SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

California From Sansome

California From Sansome

San Francisco circa 1890s. "California Street from Sansome Street." With a horsecar passing by. Copy negative of a photo by I.W. Taber. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Great detail

Where's the "Painless Dentist"?

Parallel parking

How do you teach parallel parking to a horse?

Last Horsecar - 1913

The story is here.

Do you think

they called Old St. Mary's Cathedral (on the horizon) Old in 1890? It's amazing what survives and what doesn't over time.

[In 1891 it was replaced as the seat of the Archdiocese of San Francisco by the new St. Mary's cathedral at Van Ness and O'Farrell. -tterrace]

No Women

Were they all home attending to their wifely/womanly duties?

Circa 1890s more correct

On the far right there's a shop selling diaries for "189_". At one time it looks like it read "1893".

[Excellent observation. - Dave]

Educate us please

What is a "copy negative of a photo"? I'm having trouble making sense of that, but I'm sure there's a great, wise answer. I understand copying a photo but I'm wondering why there would be a reason to make a negative of that. Oh yeah, and great photo - one of the best I've ever seen here on Shorpy from this period!

[It's a contact negative made by laying a piece of film over either a print or a glass transparency. - Dave]

Four Rails

I've never seen "dual gauge" mass transit trackage before. And, Mixed Media, as well.

The horsecar is running on standard gauge track on the outside pair of rails (in each direction), while another set of rails (plus a "slot rail" centered between them) for the cable cars lies between them.

THANKYOU Shorpy for finding and posting this! I'm amazed such existed.

A good design

The basic design of post office mail boxes hasn't changed much. If it's not broken, don't fix it.


I am sitting on this same block of California Street right now.


Electricity at 1870'? In San Francisco? Well, I missed something :)

[For starters, the telephone and telegraph. - Dave]

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.