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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE TOY DEPARTMENT, 1913

Underdog: 1952

Underdog: 1952

1952. Motorcade to nowhere: Democratic presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson in San Francisco. Photo by Bob Lerner for Look magazine. View full size.

 

Gump's and Shreve & Co.

Gump's is the store that always fascinated me as a kid. My grandmother and mother used to take me to Post Street at Christmastime when the windows of Gump's were beautifully decorated. It was always mobbed and riding the creaky elevators was an adventure! Shreve & Co. is the white building on the corner and another marvelous store with jewels, silverware and fine tableware.

Cruising right by the White House

Between Bond and Gumps it looks like there's a sign for the nearby White House Garage.

[The White House department store was a San Francisco institution, 1854-1965. -tterrace]

Dealer plates

Dealer plates; perhaps pressed into service courtesy local supporting LM dealership?

No big deal

Aside from the open car, the amazing thing to modern eyes is the apparent lack of planning. It seems they just staged the parade and traffic just pulled over until it passed, drivers no doubt muttering darkly to themselves.

Playing bridge

I love the peek of the top of the bridge over the buildings down the center of the street.

[That's the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. -tterrace]

Madly for Adlai

. . .was a great but ultimately unsuccessful slogan. Though no less than Lauren Bacall AND Myrna Loy admit to having a crush on the guy in their autobios. So his egghead wit and here, his fine showy car, did impress some, just not enough.

Koda or Ekta?

Color values in this photo are interesting. Sky and Lincoln don't 'pop' like you might expect from a Kodachrome shot on a sunny day. Was this a Kodachrome, or a faded Ektachrome/Eastman that you corrected? If the latter--nice work!

Niche Clothier

On the left, "Nothing But Ties."

I'll take

The brand new tan Fleetwood for mine!

[Two years old -- that's a 1950 Cadillac. - Dave]

Shed a Tear

Although Gump's (the tony store with the silly name) continues, albeit under different ownership, this shot reminds us of a several once-prominent entities that are no more, PSA and Bond Clothiers prominent among those vanished household names.

Things would soon change

Of course what caught my eye is the HUGE corner city ticket office of Western Pacific Railroad, with signage as prominent as anyone else's on the street proudly proclaiming them to be "Route Of The Zephyrs."

Contrast that with the relatively small, hole-in-the-wall office behind WP's, occupied by Pacific Southwest Airlines, which would go on to become a major component of USAirways.

Western Pacific itself was eventually assimilated by The Borg, sometimes referred to as the Union Pacific.

Four years later

The Republicans (gasp!) held their convention in San Francisco's famous Cow Palace and renominated Ike for another four years. When he showed up for the convention, he too rode through the streets in an open car parade. I am not going to swear to it, but I think that's a 1956 Chrysler Imperial modified to be a presidential parade car. Such a scene today is unthinkable. How sad.

[That's the so-called "Eisenhower Bubbletop," made from a 1950 Lincoln. The photo was taken kitty-corner across Union Square from our Stevenson shot. -tterrace]

Hastings

Hastings was a quality menswear retailer. My father used to wait for their once-a-year sale and stock-up on suits, ties, shirts and shoes. They were also one of the original stores in Stanford Shopping Center when that was first established on the Peninsula in Palo Alto.

Cosmo Topless

Yes, a 1952 Lincoln Cosmopolitan/Capri convertible. Perfect product placement by photographer Bob Lerner, as far as we Lincoln lovers are concerned, as the '52 has just passed that huge "ZEPHYRS" sign on the corner, which of course refers to a Western Pacific train, but also recalls the Lincoln-Zephyr of 1936-42, America's first popular streamlined auto.

Next to Adlai

I think the fellow next to Adlai Stevenson is San Francisco Congressman Franck R. Havenner. After graduating from Stanford, Franck went to work for Senator Hiram Johnson. In 1925, Franck was elected to the first of three terms on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on the 'Clean-out Slate' dedicated to public power. During his third term in 1936 he ran for Congress as a candidate of the Progressive Party and defeated twelve year incumbent Florence Prag Kahn, the second woman elected to Congress from San Francisco. After five months in Congress, Havenner publicly opposed the House Un-American Activities Committee. He lost to Tom Rolph in 1940. Rolph's brother Sunny Jim was elected mayor five times leaving to become governor. In 1944 Franck came back defeating Rolph over his wartime profiteering. In 1952 he joined Stevenson in defeat losing to William Mailliard who red-bated Franck out of office.

Question for the locals

What was Gump's? That's how I read the partially-covered sign about in the middle of the photo. Was there a Forrest or Bubba involved?

[Gump's is an upscale home furnishings and decor store, tracing its history back to 1860s San Francisco. My mother worked for some relatives of theirs in the 1920s as the children's cook. -tterrace]

1952 Election Chants

I Like Ike.

Adlai Gladly.

SF today

On Post Street looking toward the intersection with Stockton. Out of sight on the right, Union Square.


View Larger Map

I'm crazy

I'm crazy 'bout a Mercury.

[The car is a Lincoln. - Dave]

 
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