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07 January 2019

Check it out: gigantic model of 1940 San Francisco now viewable online

Piece AA1, showing Geneva Avenue, baseball diamonds, and Amazon Reservoir site.
In the late 1930s, the Works Progress Administration funded the construction of an enormous 42- by 38-foot wooden replica of 1940 San Francisco. The model consists of 158 pieces at a scale of 1 inch to 100 feet, and contains about 6,000 removable city blocks. It was first displayed in sections in the Golden Gate International Exposition on Treasure Island in 1939. The model, now owned by UC Berkeley, has not been on public view in its entirety since 1942. Now, under the auspices of a joint SFMOMA and San Francisco Public Library project called “PublicKnowledge: Take Part,” the wooden sections have been retrieved from storage, cleaned, and photographed so the entire model can be viewed in detail online.

Renowned cartographer and map collector David Rumsey created a large composite image of the model, which he also georeferenced and placed in Google Earth. He hosts the metadata database of all 158 images. You can see the images and learn more about the project at his website.

Special thanks to Jacqueline Henderson for bringing this to our attention, via a post at Dick Eastman’s blog.

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