Infinite City

I recently finished reading Rebecca Solnit’s excellent “Infinite City” (Amazon), and for somebody like me who likes maps, history and San Francisco it was a pleasure throughout. If you love San Francisco, buy it now. One of the main themes of the book is that every person has a very different mental map of the [...]

Why? Because.

After my recent post on San Francisco’s original Emanu-El Synagogue I got a link to this photo from Richard over at Sparkletack and in that picture of Sutter Street of just after the earthquake of 1906 there is an advertisement for MJB coffee clearly visible on a wall of one of the destroyed buildings. That [...]

A San Francisco Gone

Update: As it turns out, my original research was not correct – Temple Emanu-El was located between Powell and Stockton, not Mason and Powell… I’ve made several substantial changes below to reflect this new information — For a city with barely 160 years of history as a dense urban environment, San Francisco has undergone remarkable [...]

Mystery Arch on Market Street

While idly searching the Library of Congress archive for old shots of San Francisco I stumbled over the photo below (click for a very large version) – It shows Market Street from between Stockton and Grant towards the East, with a clear view of the Call Building over an elaborate arch that spans Market Street. [...]

Again, Why?

I’ve been talking about vintage MJB Coffee ads in San Francisco before, and while I was researching that blog post back then I remember seeing references to a second “Why” ad in San Francisco, but I could never find an address for it. A few weeks ago that problem solved itself when I was walking [...]

Some Old Ads Never Die

While I’m on the subject of old street signage, there is also an amazing number of old painted advertisements that can be found in American cities. Sometimes and old house will fall to the wrecking ball and on the walls of the neighbors old advertisements suddenly see the light of the day. And then there [...]