San Francisco by Air in 1941

This was sent to me by a relative who is a pilot and loves aviation history.  This is a story from my childhood.  This is what San Francisco looked like when I was a small child.  In fact, the first time I was in an airplane was in 1939 at the World’s Fair on Treasure Island in the bay–my first vivid memory.

31 responses to “San Francisco by Air in 1941

  1. I really enjoyed this video, it was like looking through a pinhole into the forties, I liked how some of the people were dressed, very classy and the cars too, and of course the way San Francisco looked was very cool, I also find the fact that you attended the World’s Fair very cool also.

  2. This video was nice. I’ve had the pleasure to visit San Fransico in 2012. It has truly changded since this video. I love being on planes and viewing the world for a bird’s eye view. Sometimes i never reall gasp how big a city is until i look a it from the sky.

  3. so crazy how the city has changed so much from back then along with new york it is crazy how it looked then to how it looks now.

  4. The bridge is so empty! Seeing these 72 year old images is very interesting.

  5. It all changed in so little time! Id love to visit the city and see how it grows after another 70 years.

  6. Its crazy to see how population can make cites grow.

  7. Reminds me of how much things have changed in the short amount of time I have lived here in Riverside. The increasing population will always need more space and things will disappear in order to make room. An example is all of the orange groves that used to be present in Riverside, not anymore. There are just endless rows of housing developments.

  8. Cities change so quickly because of the population increase. Where I live there used to be many open fields and now there’s shopping centers everywhere.

  9. Wow, that is quite a difference. But I guess when you think about it…there used to be nothing but mountains, trees, animals, plains, and rivers on this continent before we invaded, cleared it out, and took it over. We are a very destructive species :/

  10. What a beautiful city. I can almost hear the early drums of the 90s sitcom Full House intro playing as the pilot soars over the bridge. What a triumph Calfornia’s come so far over the past half a century.

  11. It’s crazy to see how much a city can change within a little over 70 years. Seeing how the cars used to look and how little traffic there was compared to what we see today is incredible.

  12. It’s amazing how a city changes over time. Less traffic and buildings!

  13. Wow. San Fransisco has changed leaps and bounds since this picture was taken. It is amazing to see how cities progress over time and grow to how they stand today.

  14. This is pretty cool to see how much a city has changed over the years.

  15. I have recently visited San Francisco. I went there during my spring break and I enjoyed the experience. The city has a different vibe then cities in the inland empire. There are plenty of beautiful sites and lively people.

    • Ever since I was younger I have loved San Francisco . That is the first place I went on a road trip too. When I was 11 my mom moved up to the Sonoma Valley and every weekend I am there we go to the city . San Fransisco is beautiful due to its historic and quaint architecture. I wish I had the money to live there.

  16. It’s amazing to see how far a city has come with all the technology that has been invented and all the innovation that has took place within San Fran.

  17. I have family in San Francisco and have been going there my whole life. In fact, I hope to live there one day. The city may have changed a lot, but there is still so much history there and in many ways it hasn’t changed a bit.

  18. San Francisco seems like a beautiful place to be, I have never been but hope to go once day. This is a cool video from 1941 to see a bird-eye-view of the city and looking at pictures now of how much the city have grown.

  19. This is a really cool video to see San Fransisco from an airplane. It is cool to see the Golden Gate Bridge without all the traffic on it. I went up north when I was a kid and even then there was quite a bit of traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge. All I remember was singing the Full House theme song while driving over the bridge. It was neat to see some history in the video too.

  20. What beauty this city had in the early nineteen hundreds. So untouched by man. This beauty is almost nonexistend today. Industrialization has taking more out of the natural landscape than we thought. Never the less San Francisco is still remarkable, and its beauty captures the attention of those who inhabit it.

  21. This is a neat video of San Fransisco. I was hoping to spot the Coit Tower, and I was very glad when I did see it. I traveled to San Francisco last summer and made a visit to the top of the Coit Tower, but I didn’t have the clear panaramic view that this pilot had when he flew areound and got the image of the tower.

  22. San Fransisco is such a beautiful city. I highly enjoyed visiting this city. It is always neat to see the transformation of things, and how they change over time.

  23. This video is amazing because you can see who it has grown and how different it is. there are still some things that are still there like the lower deck of the bay bridge. Back then San Francisco was a nice city but is also today.

  24. San Francisco was a beautiful city then, and is still a beautiful city today. I am looking forward to living here in my near future. It’s obvious that times have changed, but San Francisco seems to be one of the few cities that remain antiquated.

  25. It is amazing to see how much things have changed, from technology to fashion.

  26. I’m actually going to be living in this city when I’m in my mid 20’s. this video kind if have me a nice birds eye view tour. I have always heard of how amazing the city is but I can see how it’s diversities make it so amazing from the video.

  27. It is amazing to see a city grow so rapidly. I have never been too San Francisco but I know by seeing videos and picture how big it is compare to how it was back in 1941.

  28. I’ve never been to San Francisco but wow, how crazy it has grown. I’ve seen pictures of Riverside too and I was also amazed on how it has grown.

  29. After I watched this Video and Wow! It is very unique airplane and things like building, cars, lands and farmers. It is amazing that had been changed from in 1941 to present that I comparison like this I said “Wow!” Your memories are into vivid. For your information I learned the words today is here aviation, vivid, and astonish. Aviation is mean skill or practice of operating aircraft. Vivid is mean imagination, vivid recollection of the scene. Astonish is mean amaze, surprise and greatly. I will use in the future smile…

  30. It is amazing to see the growth of the city since the time of this video. I dont know whats more astonishing, the clear weather, or the lack of traffic!

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