Streetwise: Summertime Across San Francisco

by Frank Dunnigan

Little Hollywood, circa 1950.Nine children in the backyard of a Little Hollywood home, circa 1950. (wnp14.3479; Little Hollywood Family Collection / Courtesy of a Private Collector)

BACKYARD — Sometimes when there was nothing else to do, time could be spent in the backyard with friends, learning about plants, helping with maintenance by pulling weeds, cutting back dead growth, sweeping up, and watering. It was also a place for get-togethers with neighborhood pets — all with easy access to Mom’s kitchen, a cool drink, and a snack. These youngsters pose at a home in the Little Hollywood neighborhood in 1950. See more neighborhood images in OpenSFHistory’s Little Hollywood Family Collection.


Dolores Park, January 1981.Group of kids with bikes posing in Dolores Park with Mission High School in the background, January 1981. (wnp72.7009; photo by Greg Gaar / Courtesy of Greg Gaar)

BIKE RIDING — This group of youngsters and their bikes (the universal symbol of childhood adventure) poses in Dolores Park near Mission High School in 1981. Sent on their way with a parental directive to be home by dinnertime, kids could explore many parts of San Francisco easily and safely.


Candlestick Park, July 1987.Kids at a Giants game at Candlestick Park, July 1987. (wnp72.13603; photo by Greg Gaar / Courtesy of Greg Gaar)

CANDLESTICK PARK — Summertime was the perfect season for kids to get together and see the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park, such as this crowd in July of 1987. As late as the 1970s, general admission tickets were still available for as little as $1. See many images of Candlestick Park over the years.


Telegraph Hill, October 16, 1941.Two boys doing watercolor paintings on Telegraph Hill, October 16, 1941. (wnp27.4380; Courtesy of a Private Collector)

CRAFTS — Many parents utilized a variety of craft projects to keep their youngsters occupied and out in the fresh air during the summer months. Here, painting is keeping these two boys busy on Telegraph Hill back in 1941.


Market Street near Powell, circa 1944.Two women with two children on Market Street near Powell, circa 1944. (wnp27.3073; Courtesy of a Private Collector)

DOWNTOWN — A shopping trip downtown was always an adventure for youngsters, such as this scene on Market Street near Powell in 1944. Whether going with Mom, or riding MUNI on their own or with friends, downtown San Francisco was a popular destination for shopping, people-watching, or just hanging out.


Unknown location, 1940s.Children at picnic tables having lunch, 1940s. (wnp26.1591; Courtesy of a Private Collector)

PICNICS — Outdoor dining was a popular activity for kids anytime, even more so with a group of friends, as shown here at a city park in the 1940s.


Palega Recreation Center, circa 1935.Woman reading a story to small children at Palega Recreation Center (then called Portola Playground), near Hamilton and Felton, circa 1935. (wnp26.1506; Courtesy of a Private Collector)

PORTOLA PLAYGROUND (NOW PALEGA RECREATION CENTER) — Neighborhood playgrounds across San Francisco offered a variety of structured and supervised programs for children for many years, as shown here in 1935.


Mission & 22nd Streets, February 11, 1961.Boy Scouts parade on Mission and 22nd Streets, February 11, 1961. (wnp28.2171; Courtesy of a Private Collector)

SCOUTING — Scouting offered a variety of educational and recreational activities for children for decades, including this parade along Mission Street near 22nd Street in 1961.


Fillmore Street near Sacramento, July 6, 1996.Salesclerk Marisa Ranney helps sisters Catherine (rear) and Christine Rhoades choose hard candy polish at The Beauty Store at 2124 Fillmore, July 6, 1996 (wnp07.00318; Photo by Philip Liborio Gangi / Richmond Review Newspaper Collection, Courtesy of Paul Kozakiewicz, Richmond Review)

SHOPPING — Sometimes shopping with your sibling or a friend is an enjoyable way to spend a summer afternoon, such as with these two young ladies on Fillmore near Sacramento in 1996.


Civic Center, 1974.Kids at Civic Center reflecting pool with Hip the dog, 1974. (wnp72.1484; photo by Greg Gaar / Courtesy of Greg Gaar)

WADING — When the weather turns warm, kids and dogs often seek out cooling relaxation in a fountain, such as this group at Civic Center Plaza on a sunny day in 1974.