Claim: Photographs illustrate a trip to San Francisco in 1940 as described in a letter by Henry Ford.
REAL PHOTOGRAPHS; INACCURATE DESCRIPTION
Examples: [Collected via the Internet, November 2011]
Today’s photographs come from another time — 1940 to be exact. The photographs were taken while this famous figure was on vacation in San Francisco and included in a letter to the person’s family back home. It is so fascinating to see
Arrived in Oakland a few hours ago and finally we’re on our way to
We paid 25 cents at the Toll Plaza to enter this wonderful bridge that was opened four years ago. It took me awhile to get used to the traffic.
The bridge has two decks. The top deck is for automobiles and the bottom deck for trucks and electric trains. You can see the tracks at left. The trains are run by the Key System and Southern Pacific. They can take you all over the East Bay to wonderful places like Neptune Beach in Alameda.
We have just passed through the Yerba Buena Tunnel and can finally see
Right now we’re heading for the Mark Hopkins Hotel on Nob Hill for cocktails. It’s a great place to see
Isn’t this a great view of San Francisco? We’re at the lounge called the Top of the Mark. The Mark Hopkins Hotel is one of the city’s great hotels.
The Russ Building, by the bridge tower, is the biggest office building on the Pacific Coast. It’s
Near the Ferry Building is the Produce District made up of small beautiful, old brick buildings. You can go there early in the morning and watch the grocers come in to pick out all kinds of vegetables.
After leaving the Mark we walked down California to Grant Avenue. Here is
Do you see the Shriner’s Flags at the top of the picture? They are having a convention in
Every New Years Day the famous Shrine East West football game is held in Kezar Stadium.
After leaving Chinatown we walked down to Powell Street. Around Geary Street there are wonderful flower stands.
We’re at Powell and Market where the cable cars get turned around to go to Fisherman’s Wharf. There is a great cafeteria just a few feet from the turntable. It’s called Clinton’s and I hear the food is great.. but we plan to have dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf and that’s where we are heading.
We walked along the docks to look at hundreds of fishing boats. The one coming in here is a crab fisher. They are all painted wonderful colors and the fisherman are all Italian. They are very friendly, and we watched them sitting on the docks mending their nets and singing.
Fisherman’s Wharf has to be one of my favorite places in
One night we went to a great restaurant a man told me about. It’s called
Our waiter was very friendly.. I think he had been sampling the house wine.
San Franciscans love the beach. The water is too cold to swim in but Playland at the Beach has everything else; a wonderful roller coaster, the Fun House, Shoot the Chutes, and great food. A favorite is Topsy’s Roost for delicious fried chicken and dancing. If you’re eating on the balcony you go down to the dance floor on a slide!
My favorite was the Pie Shop … the best chicken and beef turnovers imaginable … fantastic crust and a wonderful gravy.
We left Playland and drove through the Presidio to the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio is still an important Army Base and has been on active duty since Spain built a fort there in 1776.
The Golden Gate is my favorite bridge. We parked the car near the Toll Plaza and walked across the bridge for
Our trip to San Francisco is over too soon. I hate to say goodbye to this beautiful city. The people who live here are sure lucky.
Hope you enjoyed my letter and the photographs.
Say hello to everybody.
~ Henry Ford
July 12, 1940
Origins: The familiar maxim holds that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but sometimes images can carry much more emotional resonance when paired with just a little bit of added commentary. Such is the case with these vintage photographs of
have enchanted many viewers all the more due to the folksy, travelogue-like letter (presumably written by the photographer) to family back home that accompanies them. Even more remarkable is the revelation that the author of that charming letter was one of most famous personages of his time, American automobile pioneer Henry Ford.
Sadly, although the photographs are genuine, the friendly missive and the identity of its author are fabrications.
Back around the year 2000, a fellow named Bill Roddy took a folder of
old photographs of
As an aside, we note that not only does this travelogue sound nothing like what Henry Ford would have written, but Ford was nearly
Last updated: 7 August 2014