Then and Now: Folsom at Precita, 1943

New Track Work and Repairs L.V. Newton Negative 6

When they are not giving you expensive parking tickets or botching your commute, our friends at the San Francisco Municipal  Transportation Agency (SFMTA) also maintain a historical photo archive that’s accessible via a spiffy photo website for blissful procrastination focused browsing by members of the general public.

That’s where Bernalwood found this retrolicious photo of Folsom Street at Precita in 1943, looking north from the western end of Precita Park.

Here’s how it looks now, 71 years later, on May 3, 2014:


So many details to appreciate in that older view! Behold, the annotated version:


As you can see, the Palermo Bakery is now home to Precita Clean laundromat, while the Yosemite Meat Market on the corner is the location of today’s Charlie’s Cafe.

Providentially, Bernalwood previously shared a view of the same building from the opposite direction, as captured from the intersection of Folsom and Army (Cesar Chavez) looking south just one year earlier, in 1942:


And when we zoom and enhance that photo, we get a terrific view of the Yosemite Meat Market sign that was hiding just around the corner in the 1943 perspective:



If you’ve enjoyed this trip down the rabbit hole historical interlude, you’ll also enjoy this recent post from La Lengua rebel leader Burrito Justice, who explored the intersection of Mission Street at 29th using photos from the same SFMTA archive.

Here’s a teaser, showing the site of today’s Pizzahacker:

29th Street and Mission Street, Claims Department Case 5800

And of course, there’s no substitute for going to the original source. So if you don’t mind kissing your productivity goodbye, you can also explore the SFMTA photo archive yourself. It’s fun, it’s mega-informative, and it may even help you feel good about paying off your next parking ticket, since you’ll know that at least some part of that money will be put to good use.

PHOTOS: 1943 photos by SFMTA. 2014 photo by Telstar Logistic. 1942 photo via San Francisco Public Library

11 thoughts on “Then and Now: Folsom at Precita, 1943

  1. I can’t believe there’s no comment on the overturned car. Is this perhaps the explanation of the rash of overturned Smartcars on the hill, not a protest against gentrifiers, but rather a long-established tradition being celebrated in 2014?

  2. I remember walking past the meat market every day, to and from school at St. Anthony’s for 5th grade (1971-72). On the way home, I would pop in and ask (politely) if he had any “salami ends” and depending on the size, I had a snack for free or up to 10-cents!

  3. With the exception of the trees that really spruce up the area, before looked so much nice than now; too bad that the streetcar line is no longer.

  4. What I find fascinating here is the roll-up door over Charlie’s is not a new thing at all! I always associate roll-up doors with New York’s more dangerous neighborhoods, but apparently back a century ago they weren’t uncommon. Thanks for the photos.

  5. Moved to northern California–miss the old neighborhood. Lived on Harrison at the foot of Bernal Heights and went to St. Anthony’s. Thank you for all of the photos, both old and new!

  6. My grandfather arrived from Sicily and build 3 houses on the 1600 block of Alabama Street in the 1890s. I’d love to know his reaction knowing what those same units are selling for in today’s hyper-inflated market.

  7. Rene’, our Grandmother was the financial brain…Grandma owned the house at 31 Mullen too and I have heard many conflicting stories about the property located on the 1600 block of Alabama Street…I think some of the Guardino history don’t jibe what really was…

  8. Pingback: Wednesday: Bernal Heights History Show and Tell | Bernalwood

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