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10 Vintage Bay Area Postcards and the Same Views Today

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The new app ScenePast lets you send old-fashioned postcards in a very modern way. The app includes digital versions of 20th-century postcards that can be mailed out via email or social media. ScenePast also provides a current look at each postcard scene, making for a very addictive game of Then & Now. The app includes postcards from all over North America, so naturally there are plenty from the Bay Area. We've rounded up a set for you that range from the entrance to Sutro Baths—complete with Ferris Wheel in the background—to a Sonoma Spanish mission that appears to have barely changed in more than 60 years.




The classic Fisherman's Grotto restaurant has been on Fisherman's Wharf since 1935. It sits next to Alioto's Italian Seafood restaurant, another mainstay. Both are largely unchanged since 1950, when this postcard shot was taken.




Back in the 1960's, the Villa Roma hotel sat at 1212 Columbus Avenue in North Beach. It once billed itself as "San Francisco's most elegant motor hotel." In the 1990s the hotel was replaced by the Marriott that still stands today.




The Golden Pheasant restaurant opened for business back in 1896 and still stood near Union Square in this 1940 postcard. It is now an Express store.




The Van Ness Inn hasn't changed much since 1960, with the exception of some white paint and its acquisition by motel chain America's Best. You can rent a room here for about $150 per night, probably quite a bit more than the rate of 50 years ago.




The Royal Inn of Alameda has retained its peaked structure of 1960 but is now a Rodeway Inn. Its main draw is a location near the Oakland Convention Center.




Remarkably, the Santa Rosa railroad station hasn't changed much in more than 100 years. This postcard from 1910 shows the train depot, which was built in 1907 following the earthquake that devastated the town's Railroad Square.




Unlike the train station, Santa Rosa's downtown has changed markedly. In 1940 it was bustling but bare. Trees have now grown up to beautify the streets.




This Catholic Spanish mission on Sonoma's East Spain Street looks almost exactly like it did in this 1950 postcard. Built in 1823, it is the northernmost Mission built in California.




Heading way south, this here is the Hotel Sainte Claire, which still operates on San Jose's South Market Street. It was built in 1926 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. This postcard shows it not long after its opening in 1930.

· ScenePast [Official Site]
· Then & Now Archives [Curbed SF]
· A Postcard App with a Historical Twist [CityLab]
· Here Now, 32 Vintage Postcards from San Francisco [Curbed SF]