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About the Photos

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 • STAY ONE JUMP AHEAD OF TROUBLE, 1945

Baghdad By the Bay: 1954

Baghdad By the Bay: 1954

"Baghdad By the Bay" was San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen's nickname for The City, and the title of his collection of affectionate essays published in 1949. My sister took this nicely-detailed 120 Ektachrome transparency just 5 years later, before the neighborhood Victorians became gentrified and the downtown skyline Manhattanized. The intersection at the lower left is Hayes and Shrader. View full size.

Rolls?

Is it just me or is the fourth car on the left (in front of the red fence) a Rolls Royce?

[Looks more like an American 1937ish sedan to me, possibly General Motors. - tterrace]

Vertigo

Speaking of films, and Jimmy Stewart, this picture remember me strongly, Hitchcock's "Vertigo." The cars, the lonely streets, the colours, the years (well, the film was taken 4 years later), and of course the location. Very nice.

More on the turret house

It's what's called "two flats" in SF. There's an address on Shrader (visible in the current photo). If you "view larger map" you see that it's only one block from the Stanyan Street eastern border of Golden Gate Park (St. Mary's Hospital is in between 'the house' and the park).

Prices are crazy, but it last transferred in '05 for less than half the $3 million that Lady Celia estimates (though most of its gentrification may have happened since then). As the later photo shows, there are more subterranean windows now, and the upper flat has, at the least, attic rooms -- so these are two enormous homes if they haven't been divided further. And they're also only two blocks from the USF campus.

There are decks now behind a more substantial fence on the Hayes side, and the garage building appears to be theirs..

Grandma & Herb...

I almost flipped when my grandmother told me when she owned the liquor store on Stockton & Sacramento in the 40's, young Herb would come in and buy Wrigley's gum. Weird thing is, she's still alive..

I think I see ...

Jimmy Stewart's DeSoto.

SF Victorian

Yoda, you're lucky, that could have been the house in the movie "Pacific Heights."

If that house still exists...

If that house still exists, it is more likely at least $3,000,000.00--even in the current market. San Francisco real estate prices are insane. Half a million will buy you a one bedroom flat in a marginal neighborhood.

Hayes and Shrader

The building with the round black turret on the left is still there at Hayes & Shrader streets.

$60k in '66

In 1966 a three-story S.F. Victorian cost $60,000 and we did not have the down payment to buy it. Long-time renters, we were told the price by our landlord, who gave us a week to think it over. As a poor young couple, we had to move on. The Victorian in question was a beautiful, solidly built, unadulterated original, but we just could not scrape together enough moola. It was in the Richmond district on 16th Avenue off of Geary Street, and our second (Victorian) apartment (between Geary and Clemente) rented for $175 month, ground floor. I also owned the Herb Caen book in question, the man was a poet who loved San Francisco to the core. Time marches on and I would bet that today, that same house is a half million if it still exists. I do have the $60,000 now, but sorry pal, you're a day late and a dollar short.

 
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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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