03 June 2017

San Francisco's Sunset District, then & now, part one. Plus, the Symbionese Liberation Army. 3 June 2017.

This was a ramble in the Sunset District of San Francisco. A brief review of the Symbionese Liberation Army is included. Part one of the Sunset District photos are below. Part two may be viewed here.

Click on an image to see the full-size photograph.
On 15 April 1974, Patty Hearst was seen on a bank surveillance camera. She was armed with an M-1 carbine rifle, holding up a branch of the Hibernia Bank along with several Symbionese Liberation Army members. The robbers shot two people in the bank and stole more than $10,000. Nancy Ling Perry, Donald DeFreeze, and Patty Hearst are visible from left to right. They are running out of the bank and jumping over one of the two people they shot during the robbery. Both people survived their gunshot wounds.


NOW  The Little Shamrock Irish Pub was established in 1893 by J.P. Quigley.

THEN  The Little Shamrock Irish Pub is located on Lincoln Way at Ninth Avenue, across the street from Golden Gate Park. 
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 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. This image is courtesy of Mark Weinberger and the History Guild of Daly City/Colma.
NOW  The exterior of the building looks very similar to how 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. 
THEN  The Loma Prieta earthquake struck on October 17, 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 building owner demolished the structure. This image is courtesy of Lorri Ungaretti.
NOW  This replacement apartment building was constructed in the early 1990s. 
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. This image is courtesy of Emiliano Echeverria; the photo was taken by Arthur Lloyd.
NOW  The apartment building is located at the southeast corner of Ninth Avenue and Kirkham Street. A clothing cleaning store now occupies the commercial space. 
THEN  This was the Irving Theater, located on Irving Street between Fourteenth Avenue and Fifteenth Avenue. The theater opened for business in 1926; it was sited between a Safeway market and a United Grocers market. The theater closed in 1962, and it was replaced by an apartment building. This image is courtesy of Jack Tillmany.
NOW  This is the apartment building that replaced the Irving Theater. Note that the brick building that housed the Safeway market is still standing. 
THEN  This is a photo of a gas station as seen in 1951. It is located on Judah Street at Forty-fifth Avenue. This image is courtesy of the Western Neighborhoods Project.
NOW  The gas station building is desolate; it is boarded-up and behind a fence. 
THEN  This photo was taken in 1951. Roth's Drugs occupied this building; it is located on Irving Street at the southeast corner of Twenty-first Avenue. This image is courtesy of the Western Neighborhoods Project. 
NOW, This is the same building with the tower removed. The building is now occupied by a Bank of the Orient branch. 
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. 
NOW  The remains of the gas station are still in place. The location is on Irving Street at Sixteenth Avenue. 
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. This image is courtesy of Emiliano Echeverria, and the photograph is by Randolph Brant. 

NOW  The streetcar tracks are gone, and cars now rule Twentieth Avenue. Golden Gate Park is ahead. This photo was taken on June 16, 2017. 

THEN  This photo was taken on Noriega Street at Twentieth Avenue in the late 1930s. This building housed a grocery market and a pharmacy. This image is courtesy of John J. Hills. 
NOW  The building is occupied by the East West Bank. 
THEN  This photo of the Hibernia Bank was taken in 1976. The bank was located on Noriega Street at Twenty-second Avenue. This image is courtesy of the Western Neighborhoods Project.


THEN  This is the interior of the Hibernia Bank. The date is Monday, April 15, 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. The man and the woman in the picture each hold 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 S.L.A. is on the offensive. More information about the S.L.A. can be seen at the bottom of this photo gallery. 

NOW  Hibernia Bank is no longer in business. The building is now occupied by North East Medical Services. 
THEN  This photo was taken in 1951. The building contained a medical/dental business and a drug store on the ground level. This image is courtesy of the Western Neighborhoods Project.
NOW  A Vietnamese restaurant is located in the building. The site is at the southwest corner of Judah Street and Forty-sixth Avenue. 
THEN  This photo was taken in 1915, and the view is looking west. Workers are installing a water main pipeline on Irving Street; in the distance is the Pacific Ocean. 
NOW  This is a view of the locale as seen today. 
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. 
NOW  The old theatre building is now home to the San Francisco Grace Christian Church. 
THEN  Busy Bee Market occupied this building from the 1960s through the 1990s. This image is courtesy of Robert Herbert.
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. Some resilient surfers live in the area and are always ready to go surfing
THEN  This photo was taken in 1926 while workers constructed 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. 
NOW  A  two-car N-Judah streetcar is visible and is 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. 
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 G.P.S. generated track.

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 lived in apartment #4 in this apartment complex. I took this photo in 2013. 

This is how the F.B.I. 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 came 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 F.B.I. 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. Why did they murder Foster? The S.L.A. branded him a fascist because it mistakenly believed he had backed a plan to require I.D. cards for all Oakland high school students.

Three days after the kidnapping, the S.L.A. 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 S.L.A. 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 February 22, made its first food distribution within San Francisco.

It was a disorganized disaster. Scores of people were injured as panicked workers threw food boxes off moving trucks as vast crowds of people unexpectedly showed up for the food. The S.L.A. issued a "Communique" the next day demanding that a community coalition be put in charge of the effort.
Patty Hearst issued a series of tape-recorded verbal messages over a few weeks. Among other things, she criticized her family's poor response to the food distribution demand. Eventually, she 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." 

Patty Hearst was captured in San Francisco on September 18, 1975, and was arrested along with Wendy Yoshimura. They were hiding in a house located at 625 Morse Street in the Outer Mission District. On January 15, 1976, Patty Hearst stood trial for bank robbery. Her attorneys argued that fearing for her life, she began to sympathize with her captors. On March 20, 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.

NOW  This is 1827 Golden Gate Avenue today. It appears that all is now peaceful and quiet. This photo was taken on June 5, 2017

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. 
NOW  This is the view seen from within the entryway to 1827 Golden Gate Avenue. This photo was taken on June 5, 2017.

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 Lange 

"Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important." Henri Carter-Bresson

"There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer." Ansel Adams
"The important thing is not the camera but the eye." Alfred Eisenstaedt


San Francisco's Sunset District (Then and Now), written by Lorri Ungaretti, helped assemble this gallery of the then and now photographs gallery.

The first volume of the San Francisco Bay Area Photo Blog contains galleries of photographs 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.