Glover's 1895 Directory


In 1894-1895, artist/publisher E.S. Glover published beautiful elevation views of San Francisco buildings as Volume 1 of The Illustrated Directory, issued in 11 monthly installments. Placed end-to-end, these views present a delightful 1895 counterpart to Edward Ruscha's 1966 Every Building on the Sunset Strip or today's Google Street View. The David Rumsey Map Collection posts a complete copy of the directory, describing it as:

Extremely rare, unusual directory made up of drawn illustrations of the building street fronts and business establishments of every building on the blocks of the downtown area of San Francisco. Almost all of these buildings were destroyed by the fire of 1906.

Glover published a similar directory for Oakland, also posted at Rumsey.

The Directory covers Market Street from City Hall to the ferry terminal, plus most of the downtown area north of Market, south of Sacramento, and east of Kearny (roughly). It just misses Mission Street, Union Square, Chinatown, Portsmouth Square, and East Street (now Embarcadero). It does not include an index map, but this Google map shows precisely what it covers; each numbered pin (001 through 179) gives the Rumsey index number for a page in the directory.

The 10-story Chronicle Building (built 1888-1890, San Francisco's first skyscraper), the 11-story Crocker Building (1891), and the 10-story Mills Building (1892) were by far the tallest buildings in town in 1895, and few other buildings were over five stories. The Ferry Building, the Call Building, and the Hearst Building, familiar landmarks in later years, were all built in 1898. Glover's idealized views present tidy streets sparsely populated by pedestrians, cable cars, and horses (horsedrawn carriages, carts, and streetcars), with no construction or vacant lots in evidence. At Kearny/Geary is a newfangled electrified streetcar, though no overhead wires are shown; streetcar electrification in S.F. began in 1894, but Market St. cars were then cable powered, not electric.

It's instructive to compare Glover's 1895 Market St. with pre-earthquake film. On 5/12/1903, American Mutoscope & Biograph shot two short films (here and here at Library of Congress) from a car on Market just before a parade for President Roosevelt. And in 1906, just days before the earthquake, the Miles Brothers shot A Trip down Market St. before the Fire (see stunning recent digitization from the Prelinger Archives). An older posting of the Miles Brothers film at the Library of Congress includes a detailed summary identifying many buildings.


East/west streets, from north to south:

North/south streets, from west to east:

South of Market between Market/Mission:

See also: