I hate traveling on business. I avoid it as much as I can. So it was something pretty darned important that put me on an airplane in April toward northern California. I stayed in South San Francisco which, as the name suggests, lies south of San Francisco.

I walked along Grand Avenue, South San Francisco’s main street, one evening in search of dinner. My little Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 film camera was in my pocket, loaded with Kodak Ektar 100. This camera is about as big as a bar of soap, making it easy to take on a flight.

I’ve walked along any number of little downtowns all over the Midwest. In many ways, Grand Avenue was much like all of them, lined in older buildings filled with local businesses. The striking difference was the architecture, which was unlike anything I come across back home in Indiana.

South San Francisco

Unlike many Midwestern Main Streets, however, Grand Avenue was busy with pedestrians. The woman in blue made it clear as she passed me by: she didn’t appreciate being in my photograph. I beg her pardon.

South San Francisco

South San Francisco’s City Hall, which clearly looks like an Official City Building, is of a style foreign to the Midwest.

South San Francisco

I did find a couple buildings that would have looked at home anywhere, such as this 1914 Carnegie library, which still serves its bookish purpose.

South San Francisco

I think this is a bank. Whatever it is, it, too, would be right at home in Indiana.

South San Francisco

This hotel is frozen in time, looking inside and out much like a modest city hotel must have in the 1950s. The lobby looked like it could have been a set for the old TV show Dragnet.

South San Francisco

The downtown district ends at US 101, a highway that snakes from Los Angeles north into Oregon. Its historic route began in San Diego but was supplanted by I-5. Old alignments abound. I’d love to drive 101 end to end someday.

South San Francisco

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11 responses to “The streets of South San Francisco”

  1. conspicari Avatar

    Some really nice shots there, that little Olympus does a good job. Been over 20 years since I visited San Francisco, would love to visit again, it’s a long journey from the UK though.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thank you! This was my first trip there, save for a layover at the airport once.

  2. dmzhodges Avatar

    This is a part of San Fran that I haven’t seen. But, love travel or hate travel you need to go back to San Fran if you didn’t do all the touristy stuff such as Alcatraz, the Pier, the Embarcadero Center, Ghirardelli Square, etc. I went during Fleet Week once and saw the Blue Angels fly under the Golden Gate bridge while I was hanging out on the concrete “yard” at Alcatraz. It’s such a cool city. Thanks for sharing the pics. They are nice.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      SF was on my short list for Spring Break this year, but when push came to shove my sons weren’t up for a long trip. So we went to Mammoth Cave instead; it’s a few hours’ drive from here. Maybe someday I’ll get back and see the sights in SF!

  3. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    The only time I get to that part of town is when I go to SFO and since I mostly fly in and out of OAK, that means…not often.

    You do need to schedule some time to see the sights in the City and in Wine Country. Bring camera and lots of film!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’d love, frankly, to schedule a long California vacation someday. A couple weeks. Start at the southern tip of the PCH and follow it all the way north, and then spend some time in the north. Southern California doesn’t hold much interest to me but I’ve enjoyed northern California every time I’ve visited it. I have a very good memory, one of the few from my marriage, of visiting my ex’s aunt’s sheep ranch, up near Mt. Lassen.

  4. Bob Dungan Avatar
    Bob Dungan

    Nice monologue on SF. Liked the pictures. The point and shoot did a good job. I was in SF for a week on business about ten years ago and really enjoyed it.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      There’s an odd aberration in this camera’s lens. You can see it in the Metropolitan Hotel shot — kind of a waviness. But this camera is so nice to use I’m not sure I care.

  5. Tom Klockau Avatar
    Tom Klockau

    That city hall looks like it should be in Italy!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Hunh, you have a point there.

  6. Bears, Goats, and Strawberries Avatar

    Reblogged this on bears goats and strawberries and commented:
    Me too on the 101. Been from San Diego to Newport Oregon on it. Still lots to see. But all us “Americans” have been banned from Canada. Oh, well….

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