Shaping San Francisco
December 4, 2008 12:52 AM   Subscribe

"Shaping San Francisco is an ongoing multimedia project in bottom-up, participatory history." Earthquakes, freeways, baths, parks, jazz clubs, chutes, streetcars, neighborhoods dead and alive, and oh so much more.
posted by hal incandenza (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Where's the chapter on how it became a disneyland caricature of itself? (sorry -- it makes me sad when I go home every 10 years or so). I miss Playland. Dolores park seems to have survived as part of the neighborhood, and it's not swollen with camera-wielding Europeans, which is nice. Some of my earliest childhood memories revolve around the sound of congas rising from drum circles there, in the mid-sixties.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:57 AM on December 4, 2008

Where's the chapter on how it became a disneyland caricature of itself?

That happened in the 1850s. Thats the great things about sites like this, to help dispel the common misconceptions colored by nostalgia, that things are always getting worse.
posted by vacapinta at 4:32 AM on December 4, 2008

It's nice to read unflinching, detailed histories of earlier SF. Too much of it is too focussed, too narrow, too sanitized. Samuel Brannan's story is hilarious; Mormans enforcers fighting each other in the desert over remittances from the Bay Area to Salt Lake City is something I'd rather see reappear than anything from the 1960s.

And, plus ca change:
The cost of a brick house was estimated at one dollar a brick. Common iron tacks of the smallest size, much in demand for fastening cloth partitions, were worth their weight in gold—a pound of gold bought a pound of tacks. Since gold was current at sixteen dollars an ounce (the rate of exchange established at a public meeting in September 1848), the tacks actually cost the purchaser $192 a pound. So far as the records show, this was the top price, although tacks seldom dropped below ten dollars an ounce for more than a year. By that time San Francisco had begun to pass the muslin-partition stage, and so many tacks had been imported that they couldn’t be given away. One merchandising genius is said to have brought in a whole shipload, most of which were eventually dumped into the bay at a considerable loss.
posted by fleacircus at 9:58 AM on December 4, 2008

Wonderful! Bookmarked.
posted by Quietgal at 11:42 AM on December 4, 2008

if you're local, take a bike tour! it's worth it.
posted by mano at 12:06 PM on December 4, 2008

This site generates the most frightful URLs I've ever seen.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:23 PM on December 4, 2008

San Francisco...bottom-up...very funny...
posted by troybob at 12:25 PM on December 4, 2008

it's a great project! (though the transition from cd rom to tourist kiosk to website makes the interface a bit web x.N.) if you like it you might also like organizer and contributor chris carlsson's other projects.
posted by ioesf at 12:48 AM on December 5, 2008

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