About Kerri

Kerri, an enthusiastic public historian and native San Franciscan, is Historypin's Project Officer for Year of the Bay.

Launching Our San Francisco World’s Fair Project on Liberty Bell Day

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

Rose Marie Cleese displays a handful of old photos and with the help of Kerri Young of Historypin scans the historic pictures at a workstation on the main floor of the California Historical Society Friday, July 17, 2015. Photo by Mike Koozmin, S.F. Examiner.

On July 17th, our US team collaborated in a public launch of Historypin’s new 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair mapping project with the California Historical Society (CHS), on the 100th anniversary of the iconic Liberty Bell arriving at the fair. The Liberty Bell, an American icon and symbol of independence, traveled over 3,000 miles by rail from its home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania after hundreds of thousands of school children signed a petition to get the bell to San Francisco’s Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). In CHS’s gallery festively-decorated with paper bells, Community Officer Kerri Young helped Rose Marie Cleese, the granddaughter of San Francisco’s former Mayor Angelo Rossi (1931-44), scan never-before-seen family photographs into our new digital project.

At the time of the fair, Rossi was a florist who helped design and build the ornate float that carried the Liberty Bell from San Francisco’s Townsend Street rail station to the fairgrounds in what is now the city’s Marina district. Rose Marie contributed photographs of the float on its procession, as well as of her grandparents and mother posing with the Bell in its temporary home in the fair’s Pennsylvania Building. Remarkably, Historypin contributor Lynn Sons was able to identify her own grandfather, who was a member of the Liberty Bell Honor Guard at the fair, in one of the photos that Rose Marie contributed, and we were able to connect the two of them in this piece of shared history.

The Liberty Bell sub-project is a great example of the collaborative archiving we hope to encourage around the PPIE, with institutions such as the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and The San Francisco Public Library contributing along with individuals like Rose Marie and Lynn Sons. We hope that many others will be inspired to contribute their family photographs and help enrich the 2000+ existing pins in the project as we continue to celebrate this special centenary year.

Here are a few photographs of our fun day scanning and pinning:

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie's photographs.

Scanning station set-up in the California Historical Society with Rose Marie’s photographs.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A sample of some of the family photographs brought in by Rose Marie for scanning.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie's photographs in Historypin's Mapping San Francisco's 1915 World's Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

A screenshot one of Rose Marie’s photographs in Historypin’s Mapping San Francisco’s 1915 World’s Fair. Angelo Joseph Rossi family clustered around the Liberty Bell. From left to right: Grace Rossi, son Clarence Rossi, daughter Eleanor Rossi, daughter Rosamond Rossi, Angelo J. Rossi.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Local news channel ABC 7 interviewing Rose Marie about her photos as eminent SF Chronicle writer Carl Nolte jots down some notes.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather's floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project.

Showing Rose Marie photos of her grandfather’s floral company Pelicano, Rossi & Co. displaying at the fair in photos contributed by UC Davis Libraries. Rose Marie had never seen these previously and was very excited to see that they had been contributed to the project!

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco's Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.

The Liberty Bell being paraded up San Francisco’s Van Ness Ave in July 1915 on the float designed by Rossi. In the foreground is James J. Quirk, identified by his granddaughter Lynn Sons.

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Three generations of the Rossi family: Rose Marie poses with her nephew Ron Forsell and grandchildren Grace and Matt, while holding a photo of her own mother and grandfather at the PPIE.

See some great local media coverage of this event here and here, and add your own photos or comments about the fair by visiting the project page here.

A New Case-Study Document: Historypin in the Community

Cover page of our new pdf, "Historypin in the Community," which you can read online.

Cover page of our new pdf, “Historypin in the Community,” which you can read online.

In the last couple of years, we’ve seen Historypin used to connect generations in Japan, to draw in rich life stories in Australia and even to inspire a mural in East London. These sorts of projects are at the core of our mission to build better local social connections through a shared sense of place and history.

We worked together with our wonderful partners in the UK to create a document highlighting some of these projects over the past two years, with each case study giving you a brief glimpse of the people behind these projects and what they’ve achieved. As we continue to develop our community tools and articulate our mission, this document provides examples of how our experiences on projects helps to both compliment and improve this work.

An example of a case study within "Historypin in the Community."

An example of a case study within “Historypin in the Community.”

We are certainly proud of all the different ways communities all over the world are using Historypin tools. If you have ideas for a project using Historypin in your local area, please contact our Executive Director Breandán at breandan.knowlton@historypin.org.

Read the full Historypin in the Community document here.

Historypin News Round-up, Social Media Edition

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter.

A pilot group at Florida State University on June 18th exploring Historypin as at tool to map out historic FSU photos. The university’s library (and Digital Scholarship group) is embarking on a pilot project, using our site, to help more-widely circulate its digital collections. Photo by Micah Vandegrift via Twitter (click for original).

Here is a late-June roundup of some of the great ways people have been using Historypin recently and sharing it with us over social media:

New York City preservationists have just won additional funding to help map places in the city important to the LGBTQ community on Historypin.

The New York LGBTQ Historic Sites Project, led by Jay Shockley, has received funding from the New York Community Trust and the Arcus Foundation to map out sites with potential national landmark status. Allison Miller (@Cliopticon), shared in her American Historical Association blog post how the project work over Historypin will take this a step further “by collaborating with academic historians and archivists (who will provide layers of “context” for each site) and, in a subsequent phase, LGBTQ community members themselves (who will crowdsource layers of the map with documents from their personal archives, such as photographs and letters).”

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Some early precedents: A Google map that stems from a NYC LGBTQ walking tour made in 1994 by the Organization of Lesbian + Gay Architects and Designers (OLGAD), of which Jay Shockley helped to coordinate. Shockley is now a staff member at the New York City Landmark Preservation Commission.

Miller also points out that this project follows on the heels of a similar initiative happening in California for LGBTQ sites, Historypin project California Pride.

Read Miller’s post and learn more about the NYC project here.

Public History graduate students at American University in Washington D.C. are sharing how they are using Historypin in the context of their studies.

Alexandra Erichson shared in her blog post “Inconvenient Camels” the experience of using Historypin for a class assignment. In particular, she talks about the experience of utilizing our Street View feature, while pinning images from both the British Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art of early 20th century Egypt. Read Alexandra’s post here.

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra's case, a camel!

Problems that only those who do Street View overlays understand: Sometimes, things block your perfect overlay, and in Alexandra’s case, a camel!

Sydney Johnson, another student of Public History at AU, also writes about her experiences of using Historypin for the first time, and explores how adding “space” into the the process of content curation and sharing brings “a deeper connection with the material being presented.” She created the Tour “Freedom Summer,” as an opportunity to help memorialize sites important to minority experiences.

Read Sydney’s blog post here.
Sydney's "Freedom Summer" Tour on Historypin.

Sydney’s “Freedom Summer” Tour on Historypin.

A local San Francisco Bay Area archive and a museum took a #PINOFTHEDAY as opportunity to reflect on an important WWII event.

Our recent #PINOFTHDAY came from the collection of UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library, who are sharing new content on our site ahead of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Conference in Oakland and Berkeley at the end of this month. The WWII-era image, a photo by famed photographer Dorothea Lange, depicts those of Japanese descent on the sidewalk about to travel to internment camps across California. The photo, taken of what is now the site of the Oakland Museum of California, prompted the museum to share a reflective post with their followers, copied below.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum's post/discussion on Facebook.

Our June 15th #PINOFTHEDAY from the Bancroft Library. Click the image to read see the Oakland Museum’s post/discussion on Facebook.

Layering the past and the present in a whole new way…

Historypin is a web platform where historians, community members, and everyday people from around the world can share the history of places that matter to them. As the “Museum of the People”, the location of the Oakland Museum of California holds a special place in the hearts of many communities… but it wasn’t always that way. Yesterday’s Pin of the Day on HistoryPin came from The Bancroft Library showed a photo taken in 1942 by Dorothea Lange at 1118 Oak Street, where Japanese Americans were gathered for their forcible removal during World War II. The site of this painful event would later become the location for the Museum.

This photo has us thinking about all the ways in history has touched the places where we now live, work, and play. What’s a meaningful place to you that has been touched by history in a significant way? ‪#‎MuseumofUs‬‪#‎OMCA‬ ‪#‎Internment‬ ‪#‎history‬ ‪#‎map‬ ‪#‎pinoftheday‬

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We’re having fun hearing from many more folks around the world using Historypin to share the history of places. If you have a project that you’re working on that you’d like us to feature in one of these posts, email me at kerri.young@historypin.org

Recap: California Pride Pinning Workshop in San Francisco

The Lexington Club Archival Project, preserving the memories of an iconic lesbian bar in San Francsico, presenting their work. The lovely California Historical Society served as our venue for the night.

Lauren Tabak of the Lexington Club Archival Project, presenting on how they are working to preserve the memories of San Francisco’s iconic lesbian bar. The lovely California Historical Society (a partner on the project) served as our venue for the night.

Last night, we held the first workshop for California Pride, a new project to map out important LGBTQ places and stories in the state of California. With collaborators the Lexington Club Archival ProjectGLBT Historical Society, and Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project on hand, the aim of night was to introduce attendees to the project on Historypin and facilitate a story-collecting session focusing on LGBTQ places in California meaningful to them. We called it a “pinning party” and it was certainly a lot of fun! Our friends at the California Historical Society (CHS), a partner on the project, were kind enough to host the event in their exhibition space in downtown San Francisco, and helped us organize the event along with California Pride power co-founders Donna Graves and Shayne Watson.

After great introductions from CHS, the Lexington Project, Shayne, and Donna, we broke into smaller groups for our story-collecting session. Thanks to outreach from Donna and Shayne, we had over 7 fantastic volunteers including students from UC Berkeley and friends from SF Heritage and the National Park Service. Each volunteer helped to facilitate conversations in each group and the filling-out of story sheets we created for the night; these sheets asked for information specific to pinning on Historypin such as location and date, and stories shared will either contribute to a new pin or help enrich an existing pin in the project.

A highlight of the night was the end of the event, where Donna invited volunteers and participants to come up to the mic and share a story heard or told as part of their individual groups. This was a great way to tie-together the session, and an opportunity for the entire room to share in some of the stories collected throughout the night. Overall, this was a fantastic event that helped bring together those in the local community both actively preserving and interested in preserving LGBTQ history, while introducing how participants could continue sharing their stories on Historypin. Hopefully this is first of many, we’ve already received interest from Sacramento and Los Angeles. Thanks to all who helped organize!

(right) a partial view of the story sheet that we distributed for the event, and (left) a very blurry photo of an attendee holding one.

(right) a partial view of the story sheet that we distributed for the event, and (left) a (unfortunately) blurry photo of an attendee holding one!

Lenn Keller poses with a board of memories she brought in as part of the Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project.

Lenn Keller poses with a board of memories she brought in as part of the Bay Area Lesbian History Archives Project. Photo credit Matthew S. Bajko.

Attendee Moses Corrette posing with his pin on Historypin after we recorded his story about the house where the "guerilla bar movement" was formed, where members of the LGBTQ community would meet once-a-month and pick out non-queer bars in which to gather and hang out.

Moses Corrette posing with his pin on Historypin after we recorded his story about the house where the “guerilla bar movement” was formed, where members of the LGBTQ community would meet once-a-month and pick out non-queer bars in which to gather and hang out. Though not planned for the night, I managed to live-pin Moses’ story with my laptop, and we were even able to do some quick-fire research on places to help jog some memories.

Attendee Doug shares a raucous story of reclaiming Halloween for the LGBTQ community in San Francisco's Castro district.

Attendee Drew shares a funny and powerful story of reclaiming Halloween for the LGBTQ community in San Francisco’s Castro district.

Posing with my fantastic story-group members (from left) Xan, Patricia, and Zoe, who shared wonderful stories of their LGBTQ activism in the last few decades, not only in California but around the country. I felt lucky to be able to spend time with these fantastic women and to help record some of their stories onto Historypin.

Posing with my fantastic story-group members (from left) Xan, Patricia, and Zoe, who shared wonderful stories of their LGBTQ activism in the last few decades, not only in California but around the country. I felt lucky to be able to spend time with these fantastic women and to help record some of their stories onto Historypin.

Posing with the night's great organizers Shayne Watson (middle) and Donna Graves (right), who have taken years of work on San Francisco's Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ history to now a new project collaboration over Historypin to collecto stories from the wider CA LGBTQ community.

Posing with the night’s great organizers Shayne Watson (middle) and Donna Graves (right), who have taken years of work on San Francisco’s Historic Context Statement for LGBTQ history to now a new project collaboration over Historypin.

Announcing California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Histories

The California Pride project page on Historypin

Today we are excited to launch our newest project California Pride: Mapping LGBTQ Historiesan online archive of memories, stories, and images related to sites throughout the state of California associated with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) experiences.

Supported by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the California Preservation Foundation, and led by architectural and public historians Shayne Watson and Donna Graves respectively, this project aims to identify and interpret historic places associated with LGBTQ history in California. This also includes information about sites important to LGBTQ communities of color, transgender people, the bisexual community, and other under-documented groups within the LGBTQ communities. In a wider context, this project builds on recent studies in San Francisco and Los Angeles that document the critical role California has played in LGBTQ history in the United States.

Jewel Thais-Williams posing inside of Jewel's Catch One in Los Angeles, California. Thais-Williams founded the nightclub in 1973, and not only was it one of the first African American discos in the country, but it was also one of the few places in LA where LGBTQ African Americans felt welcome in the midst of widespread discrimination. Photo by Katie Falkenberg, pinned to California Pride by Shayne Watson.

Explore and upload material online

LGBTQ history is best told by the people who have lived it—you can help this project reflect on the diverse places that tell the stories of the LGBTQ community in the Golden State. Visit the California Pride project on Historypin here, and click the button below or in the project to contribute to the digital archive.

If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you, just email Kerri at kerri.young@historypin.org.

Launching Our New Panama-Pacific International Exposition Project

Aerial view of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition from the Aeroscope, pinned to our new project by the Anne T. Kent California Room at the Marin County Free Library.

On Saturday, February 21st, Kerri, Jon, and our new intern Krissia participated in a Community Day at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) and to launch our brand-new new project Mapping the PPIE. This world’s fair in the City By the Bay saw almost 19 million people visit over the course of its ten-month lifespan, all celebrating the resilience and rebuilding of a city destroyed in the famous 1906 earthquake and fire. Historypin is one of around 50 core partners helping our friends at the California Historical Society (CHS) celebrate this centennial, and together over the course of this year we will collaborate on many events and celebrations around the Bay Area.

A screenshot of the map within our new PPIE project, where users can pin photos accurately to their corresponding building/pavilion locations in 1915. Thus, while the Palace of Fine Arts remains the only building on the former grounds left (center), this project will help re-envision the area a century ago.

Mapping the PPIE on Historypin is a place for community partners and individuals with personal and archival collections to pin and curate memories and images of the fair. As an exciting feature, our team did some great work on geo-rectifying a map of the PPIE exposition grounds onto Google Maps, so that those who contribute to the project can do so with unprecedented accuracy and help those exploring the project get a sense of the size and scope of the 1915 event. We were able to share this new project on Historypin at Community Day-over 7,000 people showed up to the Palace of Fine Arts- and over the course of the day had fun talking and swapping PPIE stories with a steady stream of visitors.

Community Officer Kerri and new Historypin intern Krissia at the Historypin table at the PPIE Community Day, February 21st, 2015.

Evanna Lynn Dunlop, a 3rd generation San Franciscan, stopped by our table and shared her original 1915 postcard book from the fair passed down from her grandparents. We had fun talking about the massive changes the city has seen since then, and hope to help her pin these photos to our project.

The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on Community Day, lit as it was a century ago at the Panama Pacific International Exposition in 1915. Built for the fair, it is the only one remaining on the exposition grounds today.

We look forward to getting as much PPIE content into our project as possible over the course of the year, and bringing together your collections to recreate 1915. If you have any questions about the project or about contributing content, please contact Kerri at kerri.young@historypin.org. To see how you can explore the project, check out this video:

 

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History

The Biloxi Wade-ins, April 1960. Pinned by Elaine Marsh to Uncovering Mississippi's Hidden History.

Uncovering Mississippi’s Hidden History, one of our newest projects on Historypin, has been created by educators and is designed to help students, fellow educators, and the general public learn about and teach local Mississippi history. Largely focusing on (but not limited to) Civil Rights history, this project has been developed by Teaching for Change, a national non-profit organization that coordinates programs encouraging teachers, students, and parents to build a more equitable, multicultural society through education. We asked Julian Hipkins III, Curriculum Specialist and Mississippi Teacher Fellowship Project Director, and Deborah Menkart, Executive Director, to speak briefly about the driving forces behind Uncovering Mississippi:

What do you hope to achieve with this project, in a nutshell? Why is telling history from the bottom-up so important?

Mississippi has centuries of stories of oppression and resistance which could be used to introduce young people to a deep understanding of race, class, power, politics, civic engagement, the environment, economics, culture, and more in U.S. history. However, Mississippi history is too often presented to students as a series of names and dates about people who have no connection to their lives.

It is our hope that Historypin will encourage young people to research, document, and share the stories of the state’s untold history. In addition, by examining history from the bottom-up, students can understand that anyone can impact history. 

We were inspired to pursue the partnership with Historypin after hearing from young people about the power of uncovering their local history. Working with a local history project in McComb, Mississippi, students said:

 “I used to think my town was small and unimportant, now I’m proud of where I’m from,”

 “I learned I can make history by what I do in life,”

 “I feel more strongly about exercising my right to vote.”

Through the historypins, young people can recognize the powerful stories in their community and state history ­­and make history themselves. 

What is an example of the kinds of activities teachers and other educators will run over the platform?

Teachers and other educators will be using the website to engage their students in uncovering and documenting untold history. For example, during any period of history they are studying, students could document and pin local history examples (gravestones of soldiers during study of WWII; churches burned and/or schools integrated during study of the Civil Rights Movement; farms established during the New Deal; locations for protests during labor and the long Civil Rights Movement).

Teachers may also have students look for related sites throughout the state and connect with teachers, students, or classes to compare notes (or even compete!). 

These stories can be used by teachers and students to develop reading, writing, and critical thinking skills; civic engagement; and improve personal racial identity and race relations.

Teaching for Change will be working with teachers throughout Mississippi on the project. If you have questions about the project, please contact Kerri Young at Historypin or Julian Hipkins III at Teaching for Change.

The project page on Historypin.

You can start exploring the project and add your own content here.

Recap: Historypin’s Homefront 1945 Event with the US National Archives

Attendees enjoying the film program at our Homefront 1945 event on November 8, 2014.

We would like to present some scenes from our successful Homefront 1945 event at the Rio Theater in Northern California on November 8th, 2014, part of our collaboration with the US National Archives to help share and reuse their diverse audiovisual records of World War I and World War II.

This is designed to be a replicable event that you could do at your own theater or local history museum either with a Hollywood blockbuster like Fury or Unbroken, a classic movie, or your own content. The National Archives and Historypin can provide programming ideas and guidelines as well as copies of the historical films and posters you see here. If you’re interested, please contact Kerri Young for more information.

The special movie event let us share some of NARA’s special content with audiences in the San Francisco Bay Area. Fury, starring Brad Pitt as a tank commander nearing the dangerous final days of fighting in Germany during World War II, acted as the centerpiece to a full program of time-traveling back to WWII, held at the 1940’s Quonset hut Rio Theater and Cafe.

The evening featured digitally restored WWII NARA films, including The True Glory, in the background during a vintage dinner that featured modern takes on wartime foods. Attendees from all over the Bay Area spent about an hour listening to and sharing stories of what it was like in the area during those days. In-between stories, Historypin’s Jon Voss helped to raffle-off reproductions of vintage posters and DVDs from NARA, and Fury posters from Sony Entertainment. Before the film screening itself, the modern movie trailers were replaced with a cartoon, featurette and newly-digitized newsreels from April 1945 that would have been played in theaters at that time, all from the holdings of the National Archives.

The Rio Theater where we held our event, a few hours north of San Francisco.

Specially-designed posters for our event, posted over an official Fury poster.

Enjoying a modern take on wartime foods with a special menu from the Theater.

Hearing stories of what the homefront in Bay was like during World War II.

Raffling-off wartime-era posters from NARA's archives. Raffle tickets were included in reproductions of ration booklets from WWII, which each attendee received.

This event was hopefully the first of many in the kind of experiential learning we want to engage audiences with for our wartime films campaign, and provided just a small sampling of the audiovisual materials from World War I and World War II that we hope to connect with as wide an audience as possible.

On behalf of the National Archives and Historypin, we’d like to thank the California Historical Society for their co-promotions and the Russian River Historical Society for connecting us with an amazing lineup of storytellers who shared their history on the river, from fighter jet fly-unders of the Guerneville bridge to stories of the Japanese American residents of area before and after their forced imprisonment.

New Project: The Wartime Films with the US National Archives

Our visit exploring the US National Archives' film preservation lab, whose team we will be working with over the coming months.

We are very excited to announce a new partnership that we’ll be embarking upon with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), based in Maryland and Washington D.C. The Archives preserve and provide access to the U.S. Government’s collection of documents recording the important events in American history, with their archival holdings numbering more than 10 billion pages of unique documents.

Specifically, we’ll be inviting the public to participate, collaborate, and engage with the archives’ extensive collection of both World War I and World War II moving images. Taking advantage of the public domain status of this newly digitized and expertly preserved content, we’ll encourage the widest possible distribution and discovery of this wartime media across a variety of community networks, as well as existing networks of NARA and Historypin.

War Department film made during WWII detailing the importance of film for training, morale, and entertainment purposes. This is just an example of the vast war film holdings at NARA, accessed on their YouTube Channel.

Context is key, and we will work closely with NARA specialists to show the many sides of the American and international experience of both global conflicts, as well as stories from the homefront. Across Historypin and other interactive platforms, our overall aim is to build a wide-reaching and engaged community around this rich content, while aiding in NARA’s continued mission to provide free and open access to America’s cultural heritage.

Over the past few months, we have worked on identifying key target audiences that have engaged with NARA content or might find it valuable, as well as those with plans to run commemoration events around upcoming WWI and WWII anniversaries. This is the first step on our journey to help more people access NARA’s vast and valuable holdings.

Everyone loves a good open access metaphor: Me trying to gain access to the National Archives building in Washington D.C. through the original main entrance, June 2014.

Year of the Bay: A Trip Down Market Street (1906)

For those of you who have not seen the short film “A Trip Down Market Street,” we’d like to share this fascinating bit of time travel into San Francisco’s past. For those of you have, well, this insight into every day life in a pre-1906 quake city never really gets old.

The film depicts Market Street in San Francisco, with the Miles Brothers’ camera crew carrying the scene from their studio at 1139 Market Street (between 8th and 9th St.) all the way to the Ferry Building on the San Francisco Bay. Men and ladies in hats, horses and carts, streetcars, and automobiles all share a busy thoroughfare where traffic laws are a thing of the future. Rick Prelinger, film archivist and historian, owns the sharpest copies of the film, and because of this we are able to see 1906 with stunning clarity.

A still-frame from the film demonstrating the hustle and bustle of people, cars, and carts sharing the street.

But the film was not always thought to depict 1906. Over the past few years this film has gained much media attention, thanks in part to some detective work from silent film historian David Kiehn. The Library of Congress originally dated the film to 1905, but Kiehn thought otherwise and did some extensive research into the matter. Inspecting every detail, he used the presence of puddles in the film as a bid to look up weather information around 1905, and used the position of the sun among other things to eventually date the film to sometime around late 1905 to early 1906. More research using microfilms at the San Francisco Public Library, license plate research, and much more, eventually led to him confirming the film date as on or around April 12, days before the big quake.

More compelling is that the devastation on April 18, 1906 would have incinerated this film as well, had the Miles Brothers not shipped the footage off to New York only a day earlier. The film now has even more significance in how it captures a calm before the storm, a scene of every day life before the city would change forever.

We’ve pinned this film to our Year of the Bay project and overlaid it onto Street View, so you can compare then and now. We are excited to add this fascinating bit of city and film history to our Year of the Bay archive on Historypin. View the film on Historypin and share your thoughts on this piece of time travel.

"A Trip Down Market Street" overlaid onto Google Street View on Historypin.