Retroscans: San Francisco 1970

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This post is part of my Retroscans series, in which I rescue and restore 35mm slides that may otherwise end up in a landfill. Unlike all other posts on my site, these photos are not my own. The original photographer is unknown, unless otherwise specified. I clean and dust each slide, scan at 7200 dpi, remove scratches with a separate infrared scan, then do the remainder of the cleanup in Lightroom and/or Photoshop.

These San Francisco photos were taken in 1970, probably in June or July. Unfortunately the photographer (unknown) didn’t seem to go far from Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square. I’ve provided Google Street Views from today to accompany each image:

Fishermen's Grotto

Fisherman’s Wharf. This horrific tourist zone looks almost identical 44 years later with lots and lots of asphalt.

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Fisherman's Wharf

Russian Hill in the background. Parking is 35 cents per hour. Standard Station on the right. 44 years later, there is only one Standard Station left in all of California–on Van Ness Ave. (Chevron maintains one “Standard Station” in each state it owns the rights to branded as Standard.) 91% of cars in view are American cars.

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Russian Hill

Facing south up Taylor Street from Jefferson Street. The original 1958 Cost Plus store in the distance was rebuilt in the early 1980s at the same location.

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Hyde and Beach cable car turnaround

Today this area is more like a manicured queue for a Disneyland ride. The paper posted in the window is advertising the Bart open house in the Mission district, where one could go preview the 24th and Mission Bart Station. 11,400 people visited that open house, which also marked the return of Muni to Mission Street after 2½ years of absence.

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Powell Street

Down Powell Street from Pine Street. The “Starlite Roof” flag flies above the Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Cars could drive on the cable car tracks in 1970 which must have made work much more difficult for the cable car’s gripman and brakeman. Powell Street connected directly to Market Street in 1970 (in the distance).

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Jackson Street

Down Jackson Street from just below Taylor Street. The turn in the cable car tracks emerges from the cable car barn, where cars from all three lines enter service each morning. The long gone and forgotten mistake known as the Embarcadero freeway is visible in the distance. Most of this block hasn’t changed much in 44 years.

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  • Michael Kiesling

    Great stuff and wonderful work. Didn’t know the “Standard” trivia- now I’m gonna to have to search out the station on Van Ness. One thing, technically, Cost Plus is in the same location, but the building was rebuilt in the early 80’s. The second or third Dirty Harry film had a scene shot in the old Cost Plus building. Thanks for the site and the great images.

  • Jeff A

    And even today, despite the raised concrete, bright stripes, and all the warning signs, drivers still managed to enter the tracks up Powell St, usually with a very confused look on their faces.

  • Thanks Michael. I edited the part about Cost Plus for clarity. Yes, that was Dirty Harry 2 (Magnum Force) that was filmed in the original building. As for the Standard station, it’s on the corner of Van Ness and Pine. It looks like a Chevron in every way but the name.

  • Pierre B.

    Chevron and Standard gas stations used the same logo.