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Jun 18 2005

San Francisco - Pictures


Continuing on with pictures from our recent trip to San Francisco, click on "continue reading" to see the best of our non-Golden Gate pictures.


As we sat on a park bench along the Embarcadero Waterfront looking north out on the San Francisco Bay, on our left was the Golden Gate Bridge and a little to the right was Alcatraz Island, known as "The Rock." Originally a defensive fortress designed by the U.S. Army to protect the city and bay in 1853. It started to receive Civil War prisoners in 1861.


In 1934 the U.S. Army pulled out and the island was converted into a federal ultra maximum security penitentiary and eventual home of such infamous prisoners as Al Capone, George "Machine Gun" Kelly and Robert Stroud, the "Birdman of Alcatraz."


To our far right, looking out into the bay, was the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, commonly known as the Bay Bridge. The bridge has two major segments which connect Yerba Buena Island with each shore. The dirt and rock excavated to create the Yerba Buena Tunnel was used to create the artificial Treasure Island which is connected to Yerba Buena Island. The pictures here are of the western segment terminating in San Francisco which consists of two suspension bridges with a central anchorage. The eastern span terminating in Oakland consists of a truss causeway, five medium span truss bridges and a double tower cantilever span.


Opened in 1936 after three years of construction, the Bay Bridge now carries 280,000 vehicles every day along its total length of 8.4 miles. The bridge has five westbound lanes on an upper deck and five eastbound lanes on a lower deck. The 1989 Loma Prieta (World Series) earthquake caused a section of the upper lanes to collapse.


In the foreground is the "Cupid's Span" fiberglass sculpture, created by artists Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, located in Rincon Park. The sculpture and the park were donated to the City of San Francisco by Donald and Doris Fisher owners of the retailer Gap, Inc. which they founded in San Francisco in 1969. On the right is the Ferry Building Clock Tower.


Coit Tower was build in 1933 at the summit of Telegraph Hill as a monument to San Francisco's volunteer firefighters. Legend says that the 210 foot tower's fluted walls and porticoed observation deck were made to resemble the nozzle of a firehose, but its architect Arthur Brown insisted that was not his intention.


The eccentric Lillie Hitchcock Coit left $100,000 to the city of San Francisco for beautification of the city upon her death in 1929. Having had a life-long obsession with fires and firefighters, the tower to commemorate the city's volunteer firefighters seemed appropriate.


Located off the northwest corner of San Francisco near the historic Cliff House and 400 feet into the Pacific Ocean, Seal Rocks have long been a safe haven for sea lions. For ten months of the year sea lions would congregate here, sunning themselves on the rocks, playing in the surf, and barking boisterously the whole time which can be quite eerie when everything is covered in thick fog.


From late June through August, the sea lions take some time off, and head south to the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara to breed, but never fail to return when autumn arrives. Since the 1989 earthquake, however, the sea lions have added the more protected Pier 39 at Fisherman's Wharf to the places they call home.


The Dutch Windmill, built in 1902 and restored in 1981, located in the Queen Wilhelmina Tulip Garden, named in 1962 for the late queen of the Netherlands, houses a pumping station which irrigates Golden Gate Park.


In 1967, the Summer of Love put the dilapidated San Francisco neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury forever in the history books as the epicenter of the anti-establishment hippie movement which sought peace, love, understanding...and drugs. Haight-Ashbury was also the home to the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin and Jefferson Airplane. (I illegally parked our car, hopped out, took some photos, and got the heck out of there as fast as I could out of fear that I might have my membership in the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy revoked.)


San Francisco's Alamo Square is lined with Victorian houses including the most famous "Six Sisters" or "Painted Ladies." They were built in the mid-1890s by developer Matthew Kavanaugh in an elaborate Queen Anne style and are painted in multiple colors to draw attention to the elements of the design.


The Transamerica Pyramid, the tallest and most recognizable skyscraper in the San Francisco skyline, soars 853 feet into the air and consists of forty-eight stories topped by a hollow, illuminated, 212 foot spire. It was designed by architect William Pereira and was completed in 1972 after being downsized from its planned fifty-five stories and 1000 foot height after locals...doing what they do best and often...protested what they vulgarly called "Pereira's Prick" as being too big, flashy and corporate.


Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "Crookedest Street in the World," Lombard Street between Hyde and Leavenworth Streets on Russian Hill contains eight sharp turns or switchbacks. The design, first suggested by property owner Carl Henry and instituted in 1922, was born out of necessity in order to reduce the hill's natural twenty-seven degree slope which was too steep for most vehicles to climb and a serious hazard to pedestrians to a more reasonable sixteen degree incline.


After witnessing brutal accidents involving a teams of horses falling and sliding on their sides, pulled by their cargo, down San Francisco's notorious hills, Scottish inventor Andrew Hallidie designed and built the first cable car system which was successfully debuted on August 1, 1873. So successful was the system that allowed expansion to previously impractical areas of the city that by the 1906 earthquake the city had almost 600 cable cars running along 110 miles of track.


Today, San Francisco's cable car fleet consists of forty-four cars of which as many as twenty-seven may be operating at any given time. There are now just ten miles of track consisting of three separate lines. Despite its reduced size, the system carries nearly 36,000 passengers daily for an annual total of thirteen million. These photos are from the Powell-Hyde Line at the Powell Street turntable at Hallidie Plaza.


The ornate Chinatown Gateway, also known as "Dragon's Gate," was designed by Clayton Lee in 1970 and serves as the main portal to San Francisco's Chinatown.


The iconic green tiled structure heralds the entrance to Grant Avenue, Chinatown's bustling center of tourism.


San Francisco's National Maritime Museum with a passing cruise ship in the background.


Just some row houses along the Embarcadero Waterfront that I thought were attractive and which rounds out my twenty pictures from San Francisco.

Posted by Don |


  1. Your site is sensational. I've just been researching family based sites for http://family.com.au an aussie family portal I am working on, when I stumbled onto your site. THose photos are stunning. The cable cars remind me of our own Melbourne trams.

  2. #2
    RagDoll said on June 21, 2005 | Reply

    What wonderful shots! As a SF Bay Area Native, I count myself very lucky to get to the city on such a beautiful day! Your snaps are nicer than most postcards I see. Thanks for sharing them.

  3. #3
    KTS said on July 29, 2005 | Reply

    Beautiful pictures! As RagDoll said. They are better than the ones on the "official" travel websites.

  4. #4
    Angie said on February 2, 2008 | Reply

    As you can see I am an Australian. I often search the net for anything San Fran as i have longed to go there since i was 10, I'm not sure why i just do....This site is great. I hope to come over there some day and who knows i may never leave.....It is soooo beautiful and from your pics i'm more in love with it.....i'm very in LOVE with that bridge lol..(the golden gate). Anyway Thankyou so much for sharing your gawjus city with us and having this site up and running i will surely be back..

    P.S as Jim said they do look alot like our melbourne trams lol...

    Take Care
    Aussie Ang

  5. #5
    Dustin Gallatin said on October 21, 2011 | Reply

    I should have called YOU when we visiting SF, because clearly we missed a lot of good highlights!!! What a great tour! Thanks!

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