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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Yuen Hing & Co.: 1921

Yuen Hing & Co.: 1921

"REO Speedwagon grocery truck, San Francisco, 1921." Compare with our previous Speedwagon. Glass negative by Christopher Helin. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

A Hundred Million Miracles

"Grant Avenue San Francisco" was in Rodgers and Hammerstein's Broadway hit "Flower Drum Song" from 1958. The film version released in 1961 was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.

Western street with Eastern manners,
Tall pagodas and golden banners,
Throw their shadows through the lantern glow.

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 --

Grant Avenue, San Francisco,
California, U.S.A.
Looks down from Chinatown
Over a foggy bay.

You travel there in a trolley,
In a trolley up you climb,
Dong! Dong! You're in Hong Kong,
Having yourself a time.

You can eat, if you are in the mood,
Shark-fin soup, bean cake fish.
The girl who serves you all your food
Is another tasty dish!

You know that
You can't have a new way of living
Till you're living all the way
On Grant Avenue --Where is that?--
San Francisco, That's where's that!
California, U.S.A.!

Chinatown Telephone Exchange

On the side door of the truck you can see the letters "PHONE CHINA" and the beginning of a numeral. San Francisco's Chinatown had its own telephone exchange from 1887 until the 1940s when dial phones replaced the switchboard operators. How it all worked is explained here.

Stopping distance

I wonder what the stopping distance was for one of these trucks when fully loaded, using rear wheel only mechanical brakes, on a steep San Francisco hill. Lots of smoke, then right into the Bay!

Can't fight this feeling anymore...

I like this truck.


Lots of mud splatters. Could be from riding the storm out.

Musically speaking,

We're on Grant Avenue, San Francisco, California, USA.

[Most interesting. I wonder how one would travel there. - Dave]

[Ideally in a trolley, but you have to settle for a cable car. -tterrace]

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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