Let's take a look!
Here's a shot from the top of hill on a street in San Fransisco. You can see what that same street looks like in 1945 here, in 1978 here, and what it looks like today here. Look at all that neon! City lights at "twilight time", as the caption describes it, are one of the best subjects for vintage postcards. Skip the mountains and the fountains, give us sixties' near-dark street scenes! See the Manx Hotel?
Here we have a "fully air conditioned 400 room motor motel" known as "Del Webb's Towne House Market at Eighth". What a mouthful! It was designed by architect Martin Stern, Jr. in 1959. I love that the amenities include an ice machine, a heated pool, and parking. The heated pool I can get behind, but don't the other two listed conveniences seem kind of like cop outs? Maybe parking was at such a premium in downtown San Fransisco at the time that having a place to leave your car, as a paying guest, was a luxury. Who knows. You know what I do know? I want to dine in the Garden Terrace dining area! Too bad there wasn't a postcard for that.
Here's a kitschy type attraction to boast about to the folks back home, via postcard- Lombard Street, the crookedest street in the world! Are you not nuts about the jaggedly placed typography in the little yellow box on the word "crookedest"? It's the little things, people. I thought it might just be a perspective issue, but look at the Wikipedia page and the aerial view in one of the photos. That street really IS crooked-as-heck. Even with the crookedness, i wish I lived in a place that looks as sunny and lush as that street! Also, lemme get that striped awning. Thanks.
Whooooweee! This was one of the picture postcards that really knocked my socks off when I was going through the stack. Does it not look like the hotel in that episode of Mad Men where Betty and Don go on a Valentine's Day date to a hotel? Maybe a little more baroque, but the same kind of column-y magnificience. I, for one, was impressed. Look at the men in white dinner jackets coming down the stairs, and the women in wraps and evening gowns. So pretty!
If you weren't impressed by their lobby, CHECK OUT THEIR POLYNESIAN THEMED IN-HOUSE RESTAURANT. Oh man. Man, oh man. I don't know where to start. No, wait, i DO..."dance to soft romantic music played by native musicians aborad a raft adrift in the Tonga pool". As I die. Do you see the ropes they must use to drift back to the restaurant's "main land"? The gimmick of a lifetime. Wanna know what's crazy? IT'S STILL THERE! Not quite in the exact vintage style of its old incarnation, but pretty dang close. Check out the reviews on criTIKI (also, possibly my favorite genre-specific vintage online resource for tiki bars?) for more about the exotic dinner-and-dance place.
While it's neat to see a for-real tiki bar in a hotel setting, how about the tiki bar chain that started the craze in the first place? Here's a postcard from Trader Vic's. You can see a lot more color postcards of the joint and tourist photos from back-in-the-day here, but be forewarned before you start packing your bags for Trolley town, this particular place has been closed since the early 90's. TRAGEDY.
Here's a postcard of Bay area. And isn't it beautiful? I'm still, at heart, the eight year old pressing nose-to-window on vacation and hollering "WAAAAATERRRR!" everytime we pass over a bridge, so to see a bay like this in real life would really be something! It's weird living in a landlocked state and seeing vast bodies of water on vacation. I wonder if I lived somewhere near the sea if I would become accustomed to it. Maybe, but maybe not. Hillbilly to the core!
The hotel was nearly completed before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906. Although the structure survived, the interior was heavily damaged by fire, and opening was delayed until 1907. Architect and engineer Julia Morgan was hired to repair the building because of her then-innovative use of reinforced concrete, which could produce buildings capable of withstanding earthquakes and other disasters.
I love hearing about natural disasters that thwarted architectural plans at the last minute. I mean, I love the "what are we going to do now?!" -ness of it more than the tragedy. But you get the idea.
Last but not least, another bay shot:
I found some information about Mike Roberts, the photographer for a lot of these color postcards, on a tiki-themed forum. You can see more of his postcards here. Wouldn't it be neat to be a commercial photographer period at a time when the most colorful, bright images were desirable? I'm imagining a Robert Redford in the early seventies' type creature in trim khakis with a camera slung around his neck. I wonder how close my daydream is to reality!
Have you been to San Francisco before? Seen any of these places in real life? Tell me all about it! :)
That's all for today, gotta get crackin' on the obligatory school work. Only four more weeks to go! Have a great Monday, and I'll see you tomorrow!