The elaborate Cliff House and Seal Rocks, San Francisco, Ca., c.1900. Built in 1896 by Adolf Sutro, the Cliff House was a seven story Victorian Chateau (called by some "the Gingerbread Palace") below his estate on the bluffs of Sutro Heights overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The Cliff House survived the 1906 earthquake with little damage but burned to the ground in 1907. The Cliff House Restaurant has gone through many incarnations and modern remodels. It has presently been restored to it's 1909 version.
San Francisco's Italian North Beach district was the location of several early Italian immigrant photography studios in the early 1900's. The JB Monaco, Vitalini Fotografia and Pisa Foto (founded by Gino and Carlo Sbrana) studios were all located near the intersection of Columbus and Broadway. The buildings still exist today and in the case of the Monaco and Pisa studios the original skylights still exist. In the early days of still photography portrait studios (like artist studios) were located on the top floor of buildings in order to take advantage of the natural skylight. Example
San Francisco view South on Van Ness Avenue (at Green St.) after the 1906 earthquake and before the fire approached. Photo by JB Monaco. Water mains are destroyed; St. Brigid Church in background. The East side of Van Ness Ave (left) was dynamited a block deep to create a fire break and finally stop the fire from spreading to the Western Addition and Cow Hollow.
Great Ebay find. Cabinet card (4.5" x 7") from the JB Monaco studio in San Francisco. Monaco was the dean of North Beach photographers at the turn of the century and is famous for his photos of the 1906 earthquake and fire. He moved his original studio on Market Street to North Beach in 1902. The original building was destroyed in the earthquake and fire in 1906 and was rebuilt and finished in 1908 (it's still standing today). He stayed at this address, 205 Montgomery Ave, until 1923 when he moved to another building across the street. The photo of the building below shows the location c.1908. In 1909 the name of Montgomery Ave was changed to Columbus Ave, so this portrait was taken between 1902 and 1909.
The corner of Chestnut and Leavenworth St. marked the NW end of the fire line. Neighbors fought the fire with buckets and the fire stopped at Chestnut St. sparing the property to the North of Chestnut. The buildings in these photos still stand today. 2430 Leavenworth was the home of photographer JB Monaco who took these 1906 photographs.
© Joseph Greco