Old Signage

Unfinished History

As San Francisco undergoes endless gentrification and explosive growth of new office towers and business parks, occasionally the deconstruction process that removes old buildings reveals glimpses of fading signs of yesteryear. Here are a few snapshots taken during the early 21st century, ghosts of 20th century businesses long gone.

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Tool and Die business on brick wall near First Street and Howard.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2007

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Steam Shovel services on this downtown wall.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2007

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Carnation Mush ad on Market near Franklin.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2013

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Shoe Findings at SF Tool Co., Inc., Folsom Street north of 24th Street.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2007

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Brannan and 7th Streets.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2015

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Vulcan Cleanser ad, covered in part by new graffiiti, Mission District.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2008

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Old Cleaning and Dyeing sign on York Street near 25th.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2017

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"It Hasta Be Shasta" was ubiquitous in the 1960s and 1970s for the old sodapop brand, seen here in 2020 before disappearing behind new construction replacing a gas station at 17th and Potrero Avenue.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2020


On York and 22nd, the Acme Beer sign is disappearing now (2020) under the tree's foliage, and the Piemonte grocery was painted out years ago.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2010

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These commercial advertisements reappeared as the building at Fillmore and Hermann underwent a full rehabilitation in 2020.

Photo: Chris Carlsson

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Old Barish Bail Bonds sign on Bartlett Street between 21st and 22nd Streets, left over from the days when the Mission Police Station was nearby on Valencia.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2020

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In the Mission.

Photo: Chris Carlsson, 2014