Weird History

18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History 

Jude Newsome
Updated October 3, 2019 827 votes 228 voters 6.9k views 18 items

Explore San Francisco's history with a collection of old pictures showing the City by the Bay in black and white. Before the bridges united the Bay Area, San Francisco was a Gold Rush boomtown, and these historic photos show its transformation into a 20th century city.

All cities are constantly changing, but San Francisco has changed more dramatically than most, largely because of the 1906 earthquake and fires that still stand as the biggest natural disaster in California history. These vintage photographs from the late 1800s through the 1900s illustrate just how devastating the quake was and how drastically it changed the city's development.

These fascinating photos also show just how much San Francisco has also stayed the same even as the modern city took shape, with its cable cars, rolling hills, and old fashioned architecture staying strong alongside engineering achievements like the Golden Gate Bridge.
1
Chinatown Alley, 1906
Chinatown Alley, 1906 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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2
Market Street, 1906
Market Street, 1906 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo: Miles Brothers, San Francisco/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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3
Golden Gate Bridge Construction, 1930s
Golden Gate Bridge Const... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo:  US National Parks/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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4
Earthquake Refugee Camp Near Haight Street And Central Avenue, 1906
Earthquake Refugee Camp ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo: National Archives at College Park/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A refugee camp is shown here in the vicinity of Haight treet and Central Avenue after the wreckage of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. 

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