History

Over Ninety Thousand Historic SF Property Photos Now Accessible to the Public

OVER 90,000 HISTORIC PROPERTY PHOTOS NOW ACCESSIBLE TO THE PUBLIC THROUGH SAN FRANCISCO PUBLIC LIBRARY

 In 2018 the San Francisco Assessor’s Office launched an initiative to preserve and make publicly available over 94,000 historic property photos. The photos span from the late 1940’s through the early 2000’s, covering commercial and residential properties across the City. 

library pixPreviously only kept in work files of the Assessor’s Office, the initiative was made possible through the Assessor’s recent efforts to modernize and digitize the hundreds of thousands of real estate vital documents in the Office. 

“San Francisco’s history is rich and worth preserving. Our view into how our City once looked and felt is an important reminder of where we came from. I’m proud to be the catalyst for making these historic photos available for generations to come. Our history shouldn’t be boxed away and forgotten,” said Assessor Carmen Chu. 

The photos will now be available in the San Francisco Historical Photograph Collection at the Main Library, which is one of the largest in the Bay Area.

“The photos are an invaluable resource for people trying to find pictures of their own house or neighborhood,” City Librarian Michael Lambert said. “They also contain abundant documentation of back alleys, street and building signs, automobiles and other details of daily life – essentially Google Street View for the past 60 years.” 

In collaboration, the library has created a searchable database and map for members of the public to be able to locate images of specific properties. Visit sfpl.org/sfphotos/asr.

Photographs can be requested using a Photograph Request Form online. When available, photographs and negatives may be viewed at the Main Library during the Photo Desk open hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 1-5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. 

Categories: History

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