Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Jitney Stand at 18th and Castro in 1915

Jitneys at 18th and Castro, July 12, 1915. Detail of SFMTA photo U04909. SFMTA Photo |

On a Monday afternoon, July 12, 1915, United Railroads photographer John Henry Mentz set up his camera on Castro street at 18th and took a photograph of the intersection:

SFMTA Photo U04909. SFMTA Photo |

He then moved his camera to the north side of the intersection, and took another photo, facing south:

SFMTA Photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |
Mentz was just interested in the details of the tracks in the middle of the street, but fortunately for us his camera also captured the wealth of street-life that characterized San Francisco in that era. Castro was pretty lively, even 101 years ago:

The jitney stand, as seen from the north. Detail of SFMTA photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |
There is the jitney stand, of course, which Mentz captured not only from the front (as featured in a previous post) but also seen here from the back, with a slightly different set of cars in it.

A three-wheel curbside gasoline pump selling Red Crown Gasoline for 10 cents. Detail of SFMTA photo U04910.  SFMTA Photo |
Yes folks, that is a movable gasoline pump on wheels, which someone has pulled up to the curb at the end of the jitney stop, no doubt to sell gas to the loading jitneys. How safe does that sound?

If you noticed the passenger in the rear jitney pointing off to the side in a previous photo, this is what he appears to be pointing at:

Palm Bar. Detail of SFMTA Photo U04910.  SFMTA Photo |
The Palm Bar, apparently attached to Moses Bodes' pool hall, advertises steam beer, "hot lunch," and "Boxing Next Tuesday" — admission, 25 cents.

Marquee of Castro Street Theater, advertising Lois Meredith in "Help Wanted". Detail of SFMTA Photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |  

Across the street, the old Castro Theater, at its original location (now Cliff's Variety) was playing the silent film "Help Wanted" starring Lois Meredith.

Zerolene horse truck. Detail of SFMTA Photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |
Zerolene may have been "the standard oil for motor cars," but it was delivered by horse. Maybe to help prevent explosions?

Detail of SFMTA Photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |
In the upper stories, windows advertise the offices of a dentist and a surgeon.

Detail of SFMTA photo U04909. SFMTA Photo |
The 8-Market streetcar turns onto Castro, amid horse-drawn wagons, automobiles, laundry trucks, and a horde of jitneys which have been poaching along its line.

Detail of SFMTA Photo U04910. SFMTA Photo |

Oh yes, and lots of pedestrians. The newsboys hawking their papers in the middle of the street just might be hamming it up for the camera.

Newsboys at 18/Castro, 1915. Detail of SFTMA Photo U04909. SFMTA Photo |
Detail of SFMTA Photo U04909. SFMTA Photo |

(For more on San Francisco jitney history, see here).

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