A month ago, we brought you some Willard E. Worden images to use as backgrounds for your Zoom meetings. Since we are continuing to shelter-in-place, we thought it might be time to update your Zoom virtual backgrounds. So we’re back with another edition of OpenSFHistory Top 10 Zoom backgrounds. This time we’re looking at what we’ve lost, the parts of San Francisco that are no longer around.
We start with one of the most missed places in the City, Playland at the Beach. The amusement park by the ocean was a big draw for decades and featured numerous attractions like roller coasters, bumper cars, a merry-go-round, shooting galleries, and the infamous Laffing Sal. We have a large number of Playland images on the site, but here’s one from 1951 with the Big Dipper roller coaster.
Next we head just to the north of Playland. Visitors to the Sutro Baths today see just a few water-filled concrete enclosures and some ruins. But once it was the world’s largest indoor swimming pool. It is almost hard to comprehend that a massive building once stood there. The Baths were too expensive to maintain and were converted to an ice rink before closing in the 1960s. The building burned down in 1966 leaving the ruins you see today. There’s a huge number of Sutro Baths images on OpenSFHistory, like this one of the interior around 1900.
Four and half decades of San Franciscans swam at Fleishhacker pool located by the ocean just to the south of Sloat Boulevard. When it opened in 1925, it was the largest swimming pool in the United States. It fell into disrepair and was eventually closed in 1971. The pool was later paved over and serves as the parking lot for the San Francisco Zoo today. Again, we have many images of Fleishhacker Pool, but the one here is from a swim meet in 1929.
At the center of the City is Mt. Olympus, in today’s Ashbury Heights neighborhood. In 1887, Adolph Sutro had a statue called the Triumph of Light erected there. At the time, there were unobstructed views in all directions, but gradually houses creeped up around it. Eventually, the statue was removed so that more houses could go up. We have a number of images of the Triumph of Light. This one was taken by famed DPW photographer, Horace Chaffee in 1927.
Located near where Interstate 80 and Highway 101 meet today, Seals Stadium was the home for many years of the San Francisco Seals, who played in the Pacific Coast League. When the New York Giants brought the major leagues to San Francisco, they initially played at Seals Stadium for a few years until Candlestick Park was built. What baseball fan wouldn’t want to use Willie Mays at bat at Seals Stadium for their Zoom background?
If you are more of a football person, we’ve got you covered too. For over 20 years, the San Francisco 49ers played their home games at the southeast corner of Golden Gate Park in Kezar Stadium. Wait, you’re thinking, Kezar Stadium is not gone. However, the Kezar Stadium pictured here is gone. The original stadium held nearly 60,000 fans, but it was eventually torn down and replaced in 1990 with today’s 10,000 seat facility. We have a lot of 49ers at Kezar images, like the 49ers-Packers game in 1957 seen above.
An early iteration of today’s waterparks was the Haight Street Chutes on Haight between Cole and Clayton. Yes, the Haight-Ashbury district once had a waterslide park. It was short-lived, lasting from 1895 to 1902 before moving, but was a major complex as you can see.
Here’s one for the attorneys. Today, you can find the Hall of Justice down on Bryant Street. For the non-attorneys, that’s where you report for jury duty for criminal cases. However, the Hall of Justice used to be located across from Portsmouth Square as you can see in the 1959 image above. That building was torn down in the 1960s and the Chinatown Holiday Inn can be found there today.
Mark Hopkins, Jr. was one of the four principals who formed the Central Pacific Railroad. In 1875, he began building himself a small home on Nob Hill. Okay, maybe not so small. The Hopkins home seen above took three years to complete and Hopkins himself did not live to see it completed. His majestic house burned down in the 1906 earthquake and fire. It was later replaced by a hotel named after him that is still there today.
Before the City Hall you see today, there was a prior version about 4 or so blocks east. The old City Hall was completed in 1899 and was located near McAllister and Market Street. It featured a more pronounced, but thinner dome. As with much of pre-1906 San Francisco, old City Hall was lost in the earthquake and fire and the City had to begin again at its present location.
As before, you can freely use any of our now over 49,000 watermarked images for your Zoom backgrounds. No matter what you’re into, we’ve got the San Francisco historical images for your style. Searching is easy and you can do so by subject, browse our featured galleries, or pinpoint an exact location on our City map. Have some fun with it and tag @outsidelandz and @opensfhistory.