Author: chris

Annals of SF_Yerba Buena Cemetery

San Francisco’s Lost Cemeteries & Pioneer Burial Grounds

North Beach Burial Ground c.1846-c.1855 Also known as the Powell Street Cemetery, the North Beach Burial Ground was one of the city’s first unofficial burial grounds. Around the mid-1840s people began using the block bounded by Chestnut, Stockton, Lombard, and Powell streets as a burial ground for the early pioneers and Argonauts of San Francisco. According to the Annals of San Francisco…

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San Francisco Board of Supervisors' "Official Map of Chinatown in San Francisco" showing today's Grant  Ave. and Beckett St.

San Francisco Historical Street Names Index [Updated]

I have recently migrated the San Francisco Historical Street Names Index away from Google Fusion Tables since the index, at the moment, lacks a spatial component. The data, however, is still available online as an interactive index through a simple Google Spreadsheet view. The spreadsheet allows users to filter, sort, and view the historical data in a much simpler and…

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California Map Society Fall Meeting

The California Map Society’s Fall Meeting took place in the Cal State Fullerton Pollack Library, bringing together researchers, librarians, and cartographers to discuss interesting map and cartographic projects: Matt Zebrowski, cartographer with the UCLA Geography Department, discussed the department’s large Fairchild and Spence air photo collections; Charlie Frye, Chief Cartographer at ESRI, discussed his project using GIS to conduct genealogical research on…

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Historical Fruit and Vineyard Operations at Mission San Gabriel

Fruits from Los Angeles are beginning to arrive in our city; and we were yesterday surprised by a present of some fine apricots that had sought the seclusion of our sanctum from the far-away sunny orchards of the South (“Horticultural,” Daily Alta California, July 27, 1851, p. 2, col. 2).”   That’s what San Francisco citizens would have read in…

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Early Los Angeles Fruit Orchards

It’s hard to imagine the agricultural landscape of the state of California before the mass cultivation of the orange or the wine grape, but I ran across an interesting 1855 article from the Daily Alta California that gives readers a glimpse of how these two crops were perceived in the mid-19th century before their mass cultivation. To be sure, southern California, as the…

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1857 Coast Survey_Presidio detail

The Gazetteer of Lost San Francisco: Cannon Hill

A guide to the lost place names and geographies of San Francisco. Today’s entry of lost place names and geographies is Cannon Hill, a hill of about 370 feet that is located at the southeast corner of today’s Presidio. Cannon Hill is the location of the original survey point that outlined the United States claim to the military reservation known as the…

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1852 Coast Survey_Mission Church detail2

Historical Ecology of San Francisco’s Mission District

The 1852 U.S. Coast Survey is one of the first maps that details many of the topographic, physical, and cultural features of San Francisco’s “Mission de Dolores.” We can see details of the rich historical ecology that supported Yelamu Native Americans in the pre-colonial era (part of the larger Ohlone group of peoples), as well as the Spanish, Mexican, and American settlements that came…

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