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Antecedents to San Francisco’s Dolores Park

In early August 1859, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approves the establishment of a Jewish Cemetery in the Mission District–the location is not yet determined. Congregations Emanu-El and Sherith Israel relocate their small Spring Valley Jewish cemetery to the recently surveyed and platted Mission lands. The old Spring Valley cemetery, located at the corner of today’s Gough and Vallejo streets, was…

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NBC Bay Area: Defunct San Francisco Reservoir to be Turned Into Park

Defunct San Francisco Reservoir to be Turned Into Park | NBC Bay Area. San Francisco’s newest neighborhood park will be atop of Russian Hill, located at the old San Francisco City Works Reservoir at Larkin and Francisco streets. The old San Francisco City Works operated a flume that delivered city water from Mountain Lake in the Presidio to two reservoirs…

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History of San Francisco’s Parks, Plazas, & Public Squares

The History of San Francisco’s Park & Plazas will be a series of articles exploring the history of San Francisco’s parks, plazas, and public squares. Why San Francisco? As a Bay Area resident from 2000-2008 I became very interested in the city of San Francisco as a historical subject. One of my research interests includes how changes in the built environment…

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

Index of Old San Francisco Street Names

You can now find an online index of San Francisco’s historical street names. The index contains a list of street names that have been altered over the years, as well as street names that have simply been lost due to changes in the city’s built environment. The reference tool is available to anyone online (scholars, amateur historians, etc.) and includes…

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The Fred Rochlin Collection

Fred Rochlin was a long-time architect in southern California who formed an architecture firm in 1952 with colleague Ephraim Baran. The Los Angeles-based Rochlin & Baran architecture firm specializes in (it’s still an operating firm) the design of hospitals, medical facilities, and, oddly enough, observatories. The Rochlin collection contains materials related to the architect’s post-retirement career as a monologist, performer, and…

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Historical Bibliography of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake & Fire

The following is a historical bibliography of works related to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fires. The bibliography was originally prepared by the San Francisco Public Library and published in the city’s San Francisco Municipal Reports, 1905-1907, pp. 743-754. The historical bibliography is transcribed here and is intended for research purposes. Citation styles have been left in their original format as…

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Contemporaneous description of San Francisco’s Barbary Coast

This short article appeared in the Daily Alta California newspaper on May 19, 1852 and provides a contemporaneous description of the city’s infamous Barbary Coast quarter, then called Sydney Town. The article describes a scene on Pacific Street, probably located somewhere between Stockton and Montgomery or Sansome Streets. “BAD CHARACTERS. Pacific street has justly obtained an unenviable notoriety, from the fact…

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