs. Is there any hope of reproducing this image to help our cause? Thx.

The City I remember!

We lived across the bay in Richmond, but came to The City to shop and go to movies (Fox Theater!). My father was born in SF, in the same room where his mother had been born. Little did I know in the '50s and '60s that I would one day live in SF, and work in the Ferry Building! Great pic, brings back great memories.

Before North Seventh Street

On the left past the Locker Club is the Greyhound sign, with an arrow directed towards the Greyhound Bus Depot, which was located on Seventh Street in the block just south of the Oddfellows Building.
In the early 1970s, Seventh Street was extended one block north of its prior endpoint at Market Street, to its current terminus at McAllister. This was at the time of the creation of United Nations Plaza, and the closing of two blocks on Fulton Street. All the buildings on the north side of Market from Fulton to a point just past the Greyhound sign were demolished for the creation of United Nations Plaza, extension of 7th Avenue, and the construction of the BART/Muni Civic Center Station.
I worked for around 15 years in the building at the corner of 7th and McAllister, where I had a fine view of the former Hibernia Bank headquarters branch at Jones & McAllister. The building housing my office was one of only two original buildings in the former block from McAllister west of 7th to Leavenworth, and on Leavenworth south to Fulton, which survived.

Seventh Street

My Father was employed at Commercial Metals Company located at 650 Seventh Street at the time the photo was taken. The Fosters Cafeteria at the corner of Seventh and Market, who's sign is visible just above the front of the bus on the right, had great rice pudding.

Locker Club Part Deux

Navy (land) bases in the 60's generally allowed sailors to enter or exit their duty stations in civvies however there was generally no room aboard ship for this luxury.

"Fulton"

UN Plaza didn't exist in 1957, so Fulton St still intersected Market west of 7th St (which hadn't yet been extended NW across Market St).

How many remember

Photostat Copies While You Wait ?

Comparing with today

First thing I noticed was the street sign saying Fulton. Fulton runs east-west a few blocks north. What the sign calls Fulton is actually seventh street.

The Odd Fellow Hall is still there and active.

The Merrills Drug sign is still there in the Google Street View photo, but it seems to have succumbed in the past few years.

The Federal Hotel is now the Alda Hotel, and the green Alda Hotel sign is an obvious re-purposing of the original.

The United Artists theatre is now the Market Street Cinema, featuring a "Live Nude Show." Rainbow Pizza in the Alda Building is good for a very large slice of Thin Crust New York style pizza. I remember this from a day riding the antique Trolleys. I love those PCC cars to this day.

On the corner of Market and Seventh, the "Grant Building still stands.

Across the street, the building that now houses the Renoir Hotel is visible, but the sign indicating what it was called back then is lost of a large mess of signage. Very little else is visible and there is new construction, in the form of a donut world on the corner of Market and Seventh.

All in all, a great look at past vs present. I miss SF.

Trolley buses

There seems to be some confusion about the two buses vs. the trolley. All are electrically-powered via overhead wires.

Tx for the memory!

I explored Market St from 7 to 20; what great memories you bring back. Q, the movie at the United Artists appears to be Run Silent Run Deep, which supposedly was released in early 1958. OTOH, there were such things as sneak previews, though they would not usually be advertised so well; they were supposed to be sneaky. Behind the United Artists sign, you can see the sign for the Centre theatre. Absolutely full of fleas, we picked them up every time we went there, but we and a thousand other kids went there once a week anyway, for the old serials from the 1930s and 1940s. A fleabag for truly dedicated film aficionados.

Locker Clubs

Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, Naval Station Treasure Island, NAS Alameda were all near enough to provide clients for the Locker Club.

It was worse.

The modern view by GFrank52 shows 4 sets of trackless trolley or trolley bus wires. But, before 1947 when there were 4 streetcar tracks, they were too close together to stand between the tracks to wait for a Market St. Rwy. car. (The newer competing Municipal Rwy. of S.F. had the outside tracks.) So the older company advised prospective passengers to signal the motorman if you wished to ride an Inside Track car and he would wait until it was safe to cross the other track to board. The Library of Congress has a 1906 movie showing this setup on an older 4 track section much closer to the Ferry terminal.

Market St. and pedestrians

Yup, those guys are just waiting for the streetcar. Still, Market St. jaywalkers abounded then and abound now. It was enough of a problem at the Emporium (the building with the red script "E" in the middle distance), that a police car would often be parked nearby in those days. And the cop on his car's speaker would say things like, "Will the lady in the green coat go back and cross with the green light?"

More Memories

Hey, Bob401: remember the rooftop carnival on top of the Emporium? I was 7 then; I might have been on the train with you. (Not my photo, but the only one I've come across.)

Market Street Memories

I was lucky enough to be an eight year old in San Francisco in 1953. The Emporium, Woolworth at the corner of Market and Powell, and taking a cable car from our apartment on Taylor Street to school six blocks away are memories that will last forever. Great photo, thanks!

Locker Club

Not sure how close this scene is to a base but it is interesting to see the 24 hour locker facility on the left side. Up until the late 1960's sailors leaving or returning to their base had to be in uniform. Locker clubs sprung up outside the bases where the sailors could change to civvies before going on the town and then change back upon returning.

Waiting for the streetcar

This is Market Street at Seventh -- today it's pretty rundown. The pedestrians standing on the median strip are probably waiting for the green streetcar that is approaching. In later years they added a metal railing to keep commuters from being run over by traffic. I lived in SF for 31 years, from 1980 to 2011 ... now I'm a suburban VA resident outside DC.

Not stranded, but waiting

I love this photo, especially with the Ferry Building at the end for context.

Those electronic buses still run on Market, along with other historic streetcars. The center island is actually the F-Market streetcar stop.

["Electronic" buses! Transistors or vacuum tubes? - Dave]

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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