Open Shutter to the Past: San Francisco in Pictures – St. Patrick's Day Parade (1951)

St. Patrick’s Day San Francisco
Welcome back to Photo Friday – my little way of taking a break from San Francisco Real Estate and instead blogging about our great City’s past instead. All photos are published with permission from the San Francisco History Center and San Francisco Public Library.

May the Luck O’ The Irish be with ya this weekend!
I know St. Patty’s Day isn’t officially until Monday, but hell – can you go wrong getting started on your green beer a wee bit early?
In 1951 they got the party started early too!

The big St. Patrick’s Day parade gets under way from the Ferry Building – moving up Market-st to be cheered by an estimated 60,000 spectators.

Today is the day San Francisco turned a bright and friendly green. More than 60,000 people – 99 percent of them wearing a bit or more of green – stood elbow to elbow along Market-st to watch the bands and drill teams and Irishmen clomp up to the City Hall in the afternoon sun. From one end of the city to the other vivid splashes of green appeared, ranging from brillaint green neckties and dark green skirts to pale green hats and billious green shirts. (There was even a report of a colleen wearing green-tinted fingernails, but it was not substantiated.) And all this in honor of the great patron saint and apostle of the Irish, St. Patrick. The people of this city, whether their ancestors stemmed from Ireland or not, entered wholeheartedly into this traditional celebration honoring the man whose legendary feats included banishing the snakes and toads from Ireland. The celebration of 1951’s St. Patrick’s Day began, in good Irish fashion, several days before the actual event. Luncheons and dinners were held throughout this week and scores of speeches were made by Irishmen, near-Irishmen and non-Irishmen. But the biggest event in size came this afternoon when the annual St Patrick’s Day parade jammed traffic along Market-st. The parade started in customary fashion at the Ferry Building at 2 p.m. Led by a young man of Irish descent – Sgt. James Robert McCloy, Korean war hero who lost a leg in action – the big parade rolled to the reviewing stand in front of the City Hall. Nine bands, including seven military, as well as marching units of soldiers, sailors and Marines and mounted patrols were lined up to take part in the march. The chairman of the parade is George R. Reilly, of the Board of Equalization.

So if you’re ready to get the St. Patrick’s Day party 2008 started early – here’s a list of a few places to start the celebration.
As for me – you might catch me out on the town, green beer in hand, chattering in my best impression of an Irish accent. But first, I’ve got a mean corned beef and cabbage dinner I’ll be cooking, served with (was there a doubt) a few pints of Guiness.
And so, I wish you a splendid weekend and leave you with a little Irish blessing:
May you always have walls for the winds,
a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire,
laughter to cheer you, those you love near you,
and all your heart might desire.

Luba

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