SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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6000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
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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.

© 2018 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Bank of America: 1943

Bank of America: 1943

May 1943. "San Francisco, California. The Bank of America." Medium format negative by Ann Rosener for the Office of War Information. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5

Not a Cable Car

The "cable car" in the photo is an electric trolley of the Market Street Railway. It is powered from the overhead wire, not dragged along by a cable under the street. The apparatus on the car is called a fender. It was a safety device to keep errant pedestrians from being run over. The car is headed away from the photographer so the fender is in the UP position. The one on the front of the car would normally be lowered to just above street/rail level. Being hit by one would not be a pleasant experience and certainly not like just sitting down.

Humboldt Bank Building

PhotoFan, it had been restored by the time I began working in the building in 1985. It survived the 1906 earthquake and fire because only the steel frame had been built.

Change of ownership

That building was opened in 1908 as the Humboldt Savings Bank, but it's been a BofA for many years now. In the mid 1970s its dome was painted red, white and blue for the nation's bicentennial. I believe it was still carrying that patriotic, but ghastly paint when I began working in downtown SF in 1980.

Subway coming

Supplementing TimeAndAgainPhoto's 2009 shot, this Google street view shows the construction associated with the Union Square/Market Street station of the Central Subway project, expected to open in 2018. The view is down Ellis Street toward its intersection with Stockton and Market.

People Catcher

I love the seat styled people catchers on the front cable cars. In case someone was hit they would just sit down instead of getting run over.


Below is the same view from September of 2009.

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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