Tynan Peterson: Oops. I goofed. What I circled as Mission Dolores is actually Mission High School. Mission Dolores is the church I believe you circled between Mission High School and the New US Mint.
Ida Sanchez Tello: I could write about this quiz for pages and pages describing how I found certain landmarks, certain buildings that are still standing (but not landmarks, just regular apartment or office ones) and how I haven't found others.
You won't find the Coit Tower, it's east from the shot.
What drove me a little crazy is that the city grid shifts north of Market street, so following the street lines in the map was taking me to a different place than following the north line in the shot.
The Embarcadero was also left from this shot, there's no way that tower on the far right can be it, it's just too on the east. The photographer was pointing north - north west and the Embarcadero is totally on the east of the peninsula. You would have seen the Coit Tower first had it been the case. I still can't identify that tower, seems it might be the Ghirardelli tower, but the proportions are not right and the tower is not that tall.
A lot of things have changed in SF in 63 years, but the Golden Glow Beer billboard is still there (advertising something else, of course)
[See more about How Ida Solved the Puzzle in the right margin above.]
Q-Gen: Tynan Peterson lives in Oakland. She tells me she thinks the tower is the San Francisco College for Women on Lone Mountain. Do you think so? She agrees with you that it's not the Embarcadero, which is off to the east out of view. Someone else wrote that the picture was taken from The Mark. Don't know if that's true. I am not familiar with that building. What do you think?
Ida Sanchez: I think the Lone Mountain College should be more to the left, but according to the map it should be in the straight line from the photographer to the north tower of the GGB. Tynan should more than I do in that regard, I'm mostly basing my findings on Google Maps.
Tynan Peterson: Ooh, this is fun. I'm doing it old school, but I printed out a map of SF and am drawing trajectories to try and figure out what's what. The church that is closer (straight up above Sears) I think is St. James Church (23rd and Guerrero).
You're right. Forget what I said about the SF College for Women/ Lone Mountain. (It's now USF). Lone Mountain is way to the left. Still trying to figure out what the tower is that I thought was Lone Mountain. It's just to the right of Alta Vista Park.
Ida Sanchez: Checked The Mark, definitely not from there, the pic looks north, yet the Mark north east of the Old Sears.
Q-Gen: It may have been from a helicopter. I imagine they were used by newspapers and maybe by private pilots back then.
Carol Gene Farrant: The photo was absolutely taken from the top of the hill in Bernal Heights...There is a park on the top of the hill. Lone Mountain is to the west outside of the frame of the picture. It’s no longer a college for women. It is now the Lone Mountain campus of the University of San Francisco . I think it was once the site of a cemetery. (See Carol's further comments under "From Whence the Photo was taken" above).
Janice Sellers: It can't be Lone Mountain. That's at 2350 Turk Street. If it isn't Coit Tower, the only other thing I think is reasonable is Grace Cathedral.
Tynan Peterson: I think I got it! I think the tower is the 1920s apt building at 2500 Steiner, right next to Alta Plaza. Woo-hoo!
Tynan Peterson: I just took a look at your map and am confused. I don't see anything to the right of Mission Street/Van Ness in the photo, thus not sure how you can see the Embarcadero, Grace Cathedral, Coit Tower, Julius's Castle, and the Old Mint.
I sent another photo with the landmarks circled which correspond to the map. Alta Plaza is the park (at the high point) and the "tower" is the apartment building adjacent to AP at 2500 Steiner.
So I have:
Mt. Tamalpais Golden Gate Bridge USF (Lone Mountain) St. James Church (Guerrero at 23rd) Mission High School Mission Dolores New U.S. Mint Alta Plaza 2500 Steiner (apts) Golden Glow Beer sign (atop apts at 3100 Mission) Sears building (Mission at Cesar Chavez, formerly Army Street)
1. To the left the Golden Gate Strait; to the right San Francisco Bay
2. There are many: The Golden Gate Bridge, The US Mint, Dolores Mission Basillica, the Wade Tunnel, etc.
3. See below.
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Comments from Our Readers
***** Golden Gate bridge towers to left and Mint building (Quiz 235) in right background. Comment: a landmark is a prominent feature of the landscape. In that context Mount Tamalpais would be one of the most prominent landmarks seen from a vantage point above the Mission district of SF. It towers above the left bridge tower. Mount Tamalpais at 2571 feet in elevation was "built" many millennia ago.
Mike is referring to the photo he submitted on "The Granite Lady" for Quiz 265 back in 2009. Click on the thumbnail for a larger image. - Q-Gen
***** I am working on this week's photo. Clearly San Francisco. There is the Golden Gate, built over a number of years, finished in 1937. And Grace Cathedral is visible, but not finished until 1964! Trying to figure out the tower on the left. Its isn't the Lillian COIT TOWER completed in 1931. So I am still working on it. But clearly the body of water is the San Francisco Bay. At last 3.33... years at Stanford has paid off with instrant recognition.
***** Too easy
***** I can offer that the picture was taken between 1933 and 1949 based on the Golden Glow Beer Sign (years the beer was manufactured)and which also lends itself to the San Francisco area since the beer was brewed in Oakland. The actual date is probably closer to 1938/1939 based on the model of cars in the Chevrolet sales lot.
***** The current U.S. Mint in San Francisco opened in 1937; the Golden Gate Bridge opened on 27 May 1937. I can't imagine being involved in the actual construction of the bridge - not too thrilled about heights!
This photo was taken on 27 April 1950 of the over-crowded Mission District of San Francisco.
Thanks again for a challenging quiz! Super job as usual!!!!!!!!!!
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner Team Fletcher!
***** If I mess up this quiz I should be ashamed of myself. The body of water is San Francisco Bay. There are probably lots of designated historic landmarks in that picture. The one that first caught my eye was the new San Francisco Mint built in 1937 in the upper right of the photo. Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933. Opening day was May 27, 1937. That is in the upper left of the photo. (They are talking about raising the toll to $8!) Just a bit in front of the Mint is a tree lined street. It runs diagonally down towards the left. That is Dolores Street. A few blocks down from the Mint is Mission Dolores. You cant really make out the old mission building. Its in the shadows. It was founded as the Mision San Francisco de Asis in 1776. The building there was constructed between 1782 and 1791 and is the oldest building in San Francisco. Standing next to it, which you can see in the photo, is the Mission Dolores Basilica. Its twin towers are visible. It was built between 1913 and 1918. And, most impressive of all, it looks like there might actually be parking spaces on some of those streets.
***** I really wanted to identify the building in the lower left corner but I have not been able to determine when this landmark was built i.e. Sears Roebuck & Co. in lower left corner (squarish building with tower over entrance) at 3120 Mission Street (today but described as corner of Mission & Cesar Chavez aka Army Street or 3435 Cesar Chavey aka 3120 Mission). This building houses the Career Link Centre today.
Before I ran out of time, this is as close as I got to finding the history of the building before Sears, Roebuck & Co.: 1928 Jul 28, Sears, Roebuck & Co. purchased a Mission Street property for $500,000. (SFC, 7/25/03, p.E10)3. When were the landmarks built? Source: Timeline SF: timelines.ws/cities/SF_B_1893_1929.HTML
***** Was this picture taken from the Top of the Mark? It is similar to some that I have seen when searching for this one as far as size of buildings. If I had to hazard a guess I would say yes. If it is, that would also be a historic landmark, although not in the picture.
***** The bridge and the mountains gave the scene away as San Francisco. I copied and enlarged the photo and googled some of the signs, "Jess Lanning" and "Golden Glow Beer" and found that both businesses were located in the Mission District. I also noticed a caption on the enlarged photo, "General view of the over-crowded". Googling that I found the original photo on Pinterest.
Congratulations to Our Winners
Sharon M. Levy Janice Sellers Mike Dalton Nelsen Spickard Tynan Peterson Ida Sanchez Edna Cardinal Terry Hollerstain Arthur Hartwell Carol Gene Farrant Cynthia Costigan Gus Marsh Debbie Johnson Sherry Marshall Donna Jolley Rebecca Bare Marcelle Comeau Nancy Nalle-Mackenzie Margaret Paxton Bob Wilson Jim Kiser Dianne Abbott Judy Pfaff
Grace Hertz and Mary Turner Team Fletcher
How Ida Solved the Puzzle
I think I stared at the picture for about 10 minutes without recognizing anything in it, thinking I would never figure out which city it was. All of a sudden, after all that time, I noticed the Golden Gate Bridge.
That still didn't make my life easier. Other than the bridge itself, I was not able to recognize anything else, none of the San Francisco I know was visible.
The first hint at the timing and spot of the city came with the Golden Glow Beer billboard. After googling exactly that, I fonund a picture with a Billboard just like this one but in a different building. That dated about 1956. So I googled "San Francisco in the 1950s" and went to the images. For some reason, one black and white shot of the Golden Gate Bridge called my attention and I opened a blog with its history that contained our weekly quiz. That gave me more of an idea of the location and landmarks. It also claims that it was taken on April 27, 1950.
Labeling Mission Street, I went to Google Maps and searched for a spot in which the street turns diagonally left, found the corner with Cesar Chavez (formerly known as Army) and the Old Sears Building that appears in the lower left of the pic. That also gave me a tentative location for the photographer and a perspective of what could be seen from that spot. All of a sudden, I was virtually walking the streets of SF all over again.
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map dates the Sears Building to 1929
The photo was absolutely taken from the top of the hill in Bernal Heights . There is a park on the top of the hill. A friend and I took a ride and a hike today. It turns out that my friend doesn’t like hiking as much as I’ve been led to believe. My wobbly legs were not able to make it to the top. I made it to about 37 deg 44’35.59”N and 122 deg 24’42.27”W (according to Google Earth). There was just about the same scene spread out before me. I figure the photographer must have made it to the top of the hill, just a tiny bit more to the west. That tall building in the background is still there. I couldn’t see what may or may not be the Sears building in the foreground. It would have been behind the trees and blocked from my view, if it still exists. We then set out to find the tall, skinny building. After circling block after block over and over again, we gave up and headed homeward. On the way home, my friend screamed, “There it is!” We had been looking at it before from the side. It’s not tall and skinny from the side. It’s tall and wide. We believe it to be 2500 Steiner at Jackson . It’s a residential co-op. Property taxes for a unit on the 8th floor in 2013 were in excess of $24,000.
The Steiner Building was the hardest to identify. It is the tower in the background right of the quiz photo. It was initially identified as the Coit Tower and for a while I believed it could be part of the Embarcadero. But cooler heads prevailed. See discussion below.
Sharon M. Levy: Question: The tower in the back right of the photo. I though that it might be Coit Tower. The dates work but the shadows on the top triangle of the building don't look like Coit Tower which is circular.
Q-Gen.: I am not sure the Coit Tower is the tall building in the far background to the right. If it were the tower, I think from the point of view of the camera, it would be on the left of the mint, not the right. The mint is the rectangular building with the columns to the background right.
Janice M. Sellers: I'm pretty sure it is Coit Tower. I've attached a Google Map showing the route from the Mint to Coit Tower, and it seems reasonable for the photo. But if you don't think it's Coit Tower, what do you think it is? I can't think of anything else in that direction.
Q-Gen: Maybe you are right. Here is the map I made: tiny.cc/8qpr7w This map makes it seem like the Coit
Tower should be to the left of the Mint in the picture, and not to the right. It looks like the tower is directly in the direction down Mission St from the Mint, and not to the northwest.
Arthur Hartwell: Oakland Tribune Tower
Q-Gen: If you are telling me that the tower in the background right is the Tribune Tower, I don't think that is right. I think that's the Embarcadero. Some readers identified it as the Coit Tower, but that can't be right either. If you look to the left of the Tower and closer in, you will see the old US Mint - the rectangular building with the columns. The Coit Tower should be to the left of the Mint and further back, but I can't find it.
Tynan Peterson: The POV of the photo is facing northwest. I don't think you can see Grace Cathedral nor the Embarcadero. Very unusual view of SF. I like it.
Q-Gen: Have some questions for you. Check out what I marked up.
Janice Sellers: I wasn't able to look at your [Google] map without permission, but I can tell you that Coit Tower is not down MIssion Street. It's about a mile away. [See map, right]
Q-Gen: I agree it's not the Coit Tower. I thought it might be the Embarcadero, but Tynan Peterson thinks it's the San Francisco College for Women at Lone Mountain.
Carol Gene Farrant: We can date this picture as having been taken some time between 1937 and 1954. In the hills to the right of the Golden Gate Bridge is a light colored rectangle. That’s the Waldo Tunnel. The first bore opened in 1937. Now there are two, the second of which opened in 1954. The arch over the opening to the tunnel is painted like a rainbow.
I’m sure I saw the Golden Glow beer sign, but I didn’ t think much about it. It was the Mint that kept
jumping out at me. Julius Castle is on Telegraph Hill which is topped by Coit Tower. They are both to the right outside of the frame of the picture. There were three things about this picture that had me stumped. One was that tower behind the Mint. Today what I know as the Embarcadeo is a street and an area far to the right outside of the frame of the picture. I’m wondering if that building is still there. The one you’ve identified as the Sears Building was also a problem. I know where Sears used to be on Mission Street . That’s not what it looks like now. Perhaps there was an earlier building. In the photo it looks like there is writing on the left side of the tower, but I can’t make it out. What really drove me nuts was where was the photographer standing when the picture was taken. I suspect you have the general area correct, but there is no hill there from which you could get that view. Just to the south and a tad east of Mission and Cesar Chavez is Bernal Heights which is a hill. It was probably open land when the picture was taken, if that is where it was taken from. Now it is covered with houses.
See Carol's comments above "From Whence the Photo was Taken".