San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA)

SFMTA Shares 1906 Earthquake Images Online

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), which oversees all surface transportation in the city, including the Municipal Railway (Muni), today announced the completion of the 1906 Earthquake and Fire photographic collection featured in its online Photo Archive, its Flickr page and at www.historypin.com. Drawing from its vast photographic collection, the SFMTA has selected images to share on the Web including all of its images of the 1906 earthquake and fire. Later this month, a separate collection of post-earthquake restoration images, featuring some that are not known to have been published before, will also be on these sites.

“As Muni reflects on 100 years of service, it is important to also reflect on the history of San Francisco,” said Edward D. Reiskin, SFMTA director of transportation. “As Muni grew, so did San Francisco; you can see that story told in the photographs made available within these galleries.”

Historypin allows viewers of this collection to see the images in the context of a Google Map, and to view some in Street View with the historic image situated over the contemporary street scene. The interactive nature of Historypin encourages the addition of images to the site as well as the sharing of stories that are specific to those images and places.

The archive of nearly 30,000 images amassed by the SFMTA includes historical and modern collections with images from the late 19th century through the present. The archive not only has Municipal Railway photographs, but also those from privately owned transit systems that once operated in the city, the United Railroads of San Francisco (1902-1921) and its successor, the Market Street Railway (1921-1944). These images document life on San Francisco’s streets as well as the growth and evolution of transit on those streets.

The SFMTA continues to display its unique exhibit of archival images, “Treasures from the Muni Archive,” that celebrates Muni’s centennial. The SFMTA’s civic art project takes visitors from a traditional exhibit of approximately 20 archive images at the Market Street Railway Museum to the city’s streets where semi-transparent, site-specific images have been mounted on the backs of Muni shelters along Market Street between the Museum and the Powell Cable Car turnaround. Shelter displays have a QR code that allows viewers to access a summary of the exhibit and a link to a free Historypin.com app. The SFMTA’s Archive page on Historypin.com is also available on interactive monitors at the MSR Museum.

The SFMTA Photographic Archive is participating in the Historypin.com project, a joint venture of We Are What We Do and Google. The Historypin website is an online tool that relates uploaded historic images to Google Maps and Street View. This non-commercial venture seeks to bridge generational divides by encouraging the sharing of technical skills and life stories by allowing users to upload family as well as archived images to the website. Through the preservation process of digitization of the archive, the SFMTA will add more images from it to the Historypin project in the future.

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