• Art Deco

    Art Deco Secrets of the 20's & 30's

    This architecture tour of downtown celebrates the 20's & 30's Art Deco & Art Nouveaou styles that beautify our surroundings, yet we've grown so accustomed as to take them for granted; we will pay homage.
  • The Mission

    The Mission District

    San Francisco's 1st neighborhood, The Mission District is still the heart & soul of this vibrant city. This area is so rich in culture, that we have 3 Mission food tours & 2 neighborhood walks.
  • North Beach

    North Beach

    North Beach is that rare thing -- a neighborhood that manages to be a perennial hit with tourists, and also to remain beloved by San Franciscans. It's San Francisco's Little Italy and the home of the beatniks.
  • Scenic Running

    Scenic Running

    Just a short run from the urban landscape of San Francisco's busy city streets you will find numerous trails and parks offering phenomenal views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the City Skyline and other gems.
  • Chinatown

    Chinatown

    Established in the 1840s, San Francisco's Chinatown is the oldest Chinatown in North America and the largest Chinese community outside Asia. Our food and walking tours are 2nd to none.
  • Parrots!

    Parrots!

    Wild Parrots in San Francisco? Yes there are officially at least two flocks of wild Parrots here. These Parrots have evolved into a brand new species of parrot indigenous to San Francisco.

Explore San Francisco Blog

San Francisco — the Good Stuff!!!

DISCOVER SAN FRANCISCO From Sparkletack

 

San Francisco History, Photo Archives, Map Archives, Walking Tours, Museums, Online Resources, Running Tours and Historical Organizations

History Resources
  • April 18, 1906“Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
  • Bay Time Reporter
    A series of smart, funny and insightful columns on a staggering array of Bay Area historical (and contemporary) subjects, written by the inimitable Paul Potocky. Highly recommended… the man can write.
  • California Business History
    Don’t be put off by the awkward design; this site is actually packed with timelines, photographs and histories of California (and San Francisco) businesses.
  • California Historical Society
    The grand-daddy of California history in its physical incarnation, the Society’s website features an online guide to over 300 years of California history. This resource includes over 400 images from their fine arts, library, and photography collections.
  • Library of Congress
    The “American Memory Project” — just type “San Francisco” into the search bar and jump back at the flood of photos and historical artifacts… this is the Library of Congress, after all!
  • Market Street Railway
    All things “streetcar”, packed with historical articles and photos — the home of the brand new “San Francisco Railway Museum”
  • Mister SF
    Long time chronicler of the city’s faces and places. This website features countless short takes on aspects of life in our favourite city — local joints, the vanishing of favourite haunts, literary/cinematic history and more.
  • Online Archive of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — over 1,000 texts available. These include transcripts of oral histories, personal narratives, letters, press releases, newspaper articles, and other types of documents.
  • Russian Hill Neighbors
    Small site — couple of nice walking tours and a guide to neighborhood architectural styles, run by a non-profit neighborhood association.
  • San Francisco Genealogy
    An incredibly rich and comprehensive collection of historical sources — always my first stop on quests for information. Many primary sources, maps, and a forum where host Ron Filion helps answer your San Francisco history questions.
  • San Francisco Memories
    A loving tribute to our fair city from a passionate collector of San Francisco ephemera — photo intensive and quite lovely.
  • San Francisco Virtual Museum
    A long running and deep archive dedicated to historical accuracy, curated by the energetic Gladys Hanson. A terrific source for primary texts & photos, currently featuring major exhibits on the Gold Rush, Golden Gate Bridge, and ’06 Quake.
  • The Western Neighborhoods Project
    “Preserving the history of San Francisco’s West side” — An excellent site featuring photos, memories, and passionately in-depth essays documenting the lesser-known half of San Francisco.

Historical Photo & Map Archives

  • America Hurrah!
    A little treasure trove of California historiana with a San Francisco slant — click on a link and a map, reminiscence, or who knows what may result. Good fun…
  • April 18, 1906
    “Exploring San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake and fire through the photographic archive” — A new and interesting project, which pulls out individual period photos and digs in deep.
  • Calisphere – University of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — More than 150,000 digitized items, including photographs, documents, political cartoons, works of art, diaries, advertising, and more…
  • Charles Cushman Photograph Collection
    Charles Cushman, amateur photographer, bequeathed 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to Indiana University. Hundreds are of San Francisco in the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s.
  • Old SF
    Interactive map of the SF Public Library’s Historical Photograph Collection, which contains 40,000 digitized images from San Francisco’s past.
  • Online Archive of California
    A part of the “Digital Library of California” — access to tens of thousands of photographs, paintings, graphical materials and other images, which can be organized by topic.
  • Rails Around the Bay
    Frank Caron is an Amtrak engineer and passionate rail buff. His website focuses on railroads operating in and around the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including the history of operations in the area, maps, drawings and historical diagrams.
  • Rumsey Historic Map Collection
    This stunning collection of cartographic ephemera from the 18th and 19th centuries includes atlases, globes, school geographies, books, maritime charts, and more. Insanely cool.
  • SF Images
    Images of the past and present day, people and places, structures and landscapes. Large collection of historical photographs, from pre-Gold Rush times to today, all digitally mastered at high resolution.

San Francisco Walking  and Running Tours

  • Barbary Coast Trail
    The famous self-guided walking tour — follow the bronze medallions in the sidewalk!
  • Oakland Walking Tours
    Free walking tours of historic downtown Oakland — explore the Railroad Era, Chinatown, Art Deco Uptown, the Jack London Waterfront, Preservation Park and so much more. Sponsored by the City of Oakland.
  • San Francisco Tour Guide Guild
    “A professional, non-profit corporation of experienced tour guides and members of the travel industry.” They maintain the prefessionalism of the industry through tour guide certification, but also offer their own tours.
  • Walking in San Francisco for Health and History
    “Meet other locals interested in walking for fitness and in learning about the history of San Francisco. Most Saturdays we go on long walks that have great variety in distance, stair climbing, and amount of history information. Walks are free.”
  • Explore SF
    Explore SF offers unique tours that from a local perspective that for the most part avoid anything touristy. Each tour offers something above and beyond a normal tour, be it  lunch and a spa visit in Japantown,  Wine Country in the City,  1970′s Folsom District Tour, Sin Francisco to the SF Armory or a WIld Parrot Safari, “These tours are not to be missed.”

  • SF Scenic Running ToursThe newest trend in staying in shape and meeting new people. Running
    tours led by professional trainers and experienced guides, all of whom are
    locals, and they take you on the most beautiful runs through the most
    breathtaking city in the world. We challenge you to find a more positive way to see San Francisco. If you can find one, we’ll pay your way…

San Francisco Museums and Archives

  • Bancroft Library
    California’s memory bank on the UC Berkeley campus, one of the largest special collections in the U.S. Includes the Mark Twain Papers, Regional Oral History Office, UC Archives, History of Science & Technology Program, & Pictorial Collection.
  • San Francisco Performing Arts Library & Museum
    Documenting and preserving the Bay Area’s rich performing arts heritage from the Gold Rush to today – and making it available to us! Programs, events, exhibitions, and the fabulous library. Based on dancer Russell Hartley’s private collection, ca 1947.
  • Treasure Island Museum
    Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
  • Wells Fargo History MuseumThis colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!

Contemporary Online San Francisco

  • FunCheap SF
    “Finding fun and cheap stuff to do San Francisco and around the Bay Area.” Yahoo group dedicated to having fun in the Bay Area on the cheap. Good stuff!
  • San Francisco Virtual Tour
    “An interactive photo documentary Walking Virtual Tour” — and that’s just what we have here, a staggering amount of work. Kudos!
  • SF Journey (German language)
    A German-language travel guide to San Francisco and the West Coast: “Ihrem Reiseführer nach San Francisco an der Westküste der USA”
  • Wells Fargo History Museum
    This colorful museum features a beautiful stagecoach, piles of real gold, and many other exhibits focusing on San Francisco’s Gold Rush history. Even cooler, it’s located on the very spot in which Wells Fargo opened for business in 1852!

San Francisco History Organizations

  • San Francisco History Association
    A group “Dedicated to Remembering San Francisco’s Past” — they sponsor regular talks, slide shows, and guest speakers on a fantastically diverse array of subjects.
  • San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Historical Society
    Often referred to as San Francisco’s “queer Smithsonian,” the GLBT Historical Society houses one of the world’s largest collections of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical materials. The society’s GLBT History Museum is the first full-scale, stand-alone museum of its kind in the United States.
  • San Francisco History Museum and Historical Society
    The San Francisco Museum and Historical Society is dedicated to preserving, interpreting and presenting the historical heritage of San Francisco.

  • Treasure Island Museum
    Once upon a time there was a museum on Treasure Island. Someday it may return, but ’til then, enjoy the museum’s website, featuring a “Memory Book” message board, info about the collections in storage, and “Treasures”, an illustrated history of the Fair.
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