Saturday, June 3, 2017

The Sunset District, Then & Now - part one: 3 June 2017

This was a walk through a portion of the Sunset District of San Francisco. My intention was to put together a gallery of ‘then & now’ photographs of the entire district. Part one of then & now photographs of the Sunset District are below. Part two may be viewed here.

THEN  The Little Shamrock Irish Pub was established in 1893 by J.P. Quigley. It is located on Lincoln Way at Ninth Avenue; and is across the street from Golden Gate Park. (Image courtesy of Little Shamrock.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The Little Shamrock as seen today is at the same location, one hundred and twenty years after its founding. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  Henry Doelger was a prolific builder of houses in the Sunset District. His most active period was during the 1930s. There is a section of the Sunset District that is known as Doelger City. This building was his main office. The right portion of this office building was built in 1932; the left wing was added in 1940. (Image courtesy of Mark Weinberger and the History Guild of Daly City/Colma.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The exterior of the building looks very similar to the way it looked seventy-seven years ago. The building is located on the north side of Judah Street, between Eight Avenue and Ninth Avenue. In 2012 the building became San Francisco historic landmark No. 265. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  The Loma Prieta earthquake struck on 17 October 1989. This brick apartment building, located on Judah Street at Seventh Avenue, was built in the 1920s. It received severe earthquake damage, and the City of San Francisco disallowed any continued occupancy of the building; the owner of the building demolished the structure. (Image courtesy of Lorri Ungaretti.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  This replacement apartment building was constructed in the early 1990s. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This photo was taken in 1948; a No. 6 streetcar is traveling north on Ninth Avenue. The streetcars are now gone; replaced by electric powered buses. A grocery market occupied the street level commercial space. (Image courtesy of Emiliano Echeverria, photo by Arthur Lloyd.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The apartment building is located at the southeast corner of the intersection of Ninth Avenue and Kirkham Street. A clothing cleaning store now occupies the commercial space. (Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This is the Irving Theater; it was located on Irving Street between Fourteenth Avenue and Fifteenth Avenue. It opened for business in 1926, and it was sited between a Safeway market and a United Grocers market. The theater closed in 1962; it was demolished and replaced by an apartment building. (Image courtesy of Jack Tillmany.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The apartment building. Note that the brick building that housed the Safeway market is still standing. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This is a photo of a gas station as seen in 1951. It is located on Judah Street at Forty-fifth Avenue. (Image courtesy of Western Neighborhoods Project.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The gas station building is now desolate; it is boarded-up and behind a fence. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This photo was taken in 1951. Roth's Drugs occupied the building; it is located on Irving Street at the southeast corner of Twenty-first Avenue. (Image courtesy of Western Neighborhoods Project.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  This is the same building with the tower removed. The structure is now occupied by a branch of the Bank of the Orient. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This is a picture of a gas station located on Irving Street. The photograph was taken in the 1940s. The gas station closed in the 1990s. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The remains of the gas station are still in place. The location is on Irving Street at Sixteenth Avenue. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  This photograph was taken in 1914. The location is Twentieth Avenue at Kirkham Street. The view is looking north. In 1914, the No. 17 streetcar route ran along Twentieth Avenue. (Image courtesy of Emiliano Echeverria, photograph by Randolph Brant.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.


NOW  The streetcar tracks are gone. Cars now rule Twentieth Avenue. Golden Gate Park is ahead. This photo was taken 16 June 2017. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.


THEN  This photo was taken in the late 1930s. The building, located on Noriega Street at Twentieth Avenue, housed a grocery market and a pharmacy. (Image courtesy of John J. Hills.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  The building is now occupied by East West Bank. I'm not trying to be confusing, but this view is looking southeast. Click on the image to see the full-size photo

THEN  This photo of the Hibernia Bank was taken in 1976. The bank was located on Noriega Street at Twenty-second Avenue. (Image courtesy of Western Neighborhoods Project.) Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.



THEN  This is the interior of the Hibernia Bank. The date is Monday, 15 April 1974; the time is 10:05 a.m. This image is from a security camera located in the bank. The bank is in the process of being robbed. Both the man and the woman in the picture are each holding a short-barreled M1 Carbine rifle. This bank robbery was unusual; the two robbers in this picture are Patty Hearst and Donald DeFreeze. They are both members of the Symbionese Liberation Armyand the SLA is on the offensive. More information about the SLA can be seen at the bottom of this gallery of photographs. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  Hibernia Bank is no longer in business. The building is now occupied by North East Medical Services. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN  This photo was taken in 1951. The building contained a medical/dental business in addition to having a drug store on the ground level. (Image courtesy of Western Neighborhoods Project.) Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  A Vietnamese restaurant is located on the ground floor of the building; the restaurant has been at this location since 1971. The location is at the southwest corner of Judah Street and Forty-sixth Avenue. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN  This photo was taken in 1915. It appears that the workers are installing a water main pipeline on Irving Street. The view is looking west from the intersection of Forty-sixth Avenue. In the near distance is the Pacific Ocean, with sand dunes visible ahead. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  This is a view of the locale as seen today. The sand dunes are still visible. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN  In 1926, this building was constructed as a movie theater. The Surf Theatre was the third theatre to occupy the building. The Surf Theatre opened in 1957 and closed in 1985. The location is on the north side of Irving Street, just west of forty-sixth Avenue. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  The old theatre building is now home to the San Francisco Grace Christian Church. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN  Busy Bee Market occupied this building from the 1960s through the 1990s. (Image courtesy of Robert Herbert.) Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  Today the building is occupied by the Mollusk Surf Shop. The location is at the northwest corner of Irving Street and Forty-sixth Avenue. The Pacific Ocean is nearby; the tides and rip currents are dangerous, and the water is frigid all year long. There are resilient surfers who live in the area who are always ready to go surfingClick on the image to see the full-size photograph.

THEN  This photo was taken in 1926, while workers were constructing the turnaround for the new N-Judah streetcar line. The turnaround is being built at the western terminus of Judah Street, a few hundred yards from Ocean Beach and the Pacific Ocean. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

NOW  A  two-car N-Judah streetcar is visible and is in the process of turning around and traveling to downtown San Francisco. The N-Judah streetcar line is the busiest streetcar route in the city. This picture was taken from a sand dune. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

The distance traveled was approximately 6.2 miles (10.0 kilometers). The cumulative elevation gain was about 369 feet (112 meters). Mile markers are displayed on the GPS generated track. Click on the image to see the full-size map.


The Symbionese Liberation Army 1973 - 1975
This is 2603 Benvenue Avenue, Berkeley, California. In 1974, Patty Hearst was a student at the University of California, Berkeley. She and her boyfriend were living in apartment #4 in this apartment complex. I took this photo in 2013. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.


This is how the FBI describes the moment when Patty Hearst lost her anonymity forever:


"Around 9 o’clock in the evening on February 4, 1974, there was a knock on the door of apartment #4 at 2603 Benvenue Avenue in Berkeley, California. In burst a group of men and women with their guns drawn. They grabbed a surprised 19-year-old college student named Patty Hearst, beat up her fiancĂ©, threw her in the trunk of their car and drove off. Thus began one of the strangest cases in FBI history." 

Strange, indeed. Hearst’s kidnappers were part of a small group of self-styled revolutionaries called the Symbionese Liberation Army. The group distinguished itself with slogans like “death to the fascist insect that preys upon the life of the people.”


But the group was no joke. In November 1973, members had ambushed and murdered Oakland school superintendent Marcus Foster, the district’s first African-American school superintendent. Foster’s “crime”? The SLA branded him fascist because it mistakenly believed he had backed a plan to require ID cards for all Oakland high school students.

Three days after the kidnapping, the SLA  announced that they were keeping Hearst as a “prisoner of war.” They imprisoned her in a small studio apartment at 1827 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco.


The Hearst kidnapping transfixed the nation as it took one strange, scarcely believable turn after another. Shortly after Hearst’s disappearance, the SLA demanded that the Hearst family undertake a massive food distribution program throughout California as a condition for the release of the kidnapped heiress. The Hearst family agreed with the demand and put together an effort that by 22 February made its first food distribution within San Francisco.


It was a disorganized disaster. Scores of people were injured as panicked workers threw boxes of food off moving trucks as huge crowds of people unexpectedly showed up for the food. The SLA issued a "Communique" the next day demanding that a community coalition is put in charge of the effort.

Patty Hearst issued a series of tape-recorded verbal messages over a period of a few weeks. Among other things, she criticized her family’s poor response to the food distribution demand, and eventually declared she had joined the revolution and that “I would never choose to live the rest of my life surrounded by pigs like the Hearsts.” 



The first time Patty Hearst was seen by the public after being kidnapped was 15 April 1974, when she was visible on bank surveillance cameras. She was armed with an M-1 carbine rifle, holding up the Sunset branch of the Hibernia Bank along with several members of the Symbionese Liberation Army. The robbers shot two people in the bank and stole more than $10,000. 


In the above picture from left to right are Nancy Ling Perry, Donald DeFreeze, and Patty Hearst. They are running out of the bank and are jumping over one of the two people they shot during the robbery. Both people survived their gunshot wounds.

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Patty Hearst was captured in San Francisco on 18 September 1975. She was captured along with Wendy Yoshimura. They were both holed up at 625 Morse Street in the Outer Mission District. On 15 January 1976, she stood trial for bank robbery. Her attorneys argued that fearing for her life; she began to sympathize with her captors. On 20 March 1976, she was convicted of bank robbery and sentenced to jail. In 1979 President Jimmy Carter commuted her federal sentence to the twenty-two months she had already served.

THEN  This is 1827 Golden Gate Avenue, San Francisco. This building was a hideout of the Symbionese Liberation Army. Patty Hearst was blindfolded and confined in a closet in apartment #6 for eight weeks. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  This is 1827 Golden Gate Avenue today. It appears that all is now peaceful and quiet. This photo was taken on 5 June 2017. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.

THEN  Here is Patty Hearst as seen a few weeks after her capture by the F.B.I. She was brought back to 1827 Golden Gate Avenue to describe to the F.B.I. what she remembered while being held captive in apartment #6. In this photo, she is seen leaving 1827 Golden Gate Avenue. To her left is a female police officer whose right arm is adjacent to Patty Hearst's back. Click on the image to see the full-size photograph.

NOW  This is the view seen from within the entryway to 1827 Golden Gate Avenue. This photo was taken on 5 June 2017. Click on the image to see the full-size photo.
GO HERE to view part two of The Sunset District, Then & Now.

“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” Dorothea Lang 


San Francisco’s Sunset District (Then and Now) written by Lorri Ungaretti, was helpful in assembling this gallery of ‘Then and Now’ photographs.

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs that were posted on the Internet between 2002 and 2011. Click Here to view those photo galleries.

Panasonic GX7 camera body mounted with an Olympus 17mm lens was used to take these photographs.

Question or comment? I may be reached at neil@mishalov.com