Pictures of San Francisco in 1856

Don’t you love looking at photographs of San Francisco in the early days? We certainly do. It all looks familiar, but at the same time wildly different. The barren and sandy hills, the expansive bay, the wooden houses and brick commercial buildings, the dirt roads, and the occasional horse drawn wagon. has done it again, posting 20 vintage photos from 1856, along with an interactive map that shows you where these images were made. It’s your chance to see San Francisco just when it was beginning to take shape.

In 1848, when news of gold in the California River first touched off a frenzy in America, San Francisco was home to only about 1,000 people. Within two years it had swelled to some 25,000. These photos capture that moment in time.

Our favorite image is the one of North Beach. Just amazing! To see the post, including all the photographs and the interactive map, click here.


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