City Lights at 60: Then & Now Photos

City Lights is turning 60!

Coming to San Francisco? Check out our special anniversary events. Stay tuned for updates (we have many ways of keeping in touch: here, herehere, aaand here). You have now been looped in.

From time to time, we’ll be sharing photos from our archives and matching them up with present-day pictures for our “Then & Now” series on the blog. So let’s start with the storefront:

Photo credit: Hammond Guthrie

When City Lights first opened in 1953, it was a tiny storefront in the triangular Artigues Building located at 261 Columbus Avenue, near the intersection of Broadway in San Francisco’s North Beach. Built on the ruins of a previous building destroyed in the fire following the 1906 earthquake, the building was designed by Oliver Everett in 1907 and named for its owners. City Lights originally shared the Artigues Building with a number of other shops and gradually gained more space when the other shops became vacant, eventually occupying the entire building.

Pictured above in 1969, that “one way” sign used to stand at the end of what once was Adler Place, a dark and dingy alley, known nowadays as Kerouac Alley, connecting Grant Avenue in Chinatown and to Columbus Avenue in North Beach. What we look like today:

Credit: Linda Ronan

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