This is the chromolithographic version of the famed Chevalier tourist guide, one of the most beautiful maps of San Francisco ever produced. It is based on a monumental wall map of the city first published by August Chevalier in 1903, which was reissued as our map in a smaller format and accompanied by a tourist guide for the Panama–Pacific International Exposition: the world’s fair held in San Francisco from February 20 to December 4, 1915.
The map uses a remarkable design to offer both intricate topographic and urban detail. For the natural features of the city, namely its famous hills and parks, Chevalier has employed a hybrid of elevation lines, shading, and colors. In bold contrast, red overprinting delineates new district names, trolley lines, and proposed tunnels and railcar extensions.
At the same time, important buildings are depicted in pictorial profile, making them stand out from the page. This includes major monuments and buildings in Golden Gate Park, around the Civic Center and Financial District, and along the waterfront, including piers and Fisherman’s Wharf. And of course, the Panama–Pacific International Exposition itself is featured in the same detail. The fair’s stated purpose was to celebrate the completion of the Panama Canal, but it was widely seen in the city as an opportunity to showcase its recovery from the 1906 earthquake. The fair was constructed on a 636 acre site along San Francisco Bay, between the Presidio and Fort Mason, the neighborhood now known as the Marina District.
Overall, the combination of cartographic ingenuity and beauty, along with its importance as a document of the 1915 World’s Fair, makes this an exceptional San Francisco map.