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San Francisco's Lost Landmarks Paperback – July 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gemstone of historical information. Smith's passion for its special place in his life fills these pages . . . in a friendly conversational style that's accompanied by fascinating historical photographs. Reading this was a journal of discovery." --www.blog.CharlesMarkee.com (September 2011)

From the Author

When I meet people who used to live in San Francisco or visited in years gone by, they often give me the tired old line, "I used to love going there but it's no longer the same." That's the point of this book. San Francisco has never been "the same" in its entire history and it's not just because of the 1906 earthquake and fire. The city began in a state of metamorphosis and has never stopped. Fifty years from now, the complaints will be the same.

I've captured some of the fun places and events in the city with the goal of entertaining first, then educating. There's no test at the end of San Francisco's Lost Landmarks. With over 150 photos and graphic representations, it's written to be read.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Word Dancer Press (July 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1884995446
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884995446
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #162,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
At age 83 I never thought a book would come along that would help me relive my memories of growing up in San Francisco in the 1930s.

Jim Smith has fulfilled that need.

I did not know all of his landmarks, but I remember with affection the Golden Gate International Exposition, Playland at the Beach, Topsy's Roost, Sutro Baths and many more from this wonderful and well written book.

Thank you, Jim, for taking me back.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
San Francisco's Lost Landmarks by James R. Smith

Whether you're a native, a relative or a tourist, this book will be your personal gemstone of historical information. From the gold rush through the twentieth century it takes you to the parks, the wharfs, the saloons, the theaters, the International Expositions, the restaurants, hotels and the history that have made San Francisco uniquely, The City.

Smith is a fourth generation native of The City and his passion for its special place in his life fills these pages. He tells the tale of its evolution from sand dunes to metropolis in a friendly conversational style that's accompanied by fascinating historical photographs and quoted inserts by natives who lived during times past. What develops as you read is a picture of people with determination who built a city first with gold, then with agriculture, trade and industry. There is no other place like San Francisco and Smith captures its uniqueness simply by documenting a reality that is frequently stranger than anyone could create with fiction. How many times did buildings burn to the ground only to be rebuilt in grander style?

My own personal history came alive reading this: The water chute at Playland, swimming at Sutro's, breakfast at the Cliff House, dancing at Bop City, riding the ferry boat to the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, my grandmother's memories of the 1906 earthquake and fire, brunch at the Palace Hotel or meeting Emperor Norton walking along Market Street. But more than nostalgia, I gained a perspective of San Francisco's place in the growth of our nation and the development of its place in the a global economy.

Reading this was a journey of discovery. I didn't know there was an earlier, 1894 International Exposition.
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Format: Paperback
I am an amateur history buff with a special interest in the San Francisco Bay Area. I was facinated with this new book by James R. Smith. I had seen many of the pictures before, but never organized in a way that told such an interesting story. The text is punctuated with personal observations and anecdotes from people that were there in the golden years, that took me back to those times that were beginning to fade from my memory.

After reading for an hour or so, I set the book down to rest my eyes. When I opened them I expected to see ornate wallpaper, gas lights, and oriental carpets. Instead I was brought back to reality by the sight of popcorn ceilings, incandescent lights, beige walls and matching Berber carpet.

I have many books in my library that I have only read once, but this one is definitely going on the coffee table.
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Format: Paperback
It is my pleasure to say to the readers here at the Amazon Web Site that Mr. James R. Smith's new book release "San Francisco's Lost Landmarks" has taken me back to a most delightful time when San Francisco was at its peak of glory.

I was extremely lucky to have lived and entertained in the San Francisco Bay Area between the Years of 1969 to 1989 and the best days of my life were spent there.

As I keep reading this most informative material about this wonderful City by the Bay and looking at the most interesting photos displayed on this book, I say to Mr. Smith...."Bravo, bravo, because you have breathed life into this book and San Francisco, at least while this book brings all its grandeur back and all the ghosts come rushing back smiling as if they were alive once again in the city where they lived, loved and worked. God bless, David de Alba, The Cuban Legend from Finocchio's.
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Format: Paperback
There are plenty of books on San Francisco History. So why read this one? Because James Smith has put together a very nice book on the various "Lost Landmarks" of San Francisco, including the Cliff Houses, buried ships, amusement parks, gambling houses, early theaters, popular restaurants and hotels of yesteryear, international expositions, and more!

Along with the detailed research, there is a voluminous amount of photographs. This is one of those books that you can read cover-to-cover in one sitting, or pick up at various times at various places in the book. In addition, it makes for a great historical resource, and it definitely has a place in my collection.

So, this book is a definite must for any San Francisco History Buff. And, by the way, get one for your friends too.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My paternal Grandparents married in Tennessee in May 1886. Some years earlier my Grandfather had spent five formative years in California seeking his fortune and his way for his life to come. My Grandfather died before I was born, but, my Father often told me the tales that his Father had told him of those years in California, especially the time that he spent in San Francisco. He specifically mentioned going to Cliff House. In looking at these pictures and reading of these landmarks of early San Francisco I can imagine my Grandfather seeing these sights in person. And I saw some of these sights myself during my first visit to San Francisco in July 2014.
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