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Rare 1861 first edition of Wackenreuder's famous map of San Francisco

Place/Date: San Francisco / 1861
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Title: City and County of San Francisco compiled from official surveys and sectioned in accordance with U.S. surveys
Technique
Lithograph
Dimensions
63.5 x 51 cm (25 x 20 in)
Identifier
NL-00398
Coloring
Uncolored
Condition Rating
VG
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Description

Rare 1861 edition of this seminal map of San Francisco by San Mateo County surveyor V. Wackenreuder, lithographed by Britton & Rey, and published by Langley. This was one of the first maps to extend from Buri Buri Rancho (later South San Francisco) north across the Golden Gate to Marin County.

This map features a lot of important topographic detail, documenting the peninsula in the midst of major changes to its landscape, especially the sand dunes of the Outside Lands and rivers and creeks which today no longer exist or have been significantly transformed.

Equally important is the plotting of important early property owners and ranchos, along with infrastructure projects such as the path of the Spring Valley Water Works from Pilarcitos Creek to Laguna Honda reservoir and the San Francisco Water Works aqueduct to the still-standing reservoir on Russian Hill.

Noe Valley at this time was called Horner’s Addition, and a grid has been drawn here. Today the neighborhood is named after José de Jesús Noé, the last Mexican alcalde (mayor) of Yerba Buena, who owned what is now Noe Valley as part of his Rancho San Miguel. John Meirs Horner was a Mormon immigrant who bought the land from Noé a few years before, in 1854.

At the top right are three insets of South Farallon Island.

Overall, this map documents the city of San Francisco at a moment in which the city and its residents were locked in ongoing legal battles over land claims on two parallel levels: whether the land was part of the city or the U.S. federal government, and who owned private individual lots.

Cartographer(s)

Britton & Rey

Joseph Britton (1825 – July 18, 1901) was a lithographer, the co-founder of prominent San Francisco lithography studio Britton and Rey, and a civic leader in San Francisco, serving as a member of 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 known as the premier lithographic and engraving studio of the Gold Rush era, producing letter sheets, maps, and artistic prints.

Henry G. Langley

Condition Description

Backed on Japanese tissue paper with some loss along folds.

References

Woodbridge, Sally Byrne., and David Rumsey. San Francisco in maps & views. New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 2009, p. 66-8. Rumsey 3867.000.

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