Reel SF

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

San Francisco movie locations from classic films

Fog Over Frisco - Butchertown Bridge

Then ... Val continues on her desperate dash to the Butchertown Bridge.  The company sign in the background gives us a clue as to this location, supposedly in San Francisco but, as it turns out, filmed in Los Angeles ...

    Here's an old ad for the California Corrugated Culvert Co.  Of its two addresses, the shot above is the Los Angeles location east of Chinatown, looking towards Leroy Street from the railway tracks alongside the Los Angeles River (map).

... and Now,  in 1942 the  William Mead Homes public housing project was built on the 15 acres alongside Leroy Street , still there today.

 

    The cops are next seen pursuing Val at a location yet to be found ... possibly the industrial area south of Market in San Francisco (that could be the Marin Headlands way in the distance).

 

Then ...  Val arrives at the bridge where a man is waiting for her.  A train track on the right parallels the roadway over the bridge.

... and Now,  believe it or not, this is the same view today.  But where is it and why does it look so different?  Read on ...

    Here's the bridge in a 1930 photograph.  Built in 1924 as the Badger Avenue Bridge, it linked San Pedro across the Cerritos Channel with Terminal Island (map).  When a Ford assembly plant was built in 1930 on the island (seen below in the background), the bridge became known as the Henry Ford Bridge.  The bridge design is known as a Bascule bridge - this one is unusual in that it is a combination of two back-to-back Bascules.  The movie image above was shot on the south (Terminal Island) side, from the far left.

Then ...  When Tony's cab reaches the bridge as a train reverses by we get a closer look at the bridge's triple counterweights.

... and Now,  an aerial view of the bridge today (with Terminal Island on the right) shows many changes.  The original road/rail bridge has been replaced by two bridges:  the Commodore Schuyler Heim road bridge since 1948 and a vertical lift railway bridge that replaced the Bascule bridge in 1996 (the nearest one).  (The Now image above was taken from the spot arrowed at right).

 

    So the bridge scene was filmed in Southern California even though San Francisco has a Bascule bridge of its own, the Lefty O'Doul Bridge crossing Mission Creek (McCovey Cove) at 3rd Street in China Basin (map).  It's next to the SF Giants' ballpark and just blocks north of the old Butchertown neighborhood.  Unlike the Henry Ford Bridge this one is a single bridge and has only two counterweights, but it's still in use today.  Built in 1933 it was there when the movie was filmed so why the moviemakers didn't film here is anyone's guess.

 

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