Saturday, February 15, 2014

San Francisco on Foot

In response to Sepia Saturday's meme of old photos of Glasgow, I thought I'd expand my remit of walking in Lanzarote to that of walking in Spanish founded cities - in this case, San Francisco - because I have a set of photos I took which must count as veteran, if not vintage.  In November 1974, I was a young RAF engineer officer, and got a wonderful chance to go on a 7 week detachment of Vulcan bombers to Australia and Singapore.  It was even more wonderful than I expected, because the separation decided me that Little Nell was the girl for me, a decision I have never regretted in 39 years.  Anyway, back to the meme.  En route in our turboprop Bristol Britannia, we landed at McClellan USAF base near Sacramento, California.  As we had about 18 hours until our onward flight to Hickham Field, the USAF base near Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, a group of us hired a minibus and went on a day trip to San Francisco.

We had about 5 hours in the city, and went on a rapid sightseeing walk, managing to get in most of the famous sights in the process.  Looking back through my old slides 
(taken on my trusty Boots Beirette camera (£8!)
 (photo ) 

 I can see we drove across the Oakland Bay Bridge into town. 

And up Market Street, passing the cable car turntable at the Powell Street intersection. ( I apologize for the blur, but it was point and shoot out of the bus window). This photo was the one that lead me to use the trip based on Alan's crowd theme. The building on the right, which is now GAP, is the Flood Building ( a well-known landmark which, at the time housed the largest Woolworths in the USA - do you remember the logo?

And here it is today

Having parked, we started to explore on foot and cable car.  Below, is a view from Nob Hill down  I think, Leavenworth Street,

towards Fisherman's Wharf,

which hasn't changed much in 40 years (Google Earth view).

From there, we walked to Telegraph Hill,

and climbed the tower.   Facing the camera is my soon to be best man, Dave Osborne.

And here I am looking out towards Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge
probably one of the most spectacular city views I've ever seen. 

Most people will recognise the pointed building below, from countless TV shows,
as the Transamerica Pyramid ( 

Having done a fair amount of walking, we stopped for coffee at the famous Enrico's on Broadway Street in the Tenderloin - one of the locations in Bullitt - now closed.
 Across the road was the Penthouse cinema showing what was then,
a pair of revolutionary films - we didn't have time to catch them (But we did in Honolulu!) 

Here is the Cinema, now a wine bar!

and here is Enrico's today

And here, finally, is your hero, dressed to suit a 1970's America!

To see what other Sepians have made of today's prompt, go to this week's Sepia Saturday.


  1. Love it! Brown was such a 70s colour wasn't it?

  2. Love it! Brown was such a 70s colour wasn't it?

  3. You have given us a second (more modern) look at San Francisco with these pictures; they fit well with what Gail (La Nightingale) showed us.

  4. That looks like an old leisure suit! I actually had a women's version in brown polyester knit.

  5. Smart man to realize absence makes the heart grow fonder! Thanks for taking us on this trip back through time to San Fran.

  6. I remember that absence made the heart grow fonder and I got a marriage proposal on your return. I didn’t hesitate to accept! Seems we did something right.

  7. Ah yes, the old/huge Woolworths store across Market St. from the Emporium if I recall correctly? I shopped there frequently on my lunch hour - but 10 years before you were there.

  8. Who said Time Travel is impossible?
    San Francisco must be the most photographed place in the US.

  9. A lovely post. This is one of my most favorite cities to visit, and when we were there, we stayed at Fisherman's Wharf!

  10. Even though your photographs were taken 40 years ago, they immediately took me back just nine months to when we were in SF last summer. It is such a fabulous city isn't it? Before I went there, everybody I asked about it said that it was the one place they would happily return to. I have joined that group, I would go back tomorrow ..... if I didn't have half a wedding to pay for in June.