Monday, April 30, 2012

San Francisco Before and After : 1853 to 2010

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after

After my previous article where I was showing the growth of cities worldwide by superimposing old and new satellite pictures, I though about doing a similar thing with even older maps of cities from the 19th century. And what better city to start with than my own hometown of San Francisco, California? The view above shows a map of SF from 1869 and a satellite picture from 2010.   

Click and drag the green cursor to see the difference between the two maps. 

As you can see, the city at that time was limited to the small area that is now the Financial District and the small settlement around Mission Dolores. The population of San Francisco grew from 1,000 in 1848 to 56,000 in 1860 and 900,000 today. Pretty much everything west of Twin Peaks, including the Golden Gate Park, the Richmond and the Sunset districts was mostly sand dunes. In the area around Lone Mountain (USF) where four large cemeteries. They where removed in the 1920's and the city was expanded on top of them...

The next image shows a zoom on North Beach in 1853 and 2010:

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after

There actually was a beach at Chestnut and Taylor! Now it's completely filled in and it became Fisherman's Wharf. Columbus street didn't exist. Russian Hill, Nob Hill and Telegraph Hill were totally unpopulated.

The next one is a view of downtown SF in 1853:


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after

The center of town was where the Transamerica Pyramid is today. Market Street was pretty much empty and ended at 4th Street. The northern part of SOMA and the Embarcadero was underwater... Union Square was an unnamed 'public square' with no houses around it.

The Mission District in 1859 (below) was a mixture of farmland and marshes, with a lake at Folsom and 18th Street. Mission Dolores is the big building in the center-left. There was also two racetracks. Mission street, linking the Mission with San Francisco, was a plank road. Noe Valley was uninhabited.

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after

The streets in the Mission weren't always numbered, they used to have names. In the 1860's, 16th Street was Center Street, 24th Street was Park Street, 25th  was Temple, 26th was Navy St and so on. There used to be a creek running from Mission Lake to the Bay, called Mission Creek. It was filled in and they built a railroad over it. Then they removed the railroad and it became Treat and Division Streets. That railroad used to cut diagonally across the whole mission, running right under my house on Guerrero St... You can still see its trace on Satellite pictures by the diagonal parks, buildings and streets that where built in its place:


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after

These maps come from the David Rumsey Map Collection [http://www.davidrumsey.com], a great website that features an amazing collection of beautiful historical maps from all over the world.

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