Sunday, January 20, 2019

San Francisco 100 Years Later

A little over two years ago, I wrote about discovering my great-grandfather's service with the Motor Transport Corps during World War I.

See Finding WWI Military Service Despite National Archives Fire.

At that time, I received my first batch of original photographs of Sam Kirk (great-grandpa) during his service at the Presidio in San Francisco, California.

One of the photos depicted Sam with an officer with a very distinctive building in the background. I soon learned it was the Palace of Fine Arts, which was built in 1915 for the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition - a world's fair that was held in San Francisco.

Samuel Kirk, pictured at right, with unknown serviceman
in front of  the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.

Fast-forward a couple years and I find myself in San Francisco for work. Making swift use of my limited time, I hoofed it to the Fine Arts building. Although there is now a busy highway where I speculate Sam stood for this photo, I was able to give it my best shot and recreate the scene 100 years later.

The author in San Francisco, retracing his great-grandfather Sam Kirk's footsteps.

The Palace of Fine Arts is a beautiful building in a very lovely neighborhood. Across the highway I could see buildings from the Presidio - presumably where Sam was stationed during his military service.

Curious what the Palace looks like?

Et voilĂ !

Palace of Fine Arts, photo by author.


  1. Stupéfiant et incroyable! Those are just the French adjectives for the final photo. I love the recreation photo.

    1. Thanks, Cathy! It's fascinating to be able to jump back in time and recreate moments in our ancestors' lives.

  2. What fun! And what a fascinating building. I don't remember hearing of it when we were in San Francisco in 2002.

    1. I also hadn't heard of it when I was in the city years ago. It's not too far from the Golden Gate Bridge.

  3. My absolutely favorite spot in San Francisco. I recognized it immediately. What a great idea "recreating" the shot.

    1. I enjoyed that trip so much and look forward to returning.