Time Traveling in San Francisco with Don McLaurin – 12th November 2012

Thanks Don for a great hike along the byways of San Francisco with so much neat material all along the way. Now I remember the 400 year old paneling at Jacks Bar meant for San Simeon by Citizen Hearst and the fellow at breakfast there who inadvertently joined our group. Ah yes, North Beach means that at one time it was on the Bay. Let’s see, what else? Looking forward to our next one! I’ll send this along via INGE since I don’t have your address. http://www.sfcityguides.org Lew


Michael asked Don to put on his SF City Guide hat to lead us on an urban hike along Fisherman’s Wharf and up into the hills around North Beach. We recalled with pleasure our previous hike with Don in the Panhandle/Haight Ashbury area in October of 2010. The Veterans’s Day commute into the City was light and friendly, the weather crisp and clear. We gathered at the Buena Vista Cafe on the corner of Beach and Hyde and famous for its Irish Coffee. http://www.thebuenavista.com/home/irishcoffee.html With the clanging of the Hyde Street Cable Car in our ears, we knew that we were in the right place.

You can see the red neon sign for the Buena Vista in the far left middle of the picture and the cable car shelter, shall we say pergola just a little closer to us. Coit Tower and the Transamerica Pyramid frame the scene and one swimmer passes a marker on the left. Don shared that the Dolphin Club and the South End Rowing Club allow public entry on alternate days through the week to come in for a swim in the Bay and a hot shower to warm up afterwards, all for $6.50! http://www.dolphinclub.org/about.html http://www.south-end.org

Don is explaining how the cable cars literally opened up San Francisco with 53 miles of track by 1889. In early San Francisco the lower classes lived on the hill tops with the wtd living in the flats. The cable car changed that equation. http://www.cablecarmuseum.org/heritage.html As trolleys and buses became more popular, the cable cars went into decline and in 1947 Mayor Roger Lapham even tried to close the system but a committee fought this move to “modernize”. Fortunately three lines were saved and renovated between 1982 and 1984. They remain an important part of the San Francisco destination and a trade mark for the city. http://www.aviewoncities.com/sf/cablecars.htm

We see the Ghirardelli sign that shines over the Square and just the peak of the clock tower. The smell of chocolate wafts through the air. Domenico Ghirardelli was born in Rapallo, Italy in 1817 and learned the chocolate trade at an early age. He came to California in 1849 after 12 years in Uruguay and Peru. Here’s a fascinating timeline of his life: http://www.ghirardelli.com/about-ghirardelli/ghirardellis-heritage-160-years and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domingo_Ghirardelli also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghirardelli_Square Don pointed out that the apartment towers we see were intended to be only the beginning with a series going along the waterfront, fortunately the purchase of the Square by William Roth and his mother in 1962 blocked this design.

Don is pointing out that we are standing on U.S. Highway 101. Just below the Hyde St. Pier sign is the familiar highway sign. Before the Golden Gate Bridge was constructed vehicles coming north on 101 would get on a ferry at this point and cross the bay to Sausalito where they would continue north. The Hyde Street Pier is a remarkable collection of ships that played the SF Bay waters in earlier years.
http://www.nps.gov/safr/index.htm and http://www.nps.gov/safr/photosmultimedia/index.htm

We visited the Alioto – Lazio Fish Co. at 410 Jefferson St. one of the few remaining in San Francisco. The company is proudly run by “the girls”. Here Annette Traverso describes what is involved in running a fish company “uniquely owned and operated by women”. She is also sharing that they are on the edge of crab season once the negotiations for this year’s prices are finalized. http://crabonline.com/about/

The crab pots are ready awaiting the agreement: http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Fewer-crabs-expected-price-could-climb-4030792.php

Don is sharing the history of various cultures who have fished in the bay and the boats they used. Here is talking about the lateen-rigged boats introduced by Italian fisherman in the later 1800s. They depended on their Felucca fishing boats and at their height perhaps 1000 families sailed out from Fisherman’s Wharf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Felucca and http://bbs.trailersailor.com/forums/potter/index.cgi/noframes/read/82331

On our way to Washington Square with the Powell – Mason Line coming by and the towers of Sts. Peter and Paul Church on the horizon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sts._Peter_and_Paul_Church,_San_Francisco http://www.aviewoncities.com/sf/washingtonsquare.htm

Don is pointing to the outstretched arm of a fireman on the statue funded by Lillie Hitchcock Coit. People will occasionally put a container of booze in the outstretched fireman’s hand. The 19th Century firefighters had a reputation for being the “Wettest of the West”. While accurate probably not quite what Lille intended. http://www.artandarchitecture-sf.com/put-in-coit-tower-link-at-last-word-before-posting.html

Treking up toward Telegraph Hill & Coit Tower, the other monument to Lillie Coit’s benefaction. On the left is Mama’s, not to be missed for breakfast or lunch. http://www.mamas-sf.com/reviews.html

On the far corner is the famous Liguria Bakery where we enjoy some of their famous Focaccia. http://www.italyinsf.com/2008/11/07/liguria-bakery-san-francisco/

Waiting patiently

Coit Tower from Jack Micheline Place: http://www.jack-micheline.com

Salute to Coit Tower: http://juliacoynerrobinson.wordpress.com/tag/lillie-hitchcock-coit/

Famous Guardian of Coit Tower

One of the superb murals done during 1934 as the first major relief work commissioned by the U.S. Government as a Public Works of Art Project. The murals need restoration especially in some areas that Don spoke about that are up the stairs behind a locked door (part of the SF City Guide Tour of Coit Tower). But budgetary considerations so far have not made this possible.

Don pointed out this plaque in honor of Grace Marchant who spearheaded the clean-up of this hillside pathway from North Beach to the Embarcadero which had become a dumping ground. Once again an individual made a big difference and left a lasting legacy.

We looked for the Wild parrots of Telegraph Hill but they were away for the day. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/28/wild-parrots-of-telegraph-hill_n_1308136.html
http://www.pbs.org/independentlens/wildparrots/ http://www.markbittner.net Here are some Brugmansia in showy bloom but beware: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brugmansia

The 19th Century and the 21st. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balclutha_(1886)

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