Ostensibly a sea chart, this handsome U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey separate-issue offers an incredible array of cartographic information, not just coastal, but inland topography and city and town plans as well.
Published during World War II, important maritime data fills the chart, from shipping lanes, tides, and depth soundings, to lighthouses, buoys, and diaphones (a low-pitched fog signal operated by compressed air). Different anchorage classifications are listed and mapped, including: naval anchorages, quarantine anchorages reserved by the U.S. Public Health Service, and anchorages with wide forbidden zones reserved for vessels with explosives.
As for land, the map presents three main areas: the San Francisco peninsula south to Colma, the East Bay including Alameda, Oakland, Berkeley, and Richmond, and the North Bay from Sausalito to San Rafael.
The topographic detail in Marin County is especially astounding, with intricate topographic lines giving shape to Mt. Tamalpais and the coastal rises at Stinson Beach and Bolinas Bay. The marsh lands at Corte Madera and San Rafael Creeks are nicely delineated and the shape of the Marin towns are easily seen. The age of the automobile has arrived with the opening of the Golden Gate Bridge in May 1937, but we still see the tracks of the Northwest Pacific Railroad running from Sausalito to Mill Valley and then north. The N.W.P.R.R would close these down the following year.
In the East Bay, we see the continuing development of Alameda, with one area in the bay marked “Being dredged,” as well as its growing importance as a military center, with a Naval Air Station under construction.
San Francisco itself is intricately mapped, with building detail and topography.