San Francisco, Dec 1947


These images were found in box 24 with the Jack Pahl Dec 25, 1947 images.

We can’t be sure that these images are from that time period but it would make sense for Joel to pass by one of his favorite subjects when he was in the Oakland/Berkeley area to visit family. Most of the male Pahl family members resided in the Oakland/Berkeley area prior to 1952.

Fisherman’s Wharf, from Al Scoma Way, Tarantino restaurant, Dec 1947
Fisherman’s Wharf, Tarantino restaurant, Dec 1947

The telltale signs these images were printed out or copied are there. Joel was standing where Al Scoma Way approximately would be right now for the first image and the pier were he took the second shot is still there.

Powell looking South, Sir Francis Drake Hotel with Starlight Room on top in background, Dec 1947/
California Street looking East, Bay Bridge in background, Dec 1947
April 2022, same view from Google
Cathay House, intersection of Grant street and California Street

Cathay House is easy to recognise and can be found on the corner of California Street (with cable car tracks) and Grant Street. Joel is positioned in Grant Street, facing North.

The Church at the right hand side is Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, a catholic church since 1894.

Lantern, Chinatown, San Francisco, Dec 1947
Lantern, Chinatown, San Francisco, Dec 1947

Joel had to take two views, one in the shade and the other in full sunlight.

Last San Francisco image was taken at Fisherman’s Wharf. It speaks to me.

Mending nets, Fisherman’s Wharf, Dec 1947

Joel printed above image out at some point.

There were few more images left in this box. Joel photographed an organist (Torlan ?) at a San Francisco location that has not been identified. Since the Torlan date indicates Dec 26, 1947, this could be a church, auditorium or concert hall in the San Francisco area. The latter in light of the previous walk-through San Francisco images. (Powell, California Street)

EDIT: Liz Schuler identified the organist as Joel’s life long organist friend Fred Tulan. We’ll add a few more edits as more information develops.

3 Manual M.P. Möller Organ, built in 1926
3 Manual M.P. Möller Organ, built in 1928

I did some research on M.P. Möller organs. The organ in the images is built in 1928, the serial number is not readable with the resolution as is. With well over 10,000 of organ’s installed across the world, a tough order on identifying which one it could be.

I managed to sharpen the register plate in one of the images up a little bit and came up with this:

M.P Möller, Hägerstown, Maryland, OPUS 5213 — 1928

Gave me sufficient insight to start looking through online organ databases. The only information on this organ is that it has 3 manuals (keyboards) and is installed in a San Francisco Auditorium or Concert Hall. No further information is available. (It did double-check that this organ is not the one installed in the Civic Auditorium.)

So, there’s still a little mystery to be investigated. The presence of a piano at the right hand side of the organist, does point to an auditorium or concert hall of sorts. (Music school, conservatory, etc.)

Next blog post we’ll spend time with Joel in Box Car City.

Cheers !


2 responses to “San Francisco, Dec 1947”

  1. Nice work Rudi. The gentleman on the organ is Fred Tulan, Joel‘s lifelong next-door neighbor until Fred‘s passing. Fred was a renowned organist. After losing the ability to use his right hand he is best known for composing works using only the organ pedals.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Liz for this tidbit. As an avid organ music lover, I’m familiar with the organists I came across when at the Conservatory in Belgium. I’ll educate myself on Fred Tulan !

      Like

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