San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

Overview


“San Francisco has no single landmark by which the world may identify it,” according to San Francisco in the 1930s, originally published in 1940. This would surely come as a surprise to the millions who know and love the Golden Gate Bridge or recognize the Transamerica Building’s pyramid. This invaluable Depression-era guide to San Francisco relates the city’s history from the vantage point of the 1930s, describing its culture and highlighting the important tourist attractions of the time. David Kipen’s lively ...
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San Francisco in the 1930s: The WPA Guide to the City by the Bay

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Overview


“San Francisco has no single landmark by which the world may identify it,” according to San Francisco in the 1930s, originally published in 1940. This would surely come as a surprise to the millions who know and love the Golden Gate Bridge or recognize the Transamerica Building’s pyramid. This invaluable Depression-era guide to San Francisco relates the city’s history from the vantage point of the 1930s, describing its culture and highlighting the important tourist attractions of the time. David Kipen’s lively introduction revisits the city’s literary heritage—from Bret Harte to Kenneth Rexroth, Jade Snow Wong, and Allen Ginsberg—as well as its most famous landmarks and historic buildings. This rich and evocative volume, resonant with portraits of neighborhoods and districts, allows us a unique opportunity to travel back in time and savor the City by the Bay as it used to be.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Like other WPA divisions, the Federal Writers Project was designed to create jobs and income for artists during America's Great Depression. What this improvised project achieved however went far beyond its "make work" origins. The WPA Guides to America's states and cities remain monuments to pivotal moments in our local histories. These welcome, excellently edited University of California Press paperback versions of the guides will introduce these classics to a new generation of readers. Each volume contains a new introduction that describes the original book project and the city.

From the Publisher

"Perhaps the finest single volume on these 47 square miles."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Stylish paperbacks"--T Magazine - the New York Times

"Reading both is like finding hidden treasures. The San Francisco edition is a must have for anyone interested in the city. . . . The San Francisco and Los Angeles guidebooks offer both traditional tours of the city as well as historical writing more closely akin to poetry. These are books that people can read aloud to one another."--Beyondchron

"More than just a tool to help you find the nearest Presbyterian church or a convenient tennis court, the guides, part of the Depression-era Federal Writers Project, included thoughtful essays on history, life and culture in each destination, as well as blow-by-blow tours through city neighborhoods and other information that in many cases remains at least partially relevant (or interesting) today."--New York Post

"A useful book as well as an important historical volume."--Foreword

San Francisco Chronicle

“Perhaps the finest single volume on these 47 square miles.”
T Magazine - The New York Times

“Stylish paperbacks”
Beyondchron

“Reading both is like finding hidden treasures. The San Francisco edition is a must have for anyone interested in the city. . . . The San Francisco and Los Angeles guidebooks offer both traditional tours of the city as well as historical writing more closely akin to poetry. These are books that people can read aloud to one another.”
New York Post

“More than just a tool to help you find the nearest Presbyterian church or a convenient tennis court, the guides, part of the Depression-era Federal Writers Project, included thoughtful essays on history, life and culture in each destination, as well as blow-by-blow tours through city neighborhoods and other information that in many cases remains at least partially relevant (or interesting) today.“
Foreword

“A useful book as well as an important historical volume.”
Salinas Californian - Robert Walch

“A fascinating book.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520268807
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Pages: 560
  • Sales rank: 634,013
  • Product dimensions: 5.36 (w) x 8.16 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author


The Federal Writers Project (FWP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) not only provided jobs and income to writers during the Depression, it created for America an astounding series of detailed and richly evocative guides, recounting the stories and histories of the 48 states (plus Alaska Territory and Puerto Rico) and many of the country’s major cities. David Kipen served for five years as Director of Literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, where he led the Big Read initiative, and for seven years as book editor and book critic of the San Francisco Chronicle. He is the author of The Schreiber Theory: A Radical Rewrite of American Film History and translator of Cervantes’ The Dialogue of the Dogs.
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Maps xiii

The San Francisco Seven David Kipen xv

Preface 1940 xxiii

I Gateway to the West

The Bay and the Land 3

The Opening of the Gate 4

Earth and Water 6

The Climate 9

Wild Life 10

A Frontier to Conquer 13

Natives of the Country 14

The White Men Came 16

Yankee Invasion 21

Emporium of a New World 29

World Port 30

Smokestacks Around the Bay 35

Engineering Enterprise 40

Golden Era 48

Centers of Learning 48

Argonauts of Letters 56

Art and Artists 65

Calendar of Annual Events 75

II "The City"

General Information 81

Hotel and Other Accommodations 84

Restaurants 86

Sports 87

Churches 90

San Franciscans: 1940 93

The City's Growth 96

The Village of Yerba Buena (1835-1848) 96

Capital of the Gold Coast (1848-1856) 98

Bonanza (1856-1875) 103

Big City (1875-1906) 105

Rising Phoenix (1906-1940) 108

San Franciscans at Work 112

Wall Street of the West 114

Labor's Thousands 120

Social Heritage 127

High Life and Low Life 127

Before the Footlights 135

Music Makers 140

San Francisco Goes to Church 145

Gentlemen of the Press 150

III Around the World in San Francisco

Civic Center 161

Metropolitan Scene 174

Landmarks of the Old Town 204

Chinatown 220

Latin Quarter: Telegraph Hill and North Beach 236

Lords of the Hilltops 252

Embarcadero 260

South of Market 271

Western Addition 282

Rim of the Golden Gate 304

Golden Gate Park 329

IV Around the Bay

The Harbor and Its Islands 357

The Farallones 359

Alcatraz 362

Angel Island 364

Yerba Buena 366

Treasure Island 368

East Bay: Cities and Back Country 371

Oakland 375

Berkeley 393

Alameda 408

East Bay Tour 1 414

East Bay Tour 2 425

North Bay 435

North Bay Tour 435

Down the Peninsula 460

Peninsula Tour 461

San Jose 486

V Appendices

A Chronology of the San Francisco Bay Region 495

A Select Reading List 501

Index 505

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