Guest Mystery Photo


Graeme Fernie, a reader in Australia, sends along this mystery photo that he found in an album that includes images of San Francisco. He says it’s labeled San Juan. Other scans from the photo album are here.


Notice the theater named the Hippodrome. Also the style of streetlamps (I don’t recall seeing this style in Los Angeles).

There’s also a Masonic lodge (note the square and compass) and a marquee.

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
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9 Responses to Guest Mystery Photo

  1. Well I see the Hippodrome Theater (formerly The Adolphus) which would make this the 300 block of Main Street sometime after 1913 and judging by the cars not too long after 1913.


  2. The remnants of a theater/night club often named The Hippodrome are today on upper Kearney Street in North Beach near today’s Broadway. One can still sometimes see hippos parading there on their way to the airdrome. Though since the take-off point has been moved south down the peninsula, it is a rare sight indeed.


  3. Gregory Moore says:

    If the rest are from San Francisco, this would most surely be Market Street, I’d say?


  4. Gregory Moore says:

    I instantly realized my error when studying the photo further. This would be Pacific Avenue in the “Barbary Coast” area of San Francisco (the Hippodrome Building, which is still standing, is, of course, the giveaway).


  5. Greg Clancey says:

    Not on Pacific Avenue…Pacific’s too narrow. Not on Market Street…Market’s too wide. I think it’s the Loew’s Hippodrome on O’Farrell Street. The theater across the street was Minski’s Columbia.


    • Graeme Fernie says:

      Hi. I’m the Australian that sent the photo. The person who took it landed in San Francisco about 24 October 1921, so I’m supposing the photo was taken that week, or shortly thereafter. The marque on the theatre across the road is advertising a show or movie with a three (perhaps four?) word title, only the last of which I can make out. That word is “Sweet”. If this photo were of an Australian scene, I’d go to a digitised newspaper resource we have here (called “Trove”, if anyone is interested) , and see if I could find an appropriate theatre ad for that month. Do you have something similar?


      • lmharnisch says:

        There are some online archives of U.S. newspapers. Google has one that’s free. Most have a fee, however. Let me do a little checking in The Times clips.


  6. Charles Seims says:

    It is not the Hippodrome in LA, because at the time Main Street had dual guage track for both red and yellow cars. Both Fresno and Sacramento also had theaters by this name. My best guess is that it’s Sacramento.


  7. Rebecca Woodrow says:

    My concern is for the photographer, who seems to be taking the pic in the street with an oncoming car dead ahead!


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