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This Rare Footage In The 1950s Shows San Francisco Like You’ve Never Seen Before

A decade or so before San Francisco saw an influx of young hippies with flowers in their hair, it was a somewhat quieter city, though one still bustling with revolutionary art, poetry, and jazz. This was the age of the Beats, after all. Fortunately, through film, we can get a sense of what it felt like for people like Jack Kerouac to walk the streets of San Francisco during this time. This particular video was captured by filmmaker Tullio Pellgrini in 1955, back when the Bay Bridge was the longest bridge in the world. It shows many familiar landmarks that haven’t changed too much, as well as some very cool spots we wish were still around, like the Playland amusement park and Sky Tram that offered rides over Sutro Baths.

So, what do you think of this footage of San Francisco in the 1950s? Has it changed much since 1955?

Stephanie Garr
Stephanie is a freelance writer and editor based in San Francisco, California. When she's not tapping at a keyboard, she can be found leading groups on gourmet chocolate walking tours (best job ever) or running the many lovely hills and stairs of the city (to burn off all that chocolate, of course). She also runs a travel blog with her husband at Big & Small Travel (bigandsmalltravel.com).