Then and Now: South Van Ness at Army, 1953 vs. 2008

South Van Ness at Army Street, 1953

Yesterday a friend sent me a link to an amazing gallery of vintage color photos of San Francisco from the Cushman Collection at Indiana University. (PROCRASTINATION WARNING: Do not click this link unless you have at least an hour to burn.)

About 30 minutes into my procrastination, I stumbled across the photo above, which shows the corner of South Van Ness Avenue at Army (Cesar Chavez) Street in San Francisco as it looked in 1953. Since I happened to be just a few blocks from that spot when I saw the photo, I wandered outside to reshoot it. Behold, the same view, on August 12, 2008:

South Van Ness at Cesar Chavez (Army), 2008

The most impressive thing is how *little* the view has changed, overall. Gas used to cost 25 cents a gallon but now it goes for $4.17. Otherwise, the streetscape and development on Bernal Hill look much as they did 50 years ago. My favorite detail is the Golden Gate Cleaners, visible at center left. The shop is still there, and with the same neon signage. Like a bug in amber.

Anyhow, there’s plenty more goodness like this in the Cushman Collection’s San Francisco archive, so just write of the next 60 minutes and enjoy some local time-travel:

The Cushman Collection’s vintage San Francisco color photo archive

See Previously:

The Bullitt San Francisco Chase Scene Geocoded & Mapped

photos, top, the Cushman collection, below, Telstar Logistics

Scott Beale
Scott Beale

Scott Beale is the founder of Laughing Squid and is based in New York City. When not running the blog, Scott can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.