Map no. 3. Salt marsh and tide lands situate in the city and county of San Francisco. To be sold at public auction by order of the Board of Tide Land Commissioners by Talbert & Leet, auctioneers, at their sales rooms no. 526 California Street, San Francisco. Sale to commence Friday Nov. 26th, 1869.

Rare cadastral and Southern Pacific Railroad right-of-way tidal lands map of Mission Bay.

Date: 1869
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 62 x 45 cm (24.25 x 13.75 in)
Condition Rating: VG+

Out of stock

SKU: NL-00644 Categories: , Tag:


This is a cadastral map focused on the Mission Bay and Dogpatch neighborhoods of San Francisco. Rumsey notes that it was “one of a series of maps published between 1869 and 1873 showing tidelands to be sold by order of the Board of Tide Land Commissioners.” The series consisted of at least twelve maps, of which this is number three. It depicts the area from China Basin south to Islais Creek, and inland to part of Potrero Hill.

The pertinent historical background to this map is the so-called Mission Bay Tidelands Controversy of 1868-79, which revolved around questions of land claims and of whether and how much land along the southern waterfront should be granted to the railroad companies as rights-of-way. As part of the Tidelands Act of 1868, Mission Bay and Hunter’s Point were surveyed and evaluated.

This was one of the maps produced as a result. It captures San Francisco’s complex topographic and urban development history, giving a sense of the varied landscape of salt marsh lands, water lots, and natural bedrock that make up the foundation of the city today. An irregular line of salt marshes is labeled the “Red Line of Mission Bay,” inside of which are water lots sold during the Peter Smith sales of 1853. A right-of-way for the Southern & Western Pacific Railroad is delineated.

Another interesting feature of this map is its depiction of a proposal to continue the Channel Street canal to Seventh Street at a width of 140 feet, then to angle and narrow it to meet the mouth of Mission Creek at a width of 60 feet. The current canal, which begins at the San Francisco Giants stadium (which here at Neatline will forever be known as Pac Bell), ends short of Seventh Street at Berry. (Olmsted, p. 64)

The map offers a wealth of information about wharves, railroads, homestead associations, and important buildings. Examples of the latter include depictions of the Pacific Rolling Mills, the West’s first iron and steel producing foundry, Pacific Glass Works, and the factory and rope walk of the San Francisco Cordage Company.

This map is rare. OCLC/WorldCat locates four copies — at the California Historical Society, UC Berkeley, UCLA, and Yale.

Provenance: Warren Heckrotte Collection.

Condition Description

Backed with archival paper. Some spotting.


Olmsted, Nancy. Vanished Waters: A History of San Francisco's Mission Bay. San Francisco, CA: Mission Creek Conservancy, 1986.

Rumsey 3970.000.