The Dark Days: The Embarcadero in the 1980s
If you never saw the freeway before it was torn down in 1994, it's hard to imagine how grim San Francisco's Embarcadero used to be. But this picture (taken near Broadway) gives a sense of the unpleasantness: a hulking Great Wall that cut off downtown from the waterfront.
(Compare that to, say, this view from around the same area today.)
What were they thinking? Well, it could have been even worse. The San Francisco Public Library reports that the following text appears on the back of the image shown here:
Written on back: The still unfinished stub of the Embarcadero Freeway celebrates the "San Francisco freeway revolt" of the 1960s. Scott Newhall, editor of the Chronicle, was chiefly responsible for stopping this one, while opposition to the proposed Golden Gate Freeway and Panhandle Freeways was organized by Jean Kortum and Sue Bierman, respectively. Harold Gilliam, conservative writer, observed that "Golden Gate Park and the northern waterfront were saved from the bulldozers by mass action -- non-violent, but otherwise in he best tradition of Lexington and Concord. From here a chain reaction of freeway insurrections spread across the country."