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The Baltimore Sun

Depression-era San Francisco

Even as I stand before the mural on a Friday morning last month, my eyes an inch from the artist's brush strokes, I can't quite imagine. But I do feel a little closer to the 1930s, and I know I'm not the only one who has been wondering lately about those years. The remedy is a trip to San Francisco -- good not only for plain fun but also for some encouraging revelations. In the face of the hard times between 1929 and 1941, including a bitter maritime strike in 1934, all sorts of strange and wonderful creations and transformations emerged here. Murals. Bridges. Even a couple of islands. In my single-minded mission, I made it to the first nine of these 11 Depression-era landmarks in 24 hours. As a saner, slower traveler, you could easily cover five in a weekend. Most are inexpensive or free. And you've probably already visited several Depression landmarks without thinking of them that way. The Golden Gate Bridge, for instance. Or the Top of the Mark, the bar that hovers 19 stories above the top of posh Nob Hill. Or Coit Tower. Or, if you're driving in from the Oakland airport as I did, the Bay Bridge beneath your wheels.