Sunday, September 30, 2012

Waterless Knox #15 -- September 30, 2012

The Waterless (air-cooled) Knox automobile was manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts. I like the name Waterless Knox. It reminds me of a Doctor Seuss character. This ad, for a Knox three ton truck, is from The Cycle and Automotive Trade Journal, January 1906.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Flying Fish Cafe -- September 29, 2012

We took a drive down the coast and had lunch at the Flying Fish Cafe in Half Moon Bay.  I had a crab melt. 

We drove by the Arleta Station then down the coast to Pescadero.  We couldn't find a place to park.  It was very foggy.  There was a lot of traffic on the way back. 

Sharon Mayes created the sculpture that stands near the firehouse. 

Friday, September 28, 2012

End of the Passage -- September 28, 2012

From the 28-October-1898 San Francisco Call. William A Coulter did many maritime drawings for the newspaper. Click on the image to see a larger version. 


Barkentine Addenda in Trouble.


Started to Land His Honolulu Passengers Before the State Quarantine Officer Had Passed His Vessel.

The Golden Gate was crowded with arriving and departing vessels last Wednesday night and yesterday. Many of them were coasters, but still there were ten barkentines, barks and ships among the fleet that arrived. Among them were the British ship Bothwell, 148 days from Newcastle, England; Allerton, 74 days from Newcastle, Australia; Italian ship F. S. Ciampa 154 days from Swansea; British ship Miltonburn, 142 days from Swansea; British ship Eurasia, 139 days from Antwerp; brig W. G. Irwin, 19 days from Honolulu; bark Roderick Dhu, 13 days from Hilo; Norwegian ship Hiawatha, 152 days from l,eith; bark Albert, 18 days, and barkentine Addenda, 20 days from Honolulu.

All these vessels came up the coast with a good fair wind, but when they got off the Golden Gate the wind fell light, and they could make no progress. The Addenda attempted to sail in, but when she got between the heads the wind failed and she began to drift. Captain Delano was afraid his vessel might go ashore, so he came to an anchor. In a short time the tug Sea King came along and towed him to a safer berth.

Captain Griffiths of the bark Albert got into trouble with the State Quarantine Officer. While the Governor Perkins was putting Dr. Hill aboard the Addenda Captain Milestone noticed. that Captain Griffiths and three of his passengers were going ashore from the Albert. He at once gave chase and overhauled, the Albert's boat before she reached Powell street wharf. The boat and passengers were taken back to the Albert and were told to remain there until the Quarantine Officer had passed the vessel. For this breach of the law Captain .Griffiths could have been arrested and heavily fined, out: the doctor did not press the matter when
the captain explained that he acted in ignorance of the law.

The new ferry steamer Berkeley was put on the run between San Francisco and Oakland yesterday She took the Piedmont's place on the route, and will keep it until that vessel has been thoroughly overhauled. The Berkeley is a very fast and comfortable ferry-boat, but she will miss the paddle-wheels when it blows a southeaster. Without these steadiers, she will roll like a ship in a gale, and many of the commuters will know what it is to be seasick on the bay.

The transport Zealandia is taking on Government stores, and will be ready to sail for Manila on Sunday or Monday at the latest.

The Harbor Commissioners had a lively session yesterday. Commissioner Herold started the ball rolling by moving that two berths at Folsom street wharf be assigned to the Alaska Packers Association and one to the Alaska Commercial Company. This Mr. Colnon objected to on the ground that Folsom street wharf had been built expressly for the Oceanic Steamship Company, and that concern should be compelled to use it. Both Herrold and Harney pointed out that the commission was appointed to improve and look after the shipping interests of the port. The very best facilities should be given large companies, and if one wharf was better adapted to ocean trade than another the ship owner should have the choice. The Oceanic Steamship Company found Pacific street wharf more suitable than Folsom street wharf and wanted to remain there. Other equally large shipping concerns wanted space at Folsom street and the board could please everybody by granting the request of the Alaska Packers' and Alaska Commercial companies. The motion was carried. Then Mr Colnon wanted the rent of Pacific street wharf increased, and the matter was laid over for further consideration.

The Bibb Lumber Company asked for a reduction on the sum of $3850 wharfage charged on the lumber rafts that reached port.  The matter was referred to the chief engineer and chief wharfinger.

The steamer Columbia from Portland has been unable to discharge her cargo of wheat and will in consequence be a day late in leaving port. The agents of the vessel complained to the commission and Chief Wharfinger Root explained that the trouble was all caused by grain dealers falling to remove their wheat from the grain sheds in the regulation twenty days. The Commissioners passed a resolution by which all owners will have to pay 10 cents a ton a day for every day over the twenty that the wheat remains on the wharves, or until the chief wharfinger can find a warehouse in which to store it at the owner's expense. 

The Norwegian ship Hiawatha, loaded with coal, reached port last evening 152 days from Leith. Captain Jorgensen reports that when out about six weeks the coal in the main hatch became heated.  It was carefully watched for a couple of weeks, when it became hotter and a large portion of it had to be thrown overboard. The cargo again became heated shortly before the arrival here. On August 26 the vessel was struck by a heavy sea which knocked the life boats loose and broke the compass on the bridge. The boats were secured without being much damaged.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ghost Sign #11 -- September 27, 2012

Despite its ghostly quality, perhaps this is not a ghost sign, since the business is still there.  Edwin Klockars' Blacksmith Shop, on Folsom between Fremont and First Streets, is San Francisco's only remaining blacksmith shop. I took the photo of the sign on 03-March-2008. I took the broader view of the shop today.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pulp #35 -- September 26, 2012

I see that I have neglected to mention the current mission of the Mars rover Curiosity.  It pioneered a new method of landing.  It is sending back some very exciting images. I find them just as exciting as this cover of Fantastic Adventures

Monday, September 24, 2012

Grauman's Chinese #18 -- September 24, 2012

In July, 2012 we paid a return visit to Hollywood and Grauman's Chinese Theater.  Sid Grauman was a San Francisco showman who came to Los Angeles and built three major houses, the Million Dollar, the Egyptian, and the Chinese. The theater has hosted many film premieres, but is most famous for the hand and footprints (and hoofprints and nose prints and other types of prints) in the forecourt.

Red headed singer and actress Jeanette MacDonald left her hand and footprints and wishes to Sid Grauman for continued success on this slab on 04-December-1934 (DSC_0029).  Jeanette MacDonald starred in several wonderful films with Maurice Chevalier and in one of my all-around favorites, San Francisco with Clark Gable.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Keystone 100 -- September 23, 2012

This year we mark the 100th anniversary of the Keystone company.  Here is an ad from the 1916 edition of the Motion Picture Studio Directory and Trade Annual.  It depicts director Eddie Cline and his team.  Cline later directed most of Buster Keaton's early short films and later directed many of WC Fields' best features, including The Bank Dick. Slim Summerville's family name is spelled "Somerville."  I think Bobby Dunn lost an eye doing a stunt at Keystone, but carried on using a glass eye.  I could swear the guy in the lower left is identified as "Clarry Lydon," but I assume it is Larry Lyndon.  I wonder if assistant director RB Kerr is the man listed in the IMDB as Robert P Kerr.  Peggy Pearce appeared in movies with both Charley and Syd Chaplin.  Vivian Edwards appeared with Charley.  Cameraman Kenneth MacLean has a few items listed in the IMDB.  What do you suppose the "MS" in the border between the Keystones means? The "MS" in the border between the Keystones stands for "Mack Sennett." 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation - September 22, 2012

In July, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln showed his cabinet a draft of an order that freed the slaves in any rebellious state that did not return to the Union by 01-January-1863.  Some cabinet members objected, but Lincoln said he would issue the proclamation after the next Union victory.  He had to wait until 22-September-1862, after the Battle of Antietam, when the Army of the Potomac drove back the Army of Northern Virginia, which had invaded Maryland.

The stamp was issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the proclamation taking effect.  

Update 9:15pm: The Giants beat the Padres to win the National League West.

Today we drove to Fifth and Mission and walked down Market.  We visited The Melt in the Embarcadero Center and had lunch.  We stopped at the MSR Museum and then walked to the ballpark.  We saw Sergio Romo, Brian Wilson and Tim Flannery arrive.  We walked back on Third Street. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Comic Book #16 -- September 21, 2012

Blackhawk was one of my favorite comic book characters, although I first encountered him and his team, the Blackhawks, when DC tried to turn them into costumed superheroes, about 1968.  I found some older issues and even older stories reprinted in books. Blackhawk, an American or a Pole (it varied over the years), led a paramilitary team of ace aviators. Their airplanes are Grumman XF5F Skyrockets, a very cool-looking Navy fighter that never reached production.  They started out fighting the Axis in Quality's Military Comics.  The Blackhawks also appeared in their own title.  After the war, Military became Modern Comics.  Their enemies became Communists.  DC took over the Quality line. The series went downhill until it reached its Nadir in the New Blackhawk Era and the superhero experiment.   It died soon after, but it has returned now and then.

The image is from the wonderful site CoverBrowser (

Buster Posey won the 2012 Willie Mac Award by vote of his teammates.  Well deserved.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Door #26 -- September 20, 2012

The central platform door, never opened, at the Main Street Depot in Disneyland.  I took the photo from the train visible in the reflection.  Note the red fire buckets.  July, 2012.

The Giants' magic number is 4 after they completed a four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies this afternoon.  If Washington beats the Dodgers, the magic number will be 3. 

Update at 8:30pm:  Washington beat the Dodgers.  The Giants' magic number is 3.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day #2 -- September 19, 2012

Olivia De Havilland and her sister Joan Fontaine were Hollywood stars and cousins of aircraft designer Sir Geoffrey de Havilland. Olivia De Havilland appeared in Captain Blood, The Adventures of Robin Hood and other movies with Errol Flynn. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bechtel Museum -- September 18, 2012

At lunchtime I went to the Bechtel Museum, a railroad car in the plaza behind the company's headquarters.   The Bechtel family lived in a railroad car, the WaaTeeKaa, at remote job sites in the 1920s. This car, originally from the Chicago, Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Omaha, was restored to externally resemble the WaaTeeKaa as a gift to Steve Bechtel, Senior and his wife Laura in 1988. The exhibits are arranged along one side of the car, with partitions between the sections. The exhibits are mostly photos with captions describing the company's founding in 1898 and the many projects which it has handled, including Hoover Dam, the Bay Bridge, and BART. Each section contains a few objects, like old hard hats or models of pioneering motorized equipment.

A guard sat at the end of the car, by the observation platform.  I asked him if the museum got many visitors.  He said some days there were none, other days there were many.  I saw five other people as I left.

This is one of the few museums I have visited that does not have a donation box.

I took the photo of WaaTeeKaa on 19-November-2011.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Battle of Antietam - September 17, 2012

On 17-September-1862 more Americans died in battle than on any other day in our history.  The Battle of Antietam was the turning point of General Robert E Lee's invasion of Maryland.  About 23,000 men were killed on both sides.  Union General George McClellan wore out his welcome with Abraham Lincoln because of his refusal to commit more troops to the battle and to pursue the retreating Confederates.

Major General Fighting Joe Hooker commanded the Union I Corps and  was wounded.  Several generals on both sides were killed.  Major General Ambrose Burnside displayed some of his famous bad luck and poor planning at Burnside's Bridge.

Historians argue about whether or not this was a Union victory, but I say it was.  The Confederates were driven out of Maryland.  It was enough of a victory that Abraham Lincoln felt he could publish the Emancipation Proclamation. 

The photo of Confederate dead is from the Library of Congress, cwpb.01435. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nickname #18 -- September 16, 2012

Fighting Joe Hooker got his nickname, which he did not relish, because of a character left out of a telegraphic newspaper dispatch during the Peninsula Campaign. "Fighting — Joe Hooker Attacks Rebels" became "Fighting Joe Hooker Attacks Rebels." He was a talented officer who had a reputation for insubordination and drinking. He most likely was not a drinker.

During the Battle of Chickamauga, his corps performed well. Hooker replaced unlucky Ambrose Burnside as commander of the Army of the Potomac. Hooker had big plans, but his nerve failed at Fredericksburg.

In the history books I read as a young person, his removal as commander was almost the end of the story. Once I could dig around on the internet, I learned that he went on to distinguish himself as a corps commander for the rest of the war.

Fighting Joe Hooker always took good care of his men, and was appreciated for it.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Training -- September 15, 2012

We went to Good Shepherd today to attend a training for eucharistic ministers and readers.  Lectors are no longer called lectors.  They are readers. Laura Bertone, director of the archdiocesan Office of Worship, spoke to us about the mass. She reviewed changes from Vatican II on. She is a good speaker and she had some exercises that helped everyone understand and remember.After a lunch break, we heard about changes in our ministries.  Then we played Liturgical Jeopardy. 

I took this photo of Stella Pilgrim's Good Shepherd statue at Good Shepherd Church on 12-June-2010.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Patchwork Girl of Oz -- September 14, 2012

"The first OZ FILM (now making) will be..."

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, located in Los Angeles, was formed in 1914 to produce movies based on stories by L Frank Baum, the creator of The Wizard of Oz.  The company made some movies, but was not a financial success. The ad is from the 20-June-1914 edition of Moving Picture World. The images are by John R Neill.  Be sure to click on the image to see a larger version.

"Produced under the personal supervision of the author, L. FRANK BAUM."  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Alley #34 -- September 13, 2012

New Orleans Square in Disneyland.  I took the photo during our visit in July this year.   

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For Northern and Eastern Points -- September 12, 2012

A Great Northern Railroad ad from the 20-May-1911 San Francisco Call offers trips to Seattle by the "Scenic Shasta Route" (via Southern Pacific) or "Delightful Sea Trip" (I suppose by Jim Hill's Great Northern Pacific Steamship Company). 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Unsung Heroes -- September 11, 2012

Today I went to Good Shepherd School in Pacifica and talked to grades 6-7-8 about unsung heroes of the Revolutionary War. They are participating in a DAR essay contest on the subject. They had trouble with the idea of an unsung hero.  I asked if there was such a thing as a sung hero.  I told them how cultures used to make songs about their great heroes.  I mentioned Gilgamesh, the Iliad and the Odyssey, the Aeneid, Beowulf and the sagas.  I talked about different groups and people from each group who are not famous.  One example was Joseph Louis Cook, Akiatonharónkwen, a man of mixed African and Mohawk descent, who led the Oneidas on the side of the Patriots. The sketch "Colonel Louis of the Oneidas" is by John Trumbull. This was the fourth year I have talked to the 8th graders.  I enjoyed the experience, but I'm very tired. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

In Aid of the Brooklyn Women's Guild -- September 10, 2012

Doctor Peter Henri Van Der Weyde was the organist of the First Dutch Reformed Church in Brooklyn for many years. Here is an example of a 12-February-1870 program of a "Musical and Literary Entertainment" "In Aid of the Brooklyn Women's Guild." Doctor Van Der Weyde played the piano.  It is from the 26-February-1876 Brooklyn Eagle.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Admission Day #3 -- September 9, 2012

We don't hear much about Admission Day anymore. Today is the 162nd anniversary of California being welcomed into the Union.  I took this photograph of Douglas Tilden's Native Sons Monument, which commemorates Admission Day, on 26-September-2007.  It features a quote from Senator William H Seward: "The unity of our empire hangs on the decision of this day."  Seward later served as Abraham Lincoln's Secretary of State. 
The Giants won 2 out of 3 in a weekend series against the Dodgers.  The Giants lead the second-place Dodgers by 5 1/2 games.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Train Station #51 -- September 8, 2012

This "No Disco Dancing" sign hangs in the waiting area at the Main Street Depot in Disneyland. 

Friday, September 7, 2012

Unparalleled Conjuror -- September 7, 2012

Nate Leipzig, known as a Gentleman Magician, was an expert card manipulator.  He left an autobiography.

Also on the bill at the San Francisco Orpheum was Jesse L Lasky, who later helped to found Paramount Studios.

Bertie Herron was "The Original Minstrel Miss." 

The ad is from the 05-July-1908 San Francisco Call.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012 Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest -- September 6, 2012

For the first time, the professional part of the Cable Car Bell Ringing Contest ended in a tie, resulting in a ring-off between third-time contestant Trini Whittaker and Leonard Oats, 2007, 2008 and 2009 champ.  Trini Whittaker won the 49th annual contest at San Francisco's Union Square. Learn more about the contest at

I enjoyed President Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention.  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Firehouse #59 -- September 5, 2012

My office is moving from the building I have been in for the past 20 years to another location closer to Market Street.  Each morning this week I have been walking a different route.  I will miss cutting through the alleys behind the Palace Hotel.  I will miss Yerba Buena Gardens.  I will miss working near Station One, the busiest firehouse in the city.  I took the photo this morning on my way to work. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Are you better off than you were four years ago? -- September 4, 2012

The Republicans dredged up an old quote from Ronald Reagan: "Are you better off than you were four years ago?" 

Short answer: Yes, of course.

Longer answer: From Elizabeth Warren, on ABC's Good Morning America:
"You know, I remember what was happening four years ago. The markets were crashing. The financial system was threatening to seize up. The auto industry was about to plunge over the edge. And there was a real question among most economists whether or not this country was headed into a full-fledged depression. But the real issue now in the election is who has got the best plan going forward?"

I enjoyed the convention speeches from Mayor Julian Castro of San Antonio and Michelle Obama.  

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day #5 -- September 3, 2012

"The most dangerous woman in America" looked like a kindly schoolteacher.  After her husband and children died of yellow fever and she lost her dress shop in the 1871 Chicago Fire, she began to serve as an organizer for the Knights of Labor and then the United Mine Worker's Union.  "Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living."

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Air Mail Plane Radiophone -- September 2, 2012

Air mail in the early 1920s was a dangerous business.  A radiophone would have allowed two-way communication between a pilot and ground stations.  This would have been a great boost to safety.  Here is an image from the June 1922 Radio Broadcast magazine showing an early experiment. 

We went to dinner at Westlake Joe's.  They were busy.  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Ardenwood Farm Railroad Fair -- September 1, 2012

Today we went to the 12th annual Labor Day Railfair at Ardenwood Farm.  It was cool and overcast all day. There were no horse-powered train rides this year.  One steam locomotives operated, Anne Marie, an 1890 Porter which was there for the fourth straight year. Anne Marie pulled a three car train: the covered car usually pulled by horses, and two flats.  Anne Marie was putting out a lot of coal smoke, as shown in the photo.  Later in the day they made some adjustments that reduced the smoke.  They also switched the train around so that the covered car was in the middle.  The smoke had trapped the smoke when the locomotive was hooked to that end of the train. 
I like to catch the first train.  The line at Ardenwood Station kept getting longer and longer during the day. Kids were having a great time.

The Oakland horse car was on display.  
A cold locomotive sat in the yard with the safety valve removed.  I talked to the owner, who said he had brought it down from Tacoma.  It was supposed to run this weekend, but had developed a leak.  He ran it the week before at the Sumpter Valley.  He was surprised when I called it the Polygamy Central. 
There was a big Garden Scale display, and a live steam display.  

It was nice to see the animals, including two frisky piglets and a cow with a calf.