Monday, April 30, 2012

International Jazz Day #1 -- April 30, 2012

Today is the first International Jazz Day.  I hope this will become an annual event.

Here is Thelonious Sphere Monk (1917-1982), great American composer and piano player, posing on Powell/Hyde cable car 526 (now 26) on the cover of his album Thelonious Monk Alone in San Francisco. He liked San Francisco. The image is from the wonderful site LucyWho (

This is the 1300th post in this blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good Shepherd Auction #3 -- April 29, 2012

Yesterday we attended the annual auction/dinner dance for Good Shepherd School. The theme was fiesta.  I was not an auction item this year.  The food was good and we won several items in the silent auction.  The live auction drew good prices for several items.  I took the photo yesterday.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bark Carrolton Was in Trouble -- April 28, 2012

The Battleship Oregon was built by the Union Iron Works in San Francisco.  Oregon served in the fleet that destroyed the Spanish fleet at Santiago de Cuba. In 1914 she visited the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Starting in 1925, she was preserved at Portland, Oregon as a museum ship. When World War II broke out, she was scrapped. 

From the 15-March-1897 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image to see a larger version. 


After Making a Picturesque Entry She Went Adrift.

Collided With the Battle-Ship Oregon, but Did Very Little Damage.

The American bark Carrolton made a most picturesque entry into port last Friday, but she did not look so well yesterday morning when she was afoul of the battle-ship Oregon. The red-stack tug Sea King separated the two vessels and the Carrolton is again at her anchorage.  As the Carrolton was making the Golden Gate the moon broke through the clouds and showed her the way in. She was brought to an anchor off Folsom-street wharf, but during the night fouled her anchor. The turn of the tide set her adrift, and the first thing the crew knew about the accident was when she bumped up against the Oregon. Neither vessel was damaged to any extent and the Carrolton will dock to-day to discharge her cargo of coal.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ghost Sign #6 -- April 27, 2012

A ghost of a ghost sign appears on the side of the Hobart Building at Market and Montgomery.  The hexagon contained a picture of a stagecoach for years after Wells Fargo moved its branch out of the building just visible at the bottom of the photo.  The tall building in the background was once the Wells Fargo world headquarters.  I don't remember when the stagecoach and the words Wells Fargo got painted over. I took the photo on 12-March-2012.

Yesterday we learned that our office is moving to another building this year. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Like Sterling on Silver -- April 23, 2012

An ad from the 1927 Film Daily Yearbook touts two reel comedies produced by the Christie Film Company.  It features various stars, most of whom are not well known today.  "The Name Christie on Comedy is like Sterling on Silver."

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Door #21 -- April 22, 2012

Willis K Polk designed the Jessie Street Substation in 1909.  It was a plain brick box, with some beautiful decorations, especially around the doors.  In recent years, the facade became part of the Contemporary Jewish Museum (

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Nickname #13 -- April 21, 2012

The Emporium, "The Big E," was a department store on Market Street in San Francisco.  The store opened in 1896 in the Parrott Building, which is not to be confused with the Parrott Block on Montgomery Street.  The facade, seen in the image above, was preserved when the store was demolished to make way for a Bloomingdale's.  I fondly remember the Roof Rides. 

From the 19-September-1897 San Francisco Call.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger view. 

The weather was warm again today.  We went to the Stanford Shopping Center.  One garage was closed so they could hold a concert on the roof.  Something to do with the new MicroSoft store.  We had hotdogs for lunch. 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alley #30 -- April 20, 2012

Looking down Ambrose Bierce, formerly Aldrich, Alley. On the left is the former Call Building. Bierce wrote for the San Francisco Call. I like the scooters.

Bierce served with distinction in the Civil War. He worked for many years as a journalist. He wrote short stories, many influenced by his terrible experiences in the war, but my favorite work is his Devil's Dictionary, a collection of cynical definitions. In late 1913, he went to Mexico, which was torn by a revolution, and eventually disappeared. No one has been able to determine what happened to him.

It was very warm yesterday and today.  I went out at lunchtime without my coat.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fire and Earthquake Annivesary #5 -- April 18, 2012

We lost another survivor in February.  Three came to the ceremony today.  At the Golden Fire Hydrant, it turned out that the cans of spray paint with gold lids contained silver paint.  A Good Samaritan went to a hardware store and found some gold paint so the fire hydrant is back to its rightful color. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Golden State Limited #1 -- April 17, 2012

The Golden State Limited ran from Chicago to Los Angeles over the tracks of the Rock Island and the Southern Pacific's Sunset Route.  This ad, from the January, 1929 Photoplay touts the line's relatively low-altitude route and has a testimonial from actress Phyllis Haver.  She started her career as a Sennett bathing beauty, and went on to become a big star towards the end of the silent era, appearing in Chicago and The Battle of the Sexes.  The Golden State Limited competed with Santa Fe's Chief.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Millionaires Perish Among 1,300 Lost in Sea Tragedy - April 15, 2012

This story, from the 17-April-1912 San Francisco Call, describes the sinking of the White Star ocean liner RMS Titanic, which struck an iceberg on the night of 14-April-1912 and sank early on the morning of 15-April-1912, 100 years ago today.  Modern estimates say that about 710 passengers and crew were rescued and 1,514 died.  Click on the image to see a larger version. 

Millionaires Perish Among 1,300 Lost in Sea Tragedy


Hopes for Safety of More Than 868 of Titanic's Passengers Have Vanished

Approximate Statement Of Titanic Disaster

First cabin passengers, 325.
Second cabin passengers, 285.
Third cabin passengers, 710.
Total number of passengers, 1,320.
Members of the crew, 8600.
Total passengers and crew, 2,180.
Number of known survivors, 868.
Number who probably perished, 1,312.
Total number of named survivors, 325.
Approximately twenty lifeboats manned by seven members of the crew each, 140.
Estimated number of steerage passengers saved, 400.
Total number of persons saved, 868.
Named survivors: First cabin passengers —— Women, 141; men, 63; children, 6; Total, 210.
Second cabin passengers —— Men, 16 women, 92; children, 10. Total, 118.
Total number cabin survivors, 328.

NEW YORK, April 16.- Only a faint hope remains tonight that any of the 1,302 passengers and crew who have been missing since the giant Titanic liner struck an iceberg 400 miles off Cape Race and sank, have been picked up by trans-Atlantic liners. The 808 survivors rescued from lifeboats by the Cunarder Carpathia, now on its way to New York, are the only known, saved.

The brief and meager messages that came to hand today practically extinguished hope that some of the ill-fated passengers may have been picked up at sea by the Virginian and Parisian of the Allan line. Both these steamers have sent word by wireless that they had none of the Titanic's survivors on board.

Of the 868 persons rescued by the Carpathia, the names of 326 passengers have been received by wireless up to a late hour this afternoon. The Carpathia evidently was out of wireless range towards noon, for after that efforts to reach the vessel with wireless were futile, and a score or more of messages from the Cunard company and other sources were unanswered.

That the final roll of the rescued from the Titanic disaster practically had been made up, was the impression that grew almost into conviction last night as the hours wore on without the revision of lists adding measurably to the total of known survivors.

Little News Comes .

Of definite news the night added little. Down the Atlantic coast, fog enveloped in many places, as the reports showed, crept the Cunarder Carpathia, bearing the 868 lives that had been snatched from the waters when the Titanic's 20 boats, laden to the limit, one by one made their way from the giant liner as it became known that it was soon to take its fatal plunge.

But although the rescue ship was reported within wireless range of the Sable island, station at a comparatively early hour and every wireless ear was waiting to catch the snap of a receiver which might mean that the great secret of the liner's end was about to be given up, midnight came and went and the
night began to grow old. and still the word, had not been received.

Carefully compiling the available lists, the record of the known survivors of the disaster stands significantly
Men 79, women 233, children 11; total 128.

Proportion of Women.  

Of the remaining 540 known survivors it is estimated that not more than 100 were seamen required to man the boats. This would leave approximately 440, and: in the ordinary proportions of women and children in the steerage, where passengers in the Titanic's care numbered 710, it seems probable that the greater part of these 440 were women and their little ones.

Nothing could show more plainly the heroism, of the crew and the men passengers who stood by the doomed ship facing inevitable death and sent the women and children away in the life boats.

Some would have to be left: that was a certainty. Hundreds in fact were left. But, to all appearances, the men
who were left stayed behind deliberately, calmly, stepping aside to let the weaker ones, those to whom they owed protection, take their way to safety.

Final Message.

"Sinking by the head. Have cleared boats and filled them with women and children."

This was the final message these brave men sent the world, for it was directly afterward that their wireless signals sputtered and then stopped altogether.

The picture that inevitably presents itself in view of what is known, is of men like John Jacob Astor. master of scores of millions. Benjamin Guggenheim of the famous family of bankers; Isador Strauss, merchant prince: William T. Stead, veteran journalist; Major Archibald W. Butt. soldier; Washington Roebling, noted engineer — of any or all of these men stepping aside and bravely, gallantly remaining to die that the place he otherwise might have filled could perhaps be taken by some sabot shod, shawl enshrouded, illiterate and
penniless peasant woman of Europe.

Men Remained to Die.

Thus the stream of women with toddling infants, or babes in arms, perhaps most of them soon to be widowed, filed up from the cabins and over the side and away, to life. The men — by far the greater part of them — remained to die, millionaire and peasant and man of middle class alike, bravely, it must have been, sharing each other's fate and going down to a common grave.

Of the survivors, what? Their story of peril and suffering with the revelations they will furnish of just what happened on board the stricken ocean giant remains .to be told.

How quickly they will be able to tell it and clear up all the mysteries of identity of which the limited carrying capacity of the Carpathia's wireless has left the world in doubt seemed to depend entirely upon atmospheric conditions.

The weather was thick on the coast last night, not only interfering, it is believed, with. the wireless communication, from the liner to Sable island, but probably with its rate of progress to New-York, whither it is heading.

Other Methods Tried.

 Meanwhile other methods of communication than by tbe land stations are being tried. From the Virginia capes, the scout cruisers Salem and Chester, armed with powerful wireless apparatus, are speeding toward the Carpathia. and it is hoped that before many hours have elapsed they will be in touch with the vessel.

 Up to 1:30 this morning, so far as.could be learned at any of the coast stations, no syllable of tidings had come from the Carpathia since it was able, by the aid of the Olympic's relay, many hours before, to send waveringly ashore, a list of the names of first and second cabin 'I'itanic survivors which it .had on board.

It is thought — feared will be the better word—that this list now is practically complete.

Weather Unfavorable.

As for the rest, direct advices from Sable island reported that weather conditions were bad for transmission and that only faint communication was had with the ship, it being barely within range. It was .thought, too, that the wireless operator on the Carpathia had become fatigued from his long siege at the key .and that he was resting, preparing for the transmission of messages when the ship comes into communication with stations on the American coast.

Vice President Franklin of the White Star line said that so far as he knew the Olympic was still standing by the Carpathia to relay wireless messages.  He added that he had received no word from the Olympic since 9 o'clock this morning and had been unable to get either the Carpathia or Olympic by wireless

Franklin said also that the steamship companies crossing the Atlantic had entered into an agreement to abandon the short northern route in favor of the Southern route as long as icebergs were reported in. the pathway of the former course.

A dispatch from Montreal saying that hope still was entertained there that the Parisian might have aboard some of the Titanic's survivors. Franklin characterized as a "ridiculous report."  He added that "in my opinion, neither the Parisian nor the Virginian has any survivors aboard."

The Titanic was insured for $5,000,000, Franklin said. On the ship, he added, the White Star line would lose about $3,000,000.

"This will be the smallest part of our loss," he added.

Captain Rostron of the Carpathia, in his last wireless report to the Cunard company, said that his vessel was proceeding slowly through a field of ice to this port.

President Taft. from Washington late this afternoon, directed the secretary of the navy to order the scout cruisers Salem and Chester from Hampton roads to meet the Carpathia and send by wireless to the government a. complete li«t of the Titanic's survivors. The Chester was caught by wireless about 40 miles off the Chesapeake capes and by 4 o'clock was steaming northward at 20 knots an hour, aiming to get as quickly as possible into touch with steamers having news bearing on the disaster.

News Expected.

Revenue cutters also were notified to stand in readiness to proceed to the Carpathia, if necessary.. In the event that the Salem had not sufficient coal, instructions were given to dispatch the cruiser North Carolina instead.

A possible chance of obtaining news bearing on the disaster developed early this evening  when the  Leyland liner Californian came into the zone of wireless communication with Sable island.  The Californian was reported, at the scene of 'the disaster shortly after the Titanic went down and it was thought probable it would have valuable information to communicate.

Captain Resten of the Carpathia has been instructed to send full details of the sinking of the Titanic.

The treasury department, through the customs office, has given orders to expedite the landing of the survivors of the Titanic and to aid them in every way possible upon arrival of the Carpathia. Customs regulations have been suspended and the customs officers will aid the survivors in finding relatives and friends.

Vice President Franklin said late this afternoon that his list of survivors showed that 202 out of 325 first cabin passengers and 114 out of 285 second cabin passengers of the wrecked liner had been accounted for.

Carpathia Silent.

Charles B. Sumner, general agent of the Cunard line in this country, said tonight that he believed the Carpathia was within 60 of 75 miles of the Titanic when the big ship struck the iceberg.  Sumner, who had tried vainly to reach the Carpathia by wireless during the afternoon, said he had no way of telling where the Carpathia was at this time, but thought it was steaming for New York. It might be within the New-York wireless telegraph zone and able to send messages late tonight or tomorrow morning, he said. but added
that he merely advanced this as a supposition.

Going to New York.

When asked regarding a rumor that the Carpathia might put into Boston and land its rescued passengers there, Sumner replied there was nothing in the report. Had there been but a few of the rescued ones this might have been done, he said, but it was his opinion that with .more than 800 survivors on board the captain of the Carpathia would make direct for this city.

It was estimated that both the scout cruiser Chester and its sister ship, the Salem, which was understood to have started north about the time the Chester headed that way, would be in touch with the Boston wireless station before midnight. The cruisers are expected to communicate any information they may acquire to Washington.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Titanic Wreck Special -- April 14, 2012

The Animated Weekly was a newsreel which put out a special edition including Gaumont footage of the Titanic in Belfast.  From the 04-May-1912 Moving Picture World.Click on the image to see a larger version. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Saved From the Titanic -- April 13, 2012

Actress Dorothy Gibson, who worked for the American Eclair company, was among the passengers rescued from RMS Titanic. On 14-May-1912, one month after the Titanic struck an iceberg, Eclair release "Saved From the Titanic," starring Dorothy Gibson. The ad and the two brief reviews are from the 11-May-1912 issue of Moving Picture World. The film is believed to be lost.  Too bad.  Click on the images to see larger versions.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Great Locomotive Chase 150 - April 12, 2012

On 12-April-1862 a group of out-of-uniform Union Soldiers led by civilian scout James Andrews, seized a train of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which connected Atlanta and Chattanooga.  They planned to tear up the railroad, upsetting Confederate communications and transportation in an important theater of the war.

Conductor William Fuller, not about to stand for the theft of his train, pursued it on foot with a group of men.  When they found a handcar, they used that.  Eventually, they encountered an elderly switching locomotive, the Yonah, which they rode until they found a more modern locomotive, the Texas.  Using these different modes, the pursuers kept enough pressure on the raiders that were not able to inflict much damage, and were not able to take on more wood for fuel.

About 20 miles from Chattanooga, with the General out of fuel, the raiders left their train and scattered.  All were captured and tried as spies.  Eight men, including Anderson, were hanged.  Several received the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Both the General and the Texas still exist. The General is preserved in Kennesaw, Georgia and the Texas in Atlanta.

The story became the basis of two movies, one by Buster Keaton and one by Walt Disney.  I like Keaton's movie better.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Titanic/not Titanic -- April 11, 2012

After the Titanic sank, movie producers rushed to roll out real and fictional films about the ill-fated vessel.  Visit the Bioscope to learn about the only known footage of the Titanic (  Titanic, the second ship of its class after the Olympic, suffered from a problem common to second children: very few people took film or photos of the Titanic. 

In the 27-April-1912 issue of Moving Picture World, Warner's Features, the Warner brothers' company before Warner Brothers, released a 400-foot film about the disaster. It featured "Positively the only negative in existence of the late Captain E. J. Smith, R.N.R., commander of the ill-fated S. S. Titanic that went down in mid-ocean."  In much smaller print it mentions that the footage was taken on the Olympic.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Titanic (New) -- April 10, 2012

100 years ago today, 10-April-1912, the International Mercantile Marine Lines, a shipping trust, advertised that the White Star line's new liner Titanic would leave New York at Noon on April 20, and would also sail on May 11, June 1, June 22 and July 13.  Sister ship Olympic would said on April 13 at 3 PM and also sail on May 4, May 25, June 15 and July 6.  "French a la carte restaurant, Turkish and electric baths, swimming pool, four elevators, gymnasium, veranda cafe, palm court, square racquet court."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sonoma #3 -- April 9, 2012

I took the day off so we drove up to Sonoma.  The weather was cloudy, but relatively warm.  We parked behind the Plaza and got lunch at the Cheese Factory.  We ate a picnic in the Plaza.  We visited Ravenswood, Buena Vista and Gundlach Bundschu wineries.  There was construction work going on around Buena Vista.  On the way back, we stopped at the outlets in Petaluma.  Traffic was light. 

I took the photo today at Gundlach Bundschu. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter #5 -- April 8, 2012

Happy Easter, everyone. Here is a Bunny for Easter. John Bunny was a popular performer in early Vitagraph comedies like "A Cure for Pokeritis" (1912), "Hearts and Diamonds" (1914) and "The Pickwick Papers" (1913). He was born to play Mr Pickwick. Bunny died in 1915 and the world mourned.A detail from a Vitagraph ad in the 23-May-1914 Moving Picture World.  Be sure to click on the image to see the larger version.  Note his tooth. 

Last night we went to Easter Vigil at Good Shepherd.  It was a nice service and my daughter was happy because they did not use incense. 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Private Life of an Easter Masterpiece -- April 7, 2012

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde was born in Nymegen, Holland in 1813. He went on to live a remarkable life of achievement in the sciences and the arts. He died in America in 1895. He wrote the articles which gave this blog its name.

In Part 6 of his memoir, Reminiscences of an Active Life (, he says "The old master Roger Van der Weyden is one of the ancestors of the family."

On 03-April-2010, a BBC Two television series, The Private Life of a Masterpiece, featured Rogier van der Weyden's "The Descent From the Cross," which is currently in the collection of the Prado Museum in Madrid. In the television episode, "The Private Life of an Easter Masterpiece",  Professor Susie Nash calls the painting, which was copied and referenced ceaselessly throughout Europe, "the most important painting of the whole period of the entire 15th century." 

The emotions of the people feel real. 

Today we went to lunch at Camelot Fish and Chips, then across the highway to Mazzeti's Bakery to pick up cakes and hot cross buns for Easter.  

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday #4 -- April 6, 2012

It was very busy at work. Every Good Friday seems to be very busy. I went to Saint Patrick's at noon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Train Station #45 -- April 4, 2012

The Nut Tree locomotive waits at the station. The station has a distinctive white roof. In its current configuration, the railroad runs around an oval.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Firehouse #54 -- April 3, 2012

Engine 2 at 460 Bush Street was built in 1908 and used by the Fire Department until 1970. I took the photo of the ornament over the windows on 02-April-2012.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Some Show for the Money -- April 2, 2012

I can't find anything about Arthur Norris "English Card Manipulator and Conjuror," but I like the look of the ad for Washington DC's Cosmos Theater. "The Comedy Cartoonist and the Girl." "A Real Novelty in Contortion Acts." "Show Never Stops" implies that this was a program of continuous vaudeville and movies, so not a high-class operation.

From the 12-November-1911 Washington Herald. Click on the image to see a larger version.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Novel Solution to the Traffic Problem -- April 1, 2012

From the 17-October-1913 San Francisco Golden Gate Gazette.

Novel Solution to the Traffic Problem.

United Railroads Proposes Express Service from the Ferry Building to the Grounds of the Exposition.
A collaboration between Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH of Lake Constance, Germany and the United Railroads of San Francisco has proposed a new idea to speed transportation on San Francisco's Market Street, providing express service from the Ferry Building to Castro Street. Service is also planned to the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915.