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.
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’s City Hall, which clearly looks like an Official City Building, is of a style foreign to the Midwest.
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.
I think this is a bank. Whatever it is, it, too, would be right at home in Indiana.
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.
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.
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