Friday, September 04, 2020

Views of the San Francisco Earthquake

The OpenSFHistory Map allows you to explore over 100,000 vintage photos of San Francisco. The historical photographs of the city feature on the map were donated to the Western Neighborhoods Project (WNP) by a private collector and provide a fascinating glimpse into San Francisco's past.

The Galleries section of OpenSFHistory includes an interactive map of photographs taken soon after the 1906 Earthquake and Fire. The 1906 earthquake and resulting fire destroyed over 80% of the city. It also killed more than 3,000 people. The photographs on the 1906 Earthquake and Fire interactive map allow you to explore this destruction block-by-block.

The map uses the Google Maps API. Which means the user has access to Google's Street View imagery. This means you can drop pegman on a photo's location to compare the historical view with how it looks today. In fact it is a bit of a shame that the map doesn't automatically display the corresponding Street View next to each vintage photo.

If you like viewing vintage photographs of San Francisco then you might also enjoy OldSF. OldSF is an interactive map of historical photos of San Francisco from the San Francisco Public Library collection.  The map itself no longer works properly (presumably Google's exorbitant API fees became too expensive) but you can still use it to explore all the vintage photographs.

The OldSF map includes a slide control which enables you to filter the vintage photos shown on the map by the date that they were published.

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