in california history

An Amazing Album of Historic San Francisco Photographs

I just stumbled across an amazing album of historic San Francisco Photographs on Calisphere. I’ve been digging through online collections of old SF photos, and most are muddy, brittle, damaged. These are in amazing shape and startling clear.

Some favorites:
Market, Post, and Montgomery (this is where the Montgomery BART station is now):

Market, Kearney [sic], and Third Streets:

Mission Dolores 1865:

California West from Kearney Street:

The City from an Oakland Ferry Boat:

Ferry Building 1905:

Street Scene in Chinatown (before all the obnoxious chinoiserie)

  1. Isn’t it time to get a little bored with any old photo of San Francisco? I see nothing of note or interest in this batch. In fact, I see nothing more than a tedious insult to the iconic visual tradition of this historic city.

  2. Wow. Feeling pissy, much? At best, your comment adds exactly zero value to this discussion.

    I’ve spoken with numerous others who also found these depictions interesting. Yes, much of this is mundane, but for those of us who flow through San Francisco daily, that mundaneity is exactly what’s compelling. These historic photos speak of a life in the city that in some ways is still there, and in others has moved on. Such similarities and differences, though perhaps not iconic, speak volumes.

  3. Okay, I just moved back to SF after living in Washington state for 18 years. San Francisco is in my blood. I crave old photographs because that is where my memories, heart and soul live. SF is the most beautiful city in the world. Especially in black and white. I am looking for Fleisshacker Pool and Playland. To see them again would bring a tear to my eye. Thank you so much for providing me a much needed walk down memory lane!!


  4. I have been hunting for two days for a website like this. I had it a couple of years ago and lost it. These are wonderful photos.

  5. This is a great set of pictures. Thanks for pointing them out.

  6. great pictures. google’d historic sf and this was the first thing to catch my eye on the first page. good work. thanks

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