Year of the Bay, California Historical Society
There are many reasons to like the California Historical Society on Mission between Third & Annie. They have an awesome building that is painted International Orange.
Also, part of it once housed a saloon in 1887:
As for now, it’s full of historical records. It’s currently focused on the Year of the Bay, a project that aims to collect photos, videos, and stories from everyone to tell a better story of the history of the Bay Area.
The exhibit is perfect for your lunch hour or a weekend stop.
Lots of maps, naturally:
Some detail from the 1927 Coast Survey map (no bridges):
The absolutely insane Reber Plan to dam the Golden Gate:
Lots of historical photos of, including Hunters Point and Islais Creek in the mid to late 1800s:
I was most surprised by the sketches and paintings. The crosshatching in this aerial view of SF is amazing:
Incredible detail in this drawing of the Lombard, North Point and Greenwich docks:
Not entirely sure what this guy is doing. Probably a grow-op.
You can see the Greenwich and Lombard docks at the foot of Telegraph Hill in the 1859 Coast Survey map:
Then come things that take you to another time and place. This painting of Hunters Point in 1859 is a little surreal, showing a very different world: