Early San Francisco Films

p1.png

This page lists 49 early San Francisco films (1897-1915) from Library of Congress American Memory collections:

The early Edison films are what the Lumière Brothers called actualités: unstructured footage of events and places. Some provide a wonderful window into their time. Later films are somewhat longer, many documenting special events like parades and presidential visits. For me, the most interesting is A Trip Down Market Street Before the Fire, filmed just days before the 1906 earthquake and fire. A companion piece filmed after the fire resurfaced in 2018, but it is not yet available online.

The list below is roughly chronological; some dates are approximate. Clicking on a title will play the film directly if your browser supports .mp4 streaming; the info pages include other playback options as well as very detailed descriptions. Timings include added head/tail credits. The films and info pages are hosted at the Library of Congress. The total running time for all the films is a little over two hours.

Producers:


Title Info Date Length Producer Location
Sutro Baths, no. 1 info 8/22/1897 0:46 Edison Sutro Baths, San Francisco
Sutro Baths, no. 2 info 8/22/1897 0:45 Edison Sutro Baths, San Francisco
Leander Sisters info 8/22/1897 0:52 Edison Sutro Baths, San Francisco
Cupid and Psyche info 8/22/1897 0:47 Edison Sutro Baths, San Francisco
Lurline Baths info 8/1897 0:42 Edison Lurline Baths, San Francisco
Fishing smacks info 8/1897 0:52 Edison Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
Fisherman's Wharf info 8/1897 0:51 Edison Fisherman's Wharf, San Francisco
Launch of life boat info ca. 9/1897 0:47 Edison Presidio, San Francisco
Capsize of lifeboat info ca. 9/1897 0:49 Edison Presidio, San Francisco
Return of lifeboat info ca. 9/1897 0:42 Edison Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
S.S. 'Coptic' at dock info 9/02/1897 0:51 Edison San Francisco
S.S. 'Coptic' in the harbor info 9/02/1897 0:50 Edison San Francisco
S.S. 'Coptic' sailing away info 9/02/1897 0:44 Edison San Francisco
Arrest in Chinatown info 10/25/1897 1:17 Edison Chinatown, San Francisco
Hotel Vendome info 10/25/1897 1:09 Edison San Jose
Union Iron Works info 1/22/1898 0:31 Edison Union Iron Works shipyard, SF
Launch of Japanese man-of-war 'Chitosa' info 1/22/1898 1:05 Edison Union Iron Works shipyard, SF
Launching, no. 2 info 1/22/1898 0:50 Edison Union Iron Works shipyard, SF
After launching info 1/22/1898 0:53 Edison Union Iron Works shipyard, SF
Feeding sea gulls info 1/22/1898 0:52 Edison San Francisco Bay
Procession of floats info 1/24/1898 0:34 Edison San Francisco
Parade of Chinese info 1/24/1898 0:53 Edison San Francisco
Native daughters info 1/24/1898 1:00 Edison San Francisco
Mount Tamalpais R.R. info 1/1898 1:19 Edison Marin County
Mount Tamalpais R.R., no. 2 info 3/10/1898 0:56 Edison Marin County
Mount Tamalpais R.R., no. 3 info 3/10/1898 2:21 Edison Marin County
Troops embarking at San Francisco info 5/13/1898 1:09 Edison Pacific Mail Steamship Co. dock, SF
Troop ships for the Philippines info 5/25/1898 2:22 Edison Pacific Mail Steamship Co. dock, SF
Scene in Chinatown info 9/15/1900 1:38 Biograph Chinatown, San Francisco
Bird's-eye view of SF from a balloon info 1/11/1902 3:28 Edison San Francisco
Panoramic view of the Golden Gate info 1/11/1902 2:50 Edison Mt. Tamalpais, Marin
Over route of Roosevelt parade in an automobile info 5/12/1903 3:37 Biograph Market Street, San Francisco
Market Street before parade info 5/12/1903 2:07 Biograph Market Street, San Francisco
The President's carriage info 5/12/1903 2:04 Biograph Market Street, San Francisco
TR in San Francisco info 5/13/1903 2:47 [Unknown] Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco
Panorama, Union Square info 6/04/1903 3:28 Biograph Union Square, San Francisco
SF Chinese funeral info 9/23/1903 2:29 Edison Dupont Street (Grant Avenue), SF
Panorama of beach and Cliff House info 9/30/1903 1:56 Biograph San Francisco
A trip down Market Street before the fire info ca. 1905 8:38 Miles Market Street, San Francisco
SF after the earthquake and fire info 4/1906 9:18 [Unknown] San Francisco
SF earthquake and fire, April 18, 1906 info 1906 12:36 [Unknown] San Francisco
Army pack train bringing supplies info 1906 2:24 Edison San Francisco
San Francisco Disaster info 5/05/1906 3:27 Biograph New York City (studio)
Scenes in SF [no. 1] info 5/09/1906 3:02 Biograph San Francisco
Scenes in SF [no. 2] info 5/09/1906 5:43 Biograph San Francisco
A trip to Berkeley info 5/24/1906 3:23 Biograph Berkeley
Exploded gas tanks, U.S. Mint, Emporium and Spreckels Bld'g info 1906 2:57 Edison San Francisco
Mabel and Fatty viewing the World's Fair info 4/22/1915 19:06 Keystone San Francisco
SF's future info ca. 1916 6:14 [Unknown] San Francisco