Photography 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History  

Jude Newsome
506 votes 181 voters 5.5k 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.
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Down Market from Eighth St., 1906
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Photo: Pinterest
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Chinatown, 1930
Chinatown, 1930 is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo:  Pinterest
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Ice Skating, 1940
Ice Skating, 1940 is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo:  Pinterest
San Francisco is notoriously chilly all year, but winter wonderlands like this one have always been created artificially.
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Sutro Baths, 1900
Sutro Baths, 1900 is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 18 Astonishing Photos of San Francisco History
Photo:  Pinterest
When they opened in the late 19th century, the Sutro Baths were the largest indoor swimming pool facilities in the world. The ruins of the complex, which burned down in 1966, are now a popular tourist destination.
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