A large-format urban plan of South San Francisco.

Map Showing Property of South San Francisco Land and Improvement Co at South San Francisco, San Mateo County, California

Out of stock

SKU: NL-01289 Categories: ,
Date: 1907
Place: San Francisco
Dimensions: 68.5 x 48.8 cm (27 x 19.25 in)
Condition Rating: VG
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A fascinating and rare plan of South San Francisco compiled and drawn by the Punnett Brothers and lithographed by Britton and Rey.

The site of South San Francisco was selected by G. F. Swift and purchased by Peter Iler of Omaha in 1890 in order to replicate the cattle stockyards and marketplaces common in Omaha. They partnered with some Chicago backers and formed two joint stock corporations, one named South San Francisco Land and Improvement Company, while the other branch was known as the Western Meat Company.

The city’s manufacturing roots and industrial character are evident on the map. The Western Meat Company holds several large tracts of land for its stockyards and slaughterhouse. But the extensive variety of industries stands out, and we see iron works, smelting operations, pottery and brick productions, and more.

The map gives the impression of a constantly changing settlement and physical environment, with new railroads, tide lots, shrinking estuaries, and new canals and reservoirs. Many of the factories were linked both inland via the South San Francisco Land & Improvement Company railroad and to the bay via newly constructed ferry slips.



This is only the second example of this map of which we are aware. No copies of the map are located by OCLC/WorldCat. The only institutional holding we found is Rumsey #10747.


Britton & Rey

Britton & Rey (1852 – 1906) was a lithographic printing firm based in San Francisco and founded by Joseph Britton and Jacques Joseph Rey in 1852. Especially during the second half of the 19th century, Britton and Rey became the leading lithography firm in San Francisco, and probably California. Among their many publications were birds-eye-views of Californian cities, depictions of the exquisite landscapes, stock certificates, and no least maps. While Rey was the primary artist, Britton worked not only as the main lithographer but was essentially also the man running the business. In addition to their own material, the firm reproduced the works of other American artists like Thomas Almond Ayres (1816 – 1858), George Holbrook Baker (1824 – 1906), Charles Christian Nahl (1818 – 1878), and Frederick August Wenderoth (1819 – 1884). Following Rey’s death in 1892 Britton passed the form on to Rey’s son, Valentine J. A. Rey, who ran it until the great earthquake and fire of 1906 destroyed most of the company’s assets.

Joseph Britton (1825 – July 18, 1901) was a lithographer and the co-founder of the prominent San Francisco lithography studio Britton and Rey. He was also a civic leader in San Francisco, serving on the Board of Supervisors and helping to draft a new city charter. In 1852, he became active in lithography and publishing, first under the name ‘Pollard and Britton,’ and then ‘Britton and Rey,’ a printing company founded with his friend and eventual brother-in-law Jacques Joseph Rey. Britton and Rey became the premier lithographic and engraving studio of the Gold Rush era, producing letter sheets, maps, and artistic prints.

Jacques Joseph Rey (1820 – 1892) was a French engraver and lithographer born in the Alsatian town of Bouxwiller. At the age of about 30, he emigrated to America, eventually settling in California. Here, he soon entered into a partnership with local entrepreneur and civic leader Joseph Britton. Three years later, Rey also married Britton’s sister, allowing his business partner and brother-in-law Britton to live in their house with them. Rey and Britton were not only an important part of the San Francisco printing and publishing scene but also owned a plumbing and gas-fitting firm. In the early years, both men would sometimes partner up with others on specific projects, but by the late 1860s, their partnership was more or less exclusive.

Punnett Brothers

The Punnett Brothers were map publishers based in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Noted for their detailed depictions of the region, their maps, especially those concerning San Francisco and its environs, serve as pivotal resources for historians and urban researchers.

Many of the maps produced by the Punnett Brothers showcase intricate street layouts, building footprints, and land-use designations of the era. These illustrations provide invaluable insights into the urban development patterns and transformative shifts that occurred as San Francisco underwent rapid growth.

The maps curated by the Punnett Brothers stand as a testament to the changing landscape and infrastructural evolutions of the Bay Area during a time of great change. For scholars and enthusiasts of historical cartography focusing on the Bay Area, the Punnett Brothers’ collections remain an indispensable reference.

South San Francisco Land & Improvement Co.

Condition Description

Scattered wear and minor blemishes. Small repair in bottom left margin, not affecting map image.