Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Impact - Larkspur - Fire Call

  The fire horn blasts out its beckoning call across town and all, including Walter, come running.  This is a diaphone air horn - the diaphone saw its earliest use as a fog horn before a smaller version by the Gamewell Company became popular with fire stations and municipalities all across America (listen to one here).

  CitySleuth thanks Larkspur resident Paul Penna for his contributions about the light-hearted footage that follows.

Then ...  The horn is seen atop a tower on the roof of Larkspur's City Hall (map) right next to the fire station on the left. 

... and Now,  it's still there and operational to this day.  It used to sound a test call three times daily but backed off over time to once per day at noon.  Now there are no daily tests in deference to peace and quiet.  Note the extension protruding from the City Hall building, not there in 1949 - it housed the entire Larkspur Police Dept. in the 1950s.


Then ...  A newlywed interrupts his honeymoon to report for duty but remembers to kiss the bride.

... and Now,  they were facing south on Magnolia at King Street close to the fire station.  The property across the street is still bordered by the same locally quarried sandstone wall.


Then ...  One of the volunteers rushes out of his home mid-shave, trades his shaving mug for a helmet and fire axe and legs it to the station (click image to enlarge).

... and Now,  he lived at 121 William Avenue (map), steps from the Tavern at Lark Creek restaurant on Magnolia - apart from the windows and fence the house has changed very little. (click image to enlarge)


Then ...  All scramble aboard a vintage 1927 fire engine, preferred for this scene by the movie director to a more recent model belonging to the Fire Dept.

... and Now,  the same view today.

... and Now,  here's a wider view of the side-by-side Larkspur Fire Station and City Hall with the fire horn tower at the rear.


Then ...  We see Bon Air Hill in the distance as the fire engine roars north, hangers-on hanging on, along Magnolia approaching Cane Street, on the right.  There's a garage on the nearest Cane corner at 444 Magnolia.

... and Now,  today a large retirement home has been built on Bon Air Hill and the garage is now a hair salon, on the right.  Across Cane is the Silver Peso bar where Bob's Tavern used to be in 1949.  The tavern's small but distinctive side windows can be seen in both Then and Now images.

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