Fly with me over San Francisco in 1938
LOOK AT THIS NOW — La Lengua in 1938.
You might as well open a bottle of wine because you’re going to spend the rest of the night looking at these images of 1938 SAN FRANCISCO AS SEEN FROM THE SKY.
Yes, you can see the old Southern Pacific Railway trestle bridge across Dolores and 27th.
And hey, you can see my yard — isn’t it lovely? (Sci fi time travel story: would be pretty fucking weird if you could see me sitting there.)
All hail David Rumsey, scanner of fine maps. Our friends at the SFPL had a set of aerial photos of 1938 San Francisco stashed away, and Mr. Rumsey aimed his finely tuned scanning equipment at them to drag them forward 73 years. I was lucky enough to be shown these photos in person, and they are simply remarkable.
As usual with Señor Rumsey’s work, the resolution is phenomenal — it is as good as Google Maps today. And whoever hung outside an airplane with a giant camera, crisscrossing the sky of San Francisco in August of 1938, I am drinking a beer(s) in your honor right now.
I mean, look at this: here’s the old streetcar barn that used to sit at Tiffany / Valencia / Duncan.
(I love the “San Francisco –>” sign on the roof. And yes, I need to finish the article I’ve been writing on it for the past 5 years.)
Oh, it’s Dolores Park.
(Actually not very different except for bigger palm trees.)
And hey, Seals Stadium — with a game going on!
(Sadly couldn’t have been the Mission Reds as they had moved to Hollywood the year before.)
Anyway, I’ll be diving into these of the next few rest of my lives. Let me know if you find anything interesting. There’s also an index for your viewing pleasure – once you figure out your map number it’s easiest to search for “aerial 1938 [your map number]” in the Rumsey search box.
And yes, a Google Maps layer is in the works.