Wide, Wide, Bernal and Capp
Longtime readers know that map scanologist Eric Fisher is a wonderful source of early 20th century constructo/destructo-porn. While many plans did not happen (a skytrain down Valencia St, for example, or an elevated Capp St Railway, or the Mission Freeway, or a Mission corridor from 16th to 24th the likes of Embarcadero Center), some did.
Here we have a map revealing 1924’s “contemplated projects” – Mission detail shown below, click the map to see the entire city.
Unlike the blight-driven plans of neighborhood-splitting projects like the Mission Freeway, it seems many of these came to pass. (Oh, people from the 1920s, your city planning is so quaint compared to the dreams of your children.) Two things stand out on this map:
1) Capp St extension — it was to be a backup artery to Mission St. While it never hooked up to Van Ness, it did get slightly widened.
and today via MapJack:
Other than the tree and the curb very little has changed.
Here’s 23rd and Capp under construction in 1940:
Alas this widening did not stop folks from moving down to the Peninsula.
2) The widening of the Bernal Cut certainly happened.
A very narrow Bernal Cut was originally dug out for the San Francisco San Jose Railway in the 1850s. Here is the Southern Pacific train in the cut, “looking north near Milton St”. Think of this while you take the San Jose exit off 280.
And “looking south near Charles St.”
(You really ought to buy the Arcadia Press Bernal Heights book — our friends at the Bernal History Project did some fine work on that one – lots of incredible pictures, especially one of the Cut that is simply amazing.)
Anyway, Charles and Milton are way the hell apart but it sure looks like the same house and tree up on the top of the cut. Could it have been the house at Mateo and Arlington? 1899 map below.
The there is the mystery of Charles St. A Twitter conversation arose on what happened to the 0-100 block of Charles St got me curious. I originally thought they widened the cut mostly to the east. The eastern-most block of Charles St also got lost in the widening, but Eric Fischer let me know that they moved Arlington as well on the west side of the cut.
Anyway, here is our vanished bridge across the cut at Charles street:
and a water main that crossed at Fairmount over to Appleton (I imagine from the Holly Park reservoir?)
(This was the weird looking one you can see in all the construction photos.)
Out of sheer amusement for making map 1000 pixels long, here are a bunch of the 1899/1900 Sanborn maps I glued together showing the cut. (The 1886 maps don’t show all of it.) You can see the two bridges quite easily.
As we all know from the San Jose exit off 280, the cut is rather larger now than the train pictures above.
Here’s a shot from Jan 1929 with the widening of the cut is well underway. This is at Bosworth (hint: you know you are in a depression when people are pushing mud around).
And later that year we see pretty much what we have today. The Richland (foreground) and Highland Street bridges, Oct 1929. (Taken at about the same place as the first train shot above).
Same view today:
I’m guessing they took out the two center supports and put those wonky braces up in the 50s when they shut down the Union Pacific rail line? (Muni didn’t run through Balboa until 1991.)
See more before/after San Jose time magick over at Bernalwood. And I just found this interesting before/after comparison video of the Cut on YouTube:
and the same person put up this rather remarkable then & now of a house in Glen Park. But I digress.
Here’s a shot from the Richland bridge in 1942 looking south towards St. Mary’s and Mateo @ Arlington. Interesting that the railroad tracks are on the inner edge of the curve, and San Jose on the outer part.
Notice the landslides on both sides of the road — that’s why we have those tall concrete walls today.