Map of the Outside Lands of the City and County of San Francisco Showing Reservations Selected for Public Purposes, under the Provisions of Order No. 800
Mapping the Outside Lands – a foundational map for the history of San Francisco.
This map is a critical document for San Francisco’s history and urban development. It was created just after the lands outside the 1851 Charter line were turned over to the city of San Francisco following years of legal disputes.
For a more detailed look, please see our video essay on a previous uncolored version of the map: https://youtu.be/YCeDvWK5CCk
Today we think of the “Outside Lands” as the part of the city west of the dividing line at Divisadero St. (hence the name); namely, what is now the Richmond and Sunset, Golden Gate Park, and smaller adjacent neighborhoods. But it is interesting to note an area on the southeast of the map comprising part of Potrero Hill that is also designated as “outside.”
From 1852 to 1866, the west side was the focus of two intense legal battles fought in parallel: a fight over whether the land belonged to the U.S. government or the City of San Francisco and a struggle over individual ownership of land plots at the private level. The critical point of these battles was that this land was ceded as part of the conclusion of the Mexican-American War by Mexico, not to California (which wasn’t yet a state), but to the U.S. federal government.
The Outside Lands Act of 1866 ruled in favor of the city, confirming that this land was part of San Francisco. This ruling set the stage for Order no. 800, mentioned in the title of our map, in which the board of supervisors decided the legal implications of the Outside Lands Act.
The map identifies the following members of the Committee — each with a street named after them: Chas. H. Stanyan, A.J. Shrader, Beverly Cole, Chas. Clayton, and Monroe Ashbury.
The mapmakers located Golden Gate Park and Buena Vista Park but labeled them only Park. Two unlabeled lines, one dotted and one solid, run irregularly through the Sunset District; the former represents a line of sand drift, and the latter traces the Spring Valley Flume from San Mateo County.