Through a Submarine Periscope Is the Best Way to View San Francisco

Illustration for article titled Through a Submarine Periscope Is the Best Way to View San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but there's one unique perspective you probably haven't seen its vistas from—the periscope of a 1950's World War II-era submarine.

In 1951, the U.S.S. Catfish (best sub name ever), a Balao class diesel-electric submarine, took a detour through San Francisco Bay on its way north from San Diego. Apparently the crew had enough time to see the sites and fire off some photos of Coit Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, and good ol' Alcatraz, which was still in operation as a federal prison.

SFGate discovered the images, belonging to the US Navy, and posted a full gallery on their blog, The Big Event.

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Illustration for article titled Through a Submarine Periscope Is the Best Way to View San Francisco
Illustration for article titled Through a Submarine Periscope Is the Best Way to View San Francisco

Sadly, the U.S.S. Catfish met an unceremonious end. The vessel was sold to Argentina in 1971, after which the British captured it in the Falklands War and sunk it because it was too costly to repair. Bummer. [SFGate]

Photos courtesy U.S. Navy

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brentrose
Brent Rose

These are awesome. My dad was stationed on a submarine in the late '60s and when they surfaced people would get turns looking through the periscope. One day it was his turn, and as he was slowly panning across the landscape his CO said, "Watch out for the sun," about half a second too late. Having been on a dark sub for a couple weeks, he was totally blinded by it and had to go lie down for a couple hours.