Tomorrow is the official start of the summer and what better way to spend the summer than at the beach. Granted, San Francisco summers often feature foggy, cool weather, but nonetheless, Ocean Beach is a popular spot for swimmers, surfers, volleyball players, and tanners. So we thought we’d take a look at people at Ocean Beach over the years.
Waders at north end of Ocean Beach, circa 1885. (wnp37.00264; Isaiah West Taber, photographer – Marilyn Blaisdell Collection / Courtesy of a Private Collector)
We start about 135 years ago with a group of waders at the north end of Ocean Beach, below the first Cliff House, circa 1885. The boys or men have waded a little further out into the surf with pant legs rolled up. The ladies are in just far enough to get their feet wet. Everyone looks a little dressier than you will find there later and everybody wears a hat except for one little girl.
Three women sitting on sand dune on Ocean Beach near end of Lincoln Way, 1899. (wnp130.00080; Goecker Family Album / Courtesy of O’Keefe Family)
Moving forward to 1899, these three ladies visited Ocean Beach near the end of Lincoln Way and found a sand dune to sit on while they chatted and enjoyed the sun. Of course, between those dresses and hats, they probably didn’t soak up much sun. Hopefully the chat was enjoyable.
Teenagers and sand sculpture on Ocean Beach, circa 1905. (wnp14.0983; Courtesy of a Private Collector)
Some things never change. Back around 1905, these teenagers visited a somewhat scandalous (for the time) sand sculpture of a woman. However, the five lads seem less interested in the sand sculpture than the young lass nearby.
Children on Ocean Beach, circa 1910. (wnp37.02049; Marilyn Blaisdell Collection / Courtesy of a Private Collector)
Just a few years later, around 1910, we find these children frolicking in the surf on Ocean Beach. We love how big brother here, in fact all the boys, are wearing button-down shirts, bow ties, jackets and caps with shorts. The older of the two sisters in front looks like she is having some trouble with her dress and maybe a hat in the wind.
Women in swimwear on Ocean Beach near foot of Balboa, 1922. (wnp37.02139; Marilyn Blaisdell Collection / Courtesy of a Private Collector)
Here’s some women wearing the fashionable swimwear of 1922 on Ocean Beach near the foot of Balboa Street. We don’t know if they are modeling or simply friends taking a picture at the beach. Either way, it looks like they were having a good time.
Couple surrounded by gulls on Ocean Beach, circa 1928. (wnp26.433; Courtesy of a Private Collector)
Has this happened to you? You take a stroll on Ocean Beach with some food in hand and suddenly, you are surrounded by gulls seeking a bite to eat. We are not sure if this couple was feeding the gulls or if the gulls simply decided to photobomb their picture.
Family picnic on Ocean Beach, July 4, 1937. (wnp14.11848; Courtesy of a Private Collector)
This family is spending their 4th of July holiday by having a picnic on the beach in 1937. Surely some of you have done the same at some point. Food at the beach and then go see some fireworks. When you picnic at the beach though, you are likely to encounter some wind. The one young lady without a hat appears to have the wind whipping her hair.
Three young women posing for picture on Ocean Beach, circa 1948. (wnp70.1116; Marilyn Blaisdell Collection / Courtesy of Molly Blaisdell)
These three young ladies struck a pose while sitting on beach towels on the sand at the north end of Ocean Beach sometime around 1948. The third Cliff House can be seen in the background before it got remodeled into its redwood road house look. The times are a-changing as these women are comfortable showing more skin than in the pre-World War II years.
Sunbathers on Ocean Beach near Lincoln Way storm drain outlet, 1958. (wnp25.6442; Courtesy of a Private Collector)
As with the ladies, the gentlemen also were getting more comfortable showing a lot of skin, as we see with this group of sunbathers on Ocean Beach in 1958, near the Lincoln Way storm drain outlet. It looks like one of the young women with them has taken up an interest in photography.
Three men entering surf with boogie boards in Kelly’s Cove at north end of Ocean Beach, 1990s. (wnp07.00418; Richmond Review Newspaper Collection / Courtesy of Paul Kozakiewicz, Richmond Review)
We end our Ocean Beach tour by taking a big leap forward thirty plus years to the 1990s, where we find three men entering the surf in Kelly’s Cove with boogie boards. In the background, you can see the Cliff House and the Camera Obscura and it appears there are number of tour buses parked up the hill.
Today, people continue to enjoy Ocean Beach, whether it be for swimming, surfing, or sunbathing. Beach volleyball and other sports are regularly played in the sand. With the usual wind, kite flyers and wind surfers can often be found there. Various special events, like yesterday’s Corgi-Con, happen there. Summer is here, so will you be visiting the beach?