Past Meets Present

Becky has a new photography challenge for the month of April and this is the first time that I have tried her Past Meets Present format.

She has asked us to post at least two pictures with the following conditions:

  • The first must have been taken by you.
  • The second needs to be of the same view (or similar) as the first but taken days, weeks or years before. This one doesn’t have to be taken by you, so it can be of a postcard, a picture in a book or a painting.

The first photo below was originally published in the San Francisco News-Call Bulletin newspaper on September 23, 1947. It shows a view of the Civil War-era Fort Point as seen through the engineered arch of the Golden Gate bridge.

I took the second photo in 2013 on one of my Swing shift rounds of the South Anchorage roof. It is one of my favorite images of the fort and it was the first one that I thought of a few days ago when I saw the old B&W image for the first time.

Joseph Strauss Rescues a Future Historic Treasure

“An attempt in 1926 to preserve the fort by the American Institute of Architects failed to gain traction, but Chief Engineer Joseph Strauss recognized its historic value. “While the old fort has no military value now,” Strauss wrote, “it remains nevertheless a fine example of the mason’s art… it should be preserved and restored as a national monument.”

In response to this challenge, Strauss’ engineers [1] fashioned a massive steel arch that supported the roadway while preserving the fort. This design element—a graceful arc in elegant juxtaposition to the angular brick structure below—saved Fort Point, which would be named a National Historic Site by Richard Nixon on October 16, 1970.” [2]

I was part of a crew of electricians who were tasked with adding a pair of temporary security cameras on the fort following the attacks of September 11, 2001. We had to run conduits, pull cables, and mount power supplies while observing one very strict directive from the National Parks Service: NO holes for support anchors or equipment could be drilled into the face of ANY brick in the building. We could only put a bare minimum of anchors in the cement joints between the courses of bricks. Those cameras were still operational when I retired 4 years ago.

[1] There is some disagreement as to who came up with the arch design; one reference says it was Clifford E. Paine, another credits Charles A. Ellis.

[2] The Point of Fort Point: A Brief History, Golden Gate Bridge Research Library

  16 comments for “Past Meets Present

  1. April 10, 2018 at 9:37 AM

    Great captures Allan!!!


  2. alstacer
    April 6, 2018 at 3:48 PM

    Great pictures side by side to open a window into history! Thanks for sharing the views over time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • alstacer
      April 6, 2018 at 3:49 PM

      PS Was anyone ever tempted to take a skateboard to the top of one the GGB’s towers?

      Liked by 1 person

      • April 6, 2018 at 11:37 PM

        Tempted, perhaps, but verbotten for sure. They don’t need a falling skateboard, or rider, to hit the sidewalk or roadway.


    • April 6, 2018 at 11:35 PM

      My pleasure, Al. You are quite welcome.


  3. April 5, 2018 at 11:31 AM

    Beautiful photos, especially the one you took. The modern picture is a literal replica of the old one. That’s quite a feat, Allan. Your eyes are your lens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 5, 2018 at 11:43 AM

      Sheer luck or happenstance? It was exciting when I saw the old photo and then the light went on and I remembered that I had taken a photo—several photos— from that general area.
      Thanks for your comment, Ze.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. April 4, 2018 at 8:29 PM

    Super image, Allan!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike Cornelius
    April 3, 2018 at 6:29 PM

    I’m not sure what the prize is Allan, but if you don’t win with those two shots and the stories behind them, then the fix must be in! Very well done.


    Liked by 1 person

    • April 4, 2018 at 8:07 AM

      thanks, Mike. There’s no prize other than a SURprise when I saw that old B&W and searched my archives and found a similar shot.


  6. April 3, 2018 at 10:57 AM

    Very interesting take on this Challenge. So much information about the bridge. Does it have an official historian? If not I nominate you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • April 3, 2018 at 12:42 PM

      Thanks, Carol. Trust me, there are a lot of people with a lot more knowledge about the bridge than me.


Questions? Comments? Let's talk...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: