Thursday, November 30, 2017

San Francisco then & now, part three: November 2017


Click on an image to view the full-size photograph.


THENThis is Laguna Honda Reservoir as seen in 1904. It was constructed in the 1860s and is located on the southwest side of Mount Sutro. In 1865 the Spring Valley Water Company built a thirteen-mile long redwood flume from Pilarcitos Reservoir to Laguna Honda Reservoir. Pilarcitos Reservoir, located in San Mateo County in the northern part of the Santa Cruz Mountains, was constructed in the 1860s to provide potable water for San Francisco's burgeoning population. 

THENThis is a view of Laguna Honda Reservoir as seen in 1918. The view is looking south. 

NOWThis is a current view of the reservoir. It is now a secondary water supply. The primary source of potable water for San Francisco now originates at Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in the Sierra Nevada MountainsHere is the location of Laguna Honda Reservoir as seen on Google Maps.


THENThis is a view from the Laguna Honda Reservoir looking north. The picture was taken in 1929. The man on the left with the cane is San Francisco city engineer Michael O'Shaughnessy (1864-1934). City engineer O'Shaughnessy was born in Ireland; he emigrated to the U.S. in 1885. In 1912 San Francisco Mayor James Rolph chose him as the city's chief engineer. He was responsible for many San Francisco civic construction projects, including the construction of the Twin Peaks Reservoir, the Municipal Railway System, the Stockton Street Tunnel, the Twin Peaks Tunnel and his greatest project, the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Thank you, Michael O'Shaughnessy!


NOW: This is the scene today. I can envision city engineer O'Shaughnessy walking down the street. Here is this location as seen on Google Maps. 

THENThis is a part of the thirteen-mile long redwood flume that brought water to Laguna Honda Reservoir. The flume was destroyed during the 18 April 1906 earthquake. This portion of the flume was located in what is now known as the St. Francis Wood residential neighborhood.

NOWThis is a view of a grand water fountain at the intersection of St. Francis Boulevard and San Anselmo Avenue. This was the site of the flume as it traversed St. Francis Wood. Here is the location of the water fountain as seen on Google Maps.

THENThe Portal Theatre opened on 26 December 1925; it is located on West Portal Avenue. Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

THENIn 1936 the theatre changed ownership and reopened as the Empire Theatre. This photo was taken in 1966. Photo courtesy of Jack Tillmany.

NOWIn the 1970s the theatre was reconfigured, and it currently has three separate auditoriums within the building. Here is the location of the theatre as seen on Google Maps.

THEN: This is an entrance to the Forest Hill Muni Metro underground streetcar station. It was built as a part of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1916-1918. It is the only underground station in the 2.27 mile long Twin Peaks Tunnel.

NOW: A building was added to the station; this is the best comparison photo available. Here is the location of Forest Hill Station as seen on Google Maps.

THENThis is Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center. The hospital originally opened in 1866 and was then known as the Almshouse, a place of refuge for people who were chronically ill, or impoverished with nowhere else to go. This picture was taken in 1936. 

NOWThe hospital is operated by the City of San Francisco, and one hundred and fifty years later it still provides care for those in need of medical assistance. Here is the location of the hospital as seen on Google Maps.



GO HERE to view part one of San Francisco then & now.

GO HERE to view part two of San Francisco then & now.

GO HERE to view part four of San Francisco then & now.


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

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 these photo galleries.

San Francisco's West Portal Neighborhoods written by Richard Brandi was helpful in assembling this gallery of ‘Then and Now’ photographs.

Theatres of San Francisco written by Jack Tillmany was helpful in assembling this gallery of ‘Then and Now’ photographs.


A Sony camera was used to take these photographs.

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