In the 1960s in San Francisco, Santa arrived via cable car. So did I. For four years, from 1966 to 1969, I was one of Santa’s Ice Queens.
In the 1960s, when Santa arrived on top the Powell Street cable car, the crowd would gather on Market Street. The police would hold back the well-wishers so that Santa, and all of us ice skaters, could walk across the street, enter the store and take the escalator upstairs to the auditorium to be ready to greet all of the boys and girls.
The Emporium has been closed since February 1996. When Bloomingdale’s remodeled the old Emporium building, they had to keep the original dome. Here is a short clip of the dome that you can still see inside of the Westfield Mall on Market Street.
Here is a clip of Union Square in 2011. The dome in this video clip is from the old City of Paris building that is now Neiman Marcus. They had to keep our old dome too.
San Francisco had memorable department stores. Many had been open since before 1900. City of Paris closed in 1972, Joseph Maginin’s closed in 1984, and I. Magnin’s closed in 1995. Holiday season in the 1960s stores was elegant and beautiful.
If you need a little nudge to get in the mood for your holiday shopping, here is a 1960s-style crooner, Vic Damone, singing, “Christmas in San Francisco.”