South San Francisco, CA September 2, 2016 from Sign of the Times site
Sign of the Times
Please join the Historical Society, the South San Francisco Public Library and the South San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department for a screening of “Sign of the Times,” an award-winning documentary centering around our own Sign Hill. The hour-long film chronicles the transformation of South San Francisco from company town to industrial giant through post World War II developments. The “Sign of the Times” title stems from the emblematic sign that rises over the city: “South San Francisco: The Industrial City.” To the blue collar workers who labored in the city’s meat packing plants and steel mills, the message represented their hard work and accomplishments. However, as the city grew, some newer residents viewed the sign as outdated and misleading. The tension boiled over in the late 1980s when an ordinance was proposed to remove “The Industrial City” from the sign.
“Sign of the Times features candid interviews from residents, workers, developers and historians and is interlaced with archival photos and footage that captures the city’s rich history. Filmmakers Martha Cain and Steve Cohen will be in attendance.
“Sign of the Times” was produced through the South San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department by Martha Cain and Steven Cohen, with support from South San Francisco high school students and business sponsors.
A fourth generation Californian, Martha Cain credits her maternal grandmother (a great storyteller) for her love of local history. Martha received her B.A. and M.F.A. in Fine Art from U.C. Davis, and spent the last 25 years teaching middle school art, history and English in the Berkeley Unified School District. Before becoming a teacher, she joined forces with Steven Cohen to produce “Sign of the Times.”
Like many who grew up in San Francisco, South San Francisco was not on Steven Cohen’s radar unless he was driving down Highway 101 and happened to look up at the odd sign on the hill. After graduating from San Francisco State in 1986 with an M.A. in Broadcast Communication Arts, he learned more about South City than he’d ever imagined when Martha Cain invited him to work on a video history project, which became “Sign of the Times.” Since then, Steve has held editor and communications positions at University of California (UCOP and UC Berkeley), and currently works as a communications consultant in Berkeley.
“Sign of the Times” Screening
September 19, 2016, 7:00 pm
Municipal Services Building, 33 Arroyo Drive, South San Francisco
Join us for a screening of “Sign of the Times”, a historical documentary about South San Francisco. In the 1980’s, Sign Hill was the subject to controversy. An effort to remove the word “industrial” eventually led to Sign Hill’s designation as a national landmark.