Behold Bernal Hill, as it looked in 1942.
A few nifty details to note in the photo…
- This is how Bernal Hill looked for much of its history: Barren and bald. The Sutrito Tower microwave antenna was erected in the 1960s, and the trees around it were planted in the 1970s.
- In this photo, Army was still a regular San Francisco Street. It had not yet been widened to serve as an artery for traffic headed to the East Bay via the Southern Crossing Bridge.
- The bus is one of San Francisco’s very first electric-powered trolley coaches. Close inspection shows it was No. 506, built by the St. Louis Car Company in December 1939, but not delivered until mid-1941. The sign on the bus says it was operating on the R -Line, Muni’s first electric trolley coach route, launched in September 1941. Happily, San Francisco has preserved and restored a vintage bus just like this; here’s a recent full-color photo of Trolley Bus 509.
- If we zoom and enhance the right side of the image, we see the Signal Gasoline sign on the northwest corner of the Army/South Van Ness intersection:
That location is still a gas station, of course, so now we know that it’s been serving that role for at least 75 years.
- Across Army Street, we see a squat, one-story house and a four-story, multiunit residential building. Both are still there, and both look more or less the same today:
- Extra Credit: You Bernalwood Editor can even see a portion of my house in the 1942 photo! This is the earliest image of my house that I’ve yet found.
Notice any other cool details? Tell us about them in the comments.
For whatever reason, history and providence have given us several photos of this area of Bernal in the early 1940s. Check out Bernalwood’s previous stories on the view from Army and Folsom in 1942, and the view from Folsom at Precita Park in 1943.
Also, don’t miss all of the time-travelicious photos of Bernal available in the OpenSFHistory Bernal Heights collection.
PHOTO: Courtesy of OpenSFHistory