SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Social Shorpy

Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content

Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

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.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Survivor for Now: 1940

Survivor for Now: 1940

San Francisco 1940. "Silas Palmer House, NW corner Van Ness and Washington. Essentially stick in style, with features of the Villa and Shingle eras, as well as tall Mansard roof on tower. Squared bays are typical of 1880s. Some pseudo-Moorish details on entrance porch. Cast iron cresting on roof. Built circa 1886. Destroyed after 1940" (from HABS notes dated 1961). Large format negative for the Historic American Buildings Survey, photographer unknown. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Question for San Franciscans

Curious to know how many pre-1906 houses and/or buildings are still standing in present-day SF?

[Around 18,500 pre-1906 structures survive, most of them outside the burned area; Van Ness Ave. was a major fire line. More than 13,000 Victorians still stand. -tterrace]

Our 1939 DeSoto

Chrysler Fan's pic of his 1939 Dodge prompted me to take apart one of our framed family pic montages to retrieve the attached. That is our 1939 DeSoto, with me at about age 4 or 5 on the left fender, and my brother, age 2 or 3 on the right fender. My dad bought it somewhat "used" from a better off brother-in-law.

My dream home

But a painter's nightmare.

Twisty back staircase

I bet you're right about the twisty back staircase but I would think the house came with a water closet (San Francisco being a big city, it probably had running water by this time) and, if I can go by other houses of this period, the toilet was in one room by itself, while the bathtub and sink were in another. Also, I'd guess the servants' rooms were on the third floor, possibly along with the nursery. At any rate, this is pretty much my dream home, outdated plumbing and all.

Contemporary of W. A. Bechtel

Silas H. Palmer established a contracting and engineering company (Palmer, McBryde, and Quayle) and eventually associated with Warren Bechtel in 1929. The latter founded what is now the largest construction and engineering firm in the USA (by starting with a mule team grading railroad beds in 1896)

The view today

[Note that Google wants to call Van Ness Avenue "El Camino Real," which has a historical association but is not the name of the street. -tterrace]


I can only imagine the interior details; VERY high ceilings, magnificent staircase, servant/maid quarters in the basement w/access to the kitchen by a narrow twisting back staircase,--and one tiny, dark, stinky "water closet" added to the back of the building in the 1890s.

Silas's Bed And Breakfast

Ol' Silas's place would have made a great Bed And Breakfast while your Dodge was in the garage for a few days.

Flaunters flouting, redux

It's San Francisco and I see a lot of uncurbed wheels. Maybe they didn't have that law in 1940, but they did when I was there in '65.

Flaunting the Law

How many laws are being violated in this photo? I see at least three violations. One car parked on a corner, right in front of a fire hydrant. At least two vehicles parked on the sidewalk. I would mention the woman standing in the street, but I'll bet it was legal to stand in the roadway waiting to board a cable car.

[Right, she's not flouting the law, she's waiting in a streetcar "safety zone" marked off by the large metal buttons mounted in the pavement. -tterrace]

Ah! I see the error of my grammar! Thanks for setting me straight!

That dark Dodge

This is a picture of my 1939 Dodge D11. It is completely original paint, upholstery etc. I bought it from the original owner in 1970. A most excellent original automobile and very reliable with 75,000 miles on it. No, I do not drive it in winter.

Nice Queen Anne style

mansion from early in the American Queen Anne heyday...then of course I started looking at the cars, and thought, "Whoa, what's with all the Dodges & Plymouths?" THEN I saw the little sign in the far left: DGE/MOUTH.
THAT explained it.

SHORPY OLD 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.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.