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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.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Chinatown: 1930

Chinatown: 1930

San Francisco circa 1930. "Grant Avenue at Sacramento Street." 4x5 inch nitrate negative by Arnold Genthe. View full size.

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Home of the Flower Drum

"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."

Somebody's got to say it

Forget it, Jake...

Ya think?

Gee, I wonder if I could find some good Chop Suey around here somewhere. Even though this photo is 85 yrs. old, it still captured the hustle, bustle, sights, smells and sounds of San Fran's Chinatown. Wish I was there right now. New York's Chinatown is great too, but not quite the same. Living out on the prairie as I do now, I have to settle for Chinese takeout and old memories to pretend I'm there again. God bless America.

Looks a little different now

Steep climb to the left

Sacramento St. has a steep climb from here to the top of Nob Hill, hence the cable car tracks in the foreground. While the well-known California Street Cable Car line remains in service nearby, the Sacramento Clay line was removed in WWII and replaced with buses. When I lived there in the early 1980's packed diesel buses were still roasting their automatic transmissions as they climbed the hill waiting for new electric trolley buses to soon take over.

Earlier than 1930

I can't see the license plates clearly enough to read the year but the short, wide shape was last used in 1928. Starting in 1929 plates are taller in relation to width. My guess is 1928.

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.

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